A Global Entry membership is a must for any international traveler to get through immigration fast – and also clear airport security faster with your children, thanks to an included TSA PreCheck membership.
But is Global Entry for kids also a must? If you have Global Entry and plan on doing any international travel as a family, you will want your child to have their own Global Entry membership too. Unlike TSA PreCheck, kids will not be able to use their parents' Global Entry benefits when returning home from abroad. Whether they're 2 months old, 2 years old, or 12, every traveler needs their own membership to benefit from Global Entry and a quicker trip through customs and immigration.
Here's everything you need to know about getting Global Entry for children – and why you might consider doing it.
- What is Global Entry?
- Should Your Kids Get Global Entry?
- How to Get Global Entry For Your Children
- Getting Global Entry for a Child: FAQs
What is Global Entry?
Let's start with the basics. Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that allows you to get through U.S. immigration and customs quickly. It also includes a TSA PreCheck benefit that gets you into a designated lane for security. It's a genuine two-birds, one-stone program.
Once your membership in the program is approved, it will be good for five years. You'll be able to renew your Global Entry membership starting one year from your expiration date.
Because this program lets you get through high levels of security quickly, the process for getting approved is a bit more rigorous than what you'll find with TSA PreCheck. And it can be incredibly time-consuming: While some applicants get conditionally approved within days, others wind up waiting six months or more. Then you need to find an in-person Global Entry interview to finalize enrollment, which can be the hardest part of all.
Should Your Kids Get Global Entry?
If you have or are planning to get Global Entry, and you plan on traveling internationally with your children, it is definitely worth getting them Global Entry.
Global Entry is not like TSA PreCheck, where children under 18 don't need their own membership and can come through the PreCheck line with you. Regardless of age, everybody using Global Entry will need to have their own program membership.
So if you have Global Entry and your children don't, you will have to go through the normal customs line when returning to the United States – no matter the age of your child.
Plan on taking a few international trips with your children over the next several years? It can be definitely worth getting Global Entry for the family.
How to Get Global Entry For Your Children
Getting Global Entry for your child is the same process and cost as it is for adults. That's right, even if your child can't yet talk, they'll still need to complete the interview process – with the help of mom and dad, of course.
Here are a few tips.
Use a Credit Card with a Global Entry Credit to Apply
Global Entry itself costs $100 for a five-year membership. However, plenty of credit cards include a credit of up to $100 to cover the cost of a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership as a perk.
But then there are even cheaper options where you can cover the cost of Global Entry for your child, like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, or the new U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature Card, which waives its $95 annual fee for the first year.
Read our guide on the top cards that offer Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
All you need to do is pay for Global Entry with the card that covers the application fee. That means you can pay for your child's application with a card that has a Global Entry credit, and that charge will get erased.
Want to take things to the next level? Read our guide on how to get Global Entry for the whole family from a single credit card!
Getting a Global Entry Interview for Your Children
Yes, your child needs to go in for a Global Entry interview, too, just like you and I.
It's a painless process, mainly to verify that the child matches their passport. Depending on your child's age, they may or may not have to have their fingerprints scanned – though younger children will not.
Note: If your child does not get their fingerprints scanned, they will get a large X on their customs printout from the Global Entry Kiosk when coming back to the U.S. This just means an agent needs to verify their identity by matching them to their photo on the passport. You will get to go through an expedited line.
Unlike passport applications for minors, both parents do not need to be present at the Global Entry interview. Only one parent needs to bring the child to the appointment.
You will need to bring both your child's passport and your own passport, too.
Related reading: How to Get a Global Entry Interview Faster
After the Global Entry Interview
After the Global Entry interview, your child should get instant approval and their membership activated. You should receive a notification email shortly after the interview.
You can get their known traveler number (KTN) right away in their Trusted Traveler account online, which you can plug into their airline accounts as needed. Furthermore, you should also get a membership card within a few days or a week by mail.
Once you've received their membership card, follow the attached instructions to activate it. But unless you’re entering the U.S. from Canada by land, there’s not much reason to carry around the card for your child.
Getting Global Entry for a Child: FAQs
Can my child just come with me through Global Entry, like TSA PreCheck?
No. All children, no matter their age, need to have their own Global Entry membership. If you have Global Entry but your child does not, you will have to skip the dedicated line and kiosks and go through the normal customs line with them.
Can I bring more than one child to a Global Entry interview?
Each child will need their own Global Entry interview appointment.
However, you can try bringing all your children to one appointment and ask if they can do their interviews together, provided they've already been conditionally approved. You might be able to get them done at the same time … just don't rely on it.
Want to get an interview faster? Check out Appointment Scanner to find available interview times at your home airport!
What if my child's passport expires before their Global Entry membership does?
Passports for children under the age of 16 need to be renewed every five years. So depending on when your child gets Global Entry, their passport may expire before their Global Entry membership (also five years). When you get their new passport, you can just update their passport number in their Trusted Traveler account online.
Bottom Line: How does this affect your children?
If you have Global Entry or are planning on getting it, it might make sense to get it for the whole family.
Getting kids a Global Entry membership will take a little extra work, especially finding an interview, but it's worth it. Once your kid (or kids) are signed up for Global Entry, you can all breeze through customs when you come back from your next international family trip.