I can truthfully say that getting Global Entry is the best thing I have ever done as a traveler. Global Entry is a security clearance that, after an application process and background check, will grant you expedited entry back into the US when you're traveling internationally. When I initially saw the $100 price tag (which is a lot for someone who has to watch every penny), I thought that it couldn't possibly be worth my time or money. But then one of my best friends got it, and because I tend to be a follower sometimes, I decided to join her. I'm so glad I did, because every time I travel, I say a silent thanks to my past self for deciding to go for it. But if you, like past Hedy, are on the fence about Global Entry, let me tell you exactly why you should go for it.
1. It comes with TSA Precheck
This is my favorite aspect of having Global Entry. While the Global Entry aspect of it is primarily for entering the US when returning from international travel, one feature of being cleared by the TSA is also getting TSA Precheck at participating airports and with participating airlines. When I first saw the "participating" language in my Global Entry information, I was afraid that it would be more often than not that I wouldn't be able to use it, but in the year I've had it, I've been able to use Precheck every time I've traveled.
2. You don't have to fill out a customs form
Your Global Entry identification means you don't have to fill out a customs form when you return to the US. You just scan your fingerprints and face at the machine at the airport and you're through. No more digging for a pen you probably forgot to bring along!
3. Going through customs is a breeze
You know how when you get off a long international flight and have to go through customs at the airport and it feels like the trip is never-ending? With Global Entry, you get to bypass the giant line of people and go straight to a machine to clear customs. The first time I used my Global Entry coming back from the UK, I was one of the last people off the plane but the first to clear customs. Keep in mind, though, just because you get through faster, it doesn't mean your checked bag does!
4. The cost isn't actually that bad
I know, I complained about it being $100, but your ID is good for five years, which breaks down to just $20 a year. If you travel a lot, $20 a year for Precheck is worth it in itself.
5. It provides an additional government-issued ID
Government-issued IDs are always handy, and in case you need an extra sometime, your Global Entry card qualifies.