As a frequent traveler, having Global Entry and TSA PreCheck for over 3 years has greatly enhanced my travel experience by expediting the immigrations process and zipping through security lines. My approval was a quick and painless process.
Now that I often travel with my 2 kids, it was time to get them on board too. The idea of going through the trouble of getting a baby or toddler Global Entry may sound silly, but when traveling with little ones, everyone needs to be approved for the Global Entry program in order to avoid the lines and use the kiosks.
Using the free $100 Global Entry application-fee credit that’s a benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve, I filled out the applications for my 2 and half year old son and 18 month old daughter. Other cards that come with the Global Entry application-fee credit include The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN and Citi Prestige.
The application for children is exactly the same for adults – they’ll need to register for a GOES user name and password, a valid passport, and a complete and thorough list of all the countries they’ve visited in the last 5 years. Of course you can just type “child” under occupation/employment history and answer no to criminal/arrest history.
Each application took around 10 minutes, and within 24 hours they’ve received a conditional approval notice indicating that it was time to schedule their in-person interviews.
Apparently the Global Entry facilities are super busy these days, as the first appointment at EWR was no sooner than November 22(!!). JFK was completely booked up for the end of the year at the time I tried to schedule. Of course if you live in a less-busy area, you might have better luck, but either way it’s pretty ridiculous.
A tip is to book the first available appointment and then log in from time to time to snag an appointment that may have opened up from a cancellation. I was stoked when I logged in and saw an appointment in a few days.
Unfortunately there was only one appointment, but I brought both kids anyway. With a friendly attitude and a smile, the officer agreed to process the applications for both of my children in a single appointment slot.
At the “interview”, I had to state my children’s’ full names as they appeared on their passports, and they had their photos taken. My son slept through his photo, so his sleeping face will grace his ID until he’s over 7 years old :-P. Since my kids were too young, they were unable to take their fingerprints. They must return when they are between the ages of 4 and half to 6 to register their fingerprints (no appointment necessary).
Since my children are too young to use the kiosks with their finger prints, we’ll have to fill out a customs form for each child every time we travel internationally. After that, we’ll have to bring their passports to the customs agent near the kiosks to have their passport stamped.
One of the reasons why I love Global Entry is that I did not have to bother with filing out the paper forms upon arrival, but now when I’m traveling with the kids, I’ll have to fill out 2. I also like that with Global Entry, you can avoid the entry stamp into the US, saving room in your passport, but the kids will have to have their passports stamped.
I’m glad that their application fee was essentially “free” with our credit cards because I personally would not want to shell out $200 out-of-pocket for Global Entry “with limitations” at this age. Either way, I guess that’s the price you pay for being able to avoid long lines as a family.
How has your experience been using Global Entry with a baby or young child?