I recently applied for Global entry and TSA Pre Check, and went through the whole approval process. In this article I will describe what I had to go through to get approved, and my first test through Newark Liberty International Airport and Dulles International Airport. The first thing I did was go over the website: https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov . There you create an account, and they ask you all kinds of questions, which include your travel for the last 5 years, jobs you’ve held, addresses and other personal information. That took me approximately 30 minutes, because it was a pretty lengthy questionnaire. So plan to spend about 30 – 45 minutes to do the application. If you have any little ones, you have to do a separate application for each kid, even if your child is a baby. I created a profile for my daughter, who at the time of application was 2 turning 3, and had to answer all kinds of questions of where she has travelled. I have a separate email for her, and had all correspondence go to her email.
After you fill out the information, and all information has been submitted successfully, you will have to pay 100 bucks to do a final submission. You will get “conditional approval”, and only then you can schedule an appointment. I had to schedule 2 appointments, one for myself and one for my daughter. I didn’t do it for my wife, because she is a grown woman and she can do it herself. A little deviation from this article, one thing that drives me crazy about my wife is that she loves to delegate “tech” stuff to me because she’s “just not good at it” and I am a “geek”. So this past August, I decided to “retrain” her, and I have left it up to her to take action on tasks that involve technology. Here we are in December, and she still hasn’t done it. Bless that woman’s heart, at least she’s trying, sort of.
Make sure to schedule your appointment as soon as possible, because I couldn’t get an appointment until 2 months after I initially applied. I applied in August, and scheduled the appointments in October and November. I scheduled 2 separate appointments, one for myself and one for my daughter. My guess is that people are finally catching on, which kind of annoys me.
My interview was a breeze, and they just asked me questions about the information on my online application. My daughter’s interview on the other hand, was an experience. Picture a 3 year old sleeping, then getting woken up, and seeing a big grizzly man in uniform pointing a camera with a red light at her. Yeah didn’t go so well. Her ID picture is hilarious. Ah what we do for kids.
I flew from Newark to Dulles, and arrived at the airport about an hour before take off. I flew United airlines, and was able to do TSA Pre Check when I bought my airline ticket on the United website. I used the number on my Global Entry card and it automatically linked it to my account. Even my boarding pass had the TSA Pre Check symbol, and it made me feel pretty special. That feeling went away when I arrived at the TSA Pre Check area, and saw a line. The benefit was that the line did move quickly and I did not have to take off my shoes or remove my laptop from my bag. I still did have to make sure I didn’t have any coins in my pockets or else the alarm would sound. All in all, I would say I “breezed” through security, and was able to get that done in about 10 minutes, at most even with the line. At this point, I’m not sure if I can adamantly say it exceeded my expectations, but I will say I did enjoy the experience. I love to travel in general, so this was an added plus for me. All in all, Newark Airport has their TSA Pre Check pretty organized, and I was satisfied, considering what I went through to get to that point.
Coming back from Dulles was even better. I was in and out in about 5 minutes. They actually are going to be separating the check point by destination city at Dulles. So for example, they had signs up for “New York”, “Atlanta”, so I am guessing anyone with TSA Pre Check will head to that line. Dulles also has their own dedicated TSA Pre Check area, and it was less congested than Newark’s. Perhaps the travel time came into play, as I took an early morning flight from Newark, and took a late afternoon flight from Dulles.
Was it worth the 100 bucks and the one time hassle? Personally I think it was worth it, since taking off my shoes and putting laptops in a bin were very annoying to me. My wife recently took a trip to Peru, and the security line was 2 floors long. If she had TSA Pre Check, she could’ve avoided that. My next test is going to be international travel with my daughter. So Claudia, if you’re reading this, we’ll see you at the gate!