As I travel relatively often one of the best things that I did was enroll for Global Entry. Prior to enrolling for the program I would have to wait in the long customs and immigration line and when it was finally my turn to see an agent I was always asked 101 questions regarding the nature of my travels etc. One guy actually said to me "you sure travel a lot" and my response was something like "yep" but I really wanted to say something along the lines of "well that's why I have a passport" but thought wiser of it. When I learned about Global Entry I signed up immediately and I haven't looked back. Luckily at the time I had a credit card that reimbursed me for the $100 application fee.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a program that offers expedited pre-clearance for approved travelers entering the US. Global Entry is currently available to US citizens and permanent residents and has been expanded to include citizens of the following countries:
To apply one creates an account on the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) fills and then fill out an online application and pay the $100 fee. You will receive an email if the application is approved and then you will be invited to schedule an appointment at one of the Global Entry Enrollment Centers. My interview was relatively quick and painless and if you schedule it on the same day that you leave for an international trip, you can use the Global Entry Kiosks when you return. The membership lasts for five years and if your passport expires within that time frame you can update your passport information via GOES. Another benefit to Global Entry membership is that it automatically enrolls you in TSA PreCheck.
What is TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck allows you to breeze through airport security without having to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jacket. Like Global Entry it is valid for 5 years and it only costs $85. I would caution that TSA PreCheck is not available with all airlines and all airports. So if most of your trips are international in nature you may not be able to benefit as much from TSA PreCheck so be sure to check the list of Airports & Airlines before signing up.