Global Entry for kids

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If you travel abroad even just once or twice a year, you should have Global Entry to take advantage of the benefits. And if you travel as a family, you may be wondering whether your children need a Global Entry membership, too.

Just like children have to travel on their own passport, they also need their own Global Entry card. But is it worth it? After all, applying for Global Entry takes some work and a lot of waiting.

The thing is, even if you have Global Entry, you won’t be able to go through the Global Entry line unless everyone in your group is enrolled in the program. So yes, getting Global Entry for your children is worth it!

Do kids need to be interviewed for Global Entry?

Even kids need to be interviewed for Global Entry. No need to worry — the interview is only a formality, especially for very young kids or infants. It’s likely your child won’t have to answer any questions at all. A parent or legal guardian will need to be present for the interview process and will be answering any of the questions the officer may have.

Setting up an interview is simple and can be done online. First, you’ll need to create a Global Online Enrollment System account for your child, even if they’re an infant, and fill out an application. Then you’ll need to pay an application fee. Next, schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center for your child once the application is conditionally approved.

Depending on your local enrollment center, be prepared to wait. Some applicants claim that appointments are several months out. However, you may be able to get a same-day appointment at certain locations.

Once it’s time for interview day, be sure to take your passport and another form of ID, such as a driver’s license or proof of address, for yourself and your child. Only one parent or guardian needs to be present at the interview. The best part is, Global Entry is approved and valid as soon as the interview is over. 

How much does it cost to enroll your child in Global Entry?

The Global Entry application fee is $100 — the same for adults and children. The fee is non-refundable, so keep that in mind before you apply. $100 per person in a family adds up, but it’s worth every penny. Next time you’re coming home from a long international trip with tired or jet-lagged, cranky kids, zipping through Customs and Border Protection will be priceless. 

Some of the best travel credit cards will reimburse you $100 towards your Global Entry application fee, which should help you save money on at least one of your family members. Popular travel cards that will reimburse you for the Global Entry fee include:

If you’re still objecting to the $100 application fee for your children, consider a couple of points. The card will last five years, and even if your infant’s passport expires first, a Global Entry for infant card will remain valid. In addition, having Global Entry for kids means TSA PreCheck benefits will apply to kids 12 or under. You’ll also be able to use the expedited lane as a family for domestic flights, too.

Is it worth getting your entire family Global Entry?

If you travel with any frequency, it’s absolutely worth getting the whole family Global Entry cards. Unless you’re planning on ditching the family when you land in the U.S. to breeze through the expedited security lanes on your own, everyone needs their own cards to go along with their passports.

The hardest part of the application process is the wait times. Conditional approval can take up to six months. Appointments at a few enrollment centers are also backlogged for another couple of months. Luckily, once your child completes the interview, they’re approved and ready to travel.

It may sound odd that your toddler needs to pass an interview for Global Entry approval, but it’s not really a formal interview. No need to rehearse answers with your children about their travel history — they probably won’t have to say much at all.

Global Entry cards last for five years. So consider thinking of it as a $20 annual investment per family member. And besides being able to get through immigration faster when your family lands stateside, the whole family will be able to flash your Global Entry cards to use TSA PreCheck expedited lanes for domestic flights. 

Bottom line

Do children need Global Entry cards of their own? The answer is yes. They will need a card to match their passport if you plan on moving through the expedited Customs and Border Patrol lanes as a family. 

Global Entry comes with an application fee of $100 per person, regardless of age, but if you travel internationally now and then, it’s well worth the investment. The membership is valid for five years. And in addition to faster international arrivals into the U.S., you’ll be able to get through TSA PreCheck points as a family for domestic flights, as well. Just make sure you get your Global Entry children applications started right away — the process can take several months.

Featured image by Smile Studio/Shutterstock.

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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