The Global Entry Application Process (TSA Precheck)

Considering dropping the $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck? Curious about the Global Entry application process and what kind of rigorous interrogation they might subject you to? We were, too. It can be a nerve wracking process if you don’t know what to expect. That is why we want to share with you our experience and what you are going to need to do if you want to skip those long security lines and maybe even keep your shoes on at the airport!

Jim has been bugging me about splurging for TSA Precheck / Global Entry for years but I just wasn’t convinced that the application fee was worth it. However, we recently ramped up the travel and I’m tired of practically unpacking my luggage every time we go through airport security. So we finally pulled the trigger and applied.

VIDEO: Our Global Entry Application Process (TSA Precheck)| Digital Nomad Newbies

We Are Digital Nomad Newbies Transitioning to the Location Independent Lifestyle

Jim has a new job that allows him to work remotely from anywhere with a good internet connection, but it also requires a bit of travel. I’ve been working with a private shuttle company in Belize for the last couple years and I am long overdue to go visit my guy, connect, and talk some business. At this stage in life, being the wanderlusters that we are and now that the kids have left the nest, we are soaking it up. He travels with me, I travel with him. For the most part, life is bliss! But, yes, it is time for some trusted traveler shortcuts at the airport.

We have been trying out the RV Life for the last few months but now, as of the filming of this video, we are preparing for a little over a month in southern Mexico. Close enough to Belize to meet up with people and get business done, but in a country where our Verizon cell phone plans still work and internet connections are solid. Belize is working on their internet infrastructure, but it is still hit and miss. After Mexico, we are heading straight to Wichita, Kansas for a little business there.

These are our first trips since being approved and we thought we would share a little about our experience and the Global Entry application process in case you are thinking of doing it yourself and would like to know what to expect.

Going Nomadic – 11 Strategies For Transitioning to Location Independence

TSA Precheck and Global Entry, What Is the Difference?

Very briefly, they are pretty similar. Global Entry and TSA Precheck are both ‘Trusted Traveler’ programs and have the same application process. The only difference is in access. Because Global Entry members are allowed expedited clearance through customs by way of automatic kiosks at select airports, going through customs is going to take much less time

The TSA Precheck application fee is $85. The Global Entry application fee is $100 and includes TSA Precheck. Drop the extra $15 and streamline the customs process, why would you not?

Check out the US Customs and Border Protection Website, for the details.

Our Experience of the Global Entry Application Process

All in all, it was a pretty easy process. The whole thing took less than a few weeks to complete before we had our ‘Trusted Traveler’ numbers and could take advantage of the benefits.

The Application and Payment

To begin, you go online and create an account. You then fill out the application which includes a detailed seven year personal history. They ask for a full list of your residential addresses as well as a complete job history. They are going to use this information to complete a thorough background check. The non-refundable $100 application fee is due when you submit this application.

Conditional Approval

The next step is to wait for your conditional approval which, for us, took a little over a week. Once approved, you are clear to schedule your in-person interview. We had ours at SeaTac Airport.

The Day of the Interview

On the day of the interview, we brought the required documentation (our passports and one other form of ID such as a driver’s license). We showed up about twenty minutes early for the interviews which we had scheduled back to back.

The interview was the part we were nervous about. I imagined a moderately intense interrogation by a grumpy old man behind a desk. It wasn’t like that at all. They had the time, so they got us in early. And even though we were required to schedule separate interviews, because we were married, they allowed us to carry out the interview and fingerprinting together.

The customs and border protection officer who interviewed us was a really nice guy with a decent sense of humor. He put us at ease right away. During the interview, he checked our identification, took our fingerprints, and got our latest residential and mailing addresses (which had changed since we filled out the online application). The change of residence in the middle of the application process was no big deal.

No lie detector tests, no bright lights, no ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine. In total it took about fifteen minutes.

Approved Within 24 Hours

Before we left, we received a temporary card with our TTP (Trusted Traveler Program) number. The agent told us we would know within twenty-four hours if it was approved, which it was.

Pretty straight forward. Just make sure you apply with enough time to complete the process before your next trip!

Here is a link for the US Customs and Border Patrol website with instructions on how to apply.

TSA Precheck Global Entry Application Process

Thanks for reading!

We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the Global Entry application process and our experience. Just drop a message in the comments section and we’ll get back to you asap.

ollow along on our journey as we figure out this digital nomad, location independent lifestyle! Subscribe to our YouTube channel or sign-up for our once-a-month ‘On The Go’ Mail Drop.

Thanks for stopping by! And until next time… life is too short to stay in one place. Happy wanderings!

Jim + Tania


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