I am not asking what the Global Entry program does – it is outright awesome – I am asking what the physical Global Entry card does. Do I even need to carry it around? Under what circumstances does it serve a purpose?logo-ge

For those of you not familiar with it, the Global Entry program allows travelers returning from overseas trips, to the US to bypass going thru the regular immigration and customs lines and pass thru by just accessing a kiosk. Special lanes for Immigration and Customs. No papers to fill out – at all. No agent to see. No waiting. It is awesome. All for a fee of $100 for 5 years. Also, you get TSA-pre on all domestic flights!

My question – when I applied for and got accepted, I got a physical card in the mail. I expected that it will be what I would use to access the kiosk, but it is not. At the kiosk, is used by sliding in your passport, not the card. So, there is no use I have found for the card. I have never been asked to use or show it. Is there a use?

Posted by unroadwarrior | 19 Comments

19 Responses to “What does the Global Entry ‘Card’ do anyways?”

  1. Paul says:

    From the global entry website:

    CBP accepts Global Entry cards for lawful U.S. entry at land and sea ports of entry. Global Entry cards have radio frequency identification, which enables their use at SENTRI and NEXUS expedited travel lanes entering the U.S. Global Entry cards are not valid for entry into Canada via the NEXUS lanes and kiosks. Global Entry cards are not accepted at Global Entry kiosks, which require passports or U.S. lawful permanent resident cards. Global Entry card holders must follow all program rules for SENTRI and NEXUS when using this card at land and sea ports of entry.

  2. 100K says:

    I have only used it at Pre at BOS when I had tickets reprinted and for some reason they didn’t print TSA Pre on them (the ones I printed at home did- we were checking bags so they reprinted them for me, not that I wanted them to).

    So I showed the Pre-line agent my card and she said, “Hmm. They usually print that on your ticket.” Then she sort of shrugged and let me through (esp since there was nobody in the line and the regular line was very, very long). Still, it got me in and I was through in no time.

  3. Nic says:

    Some of us early adopters, don’t even have a card.

  4. Russ says:

    Mexican and Canadian land border crossings accept it. But only if everyone in the car has one.

  5. unroadwarrior says:

    @Nic and @Russ, thanks for sharing. Was not aware of land border use.

    @100K, that is interesting. I was actually told by the agent interviewing me that showing the card will not guarantee me TSAPre access. The ‘system’ has to pre-approve TSAPre, which it ‘almost’ always will for Global Entry card holders. That being said, I have not had the BP show the TSAPre a couple of times on the BP, but scanning the bar code always confirms that I was indeed TSAPre, without showing the card.

  6. Kurt says:

    I use my global entry card when going through security…keeps the TSA agents on their toes ;-)

  7. Sam says:

    Coming back from London last month the Global Entry machines were down so the agent said I could us the card as proof of me being in the program. I still had to fill out the form, but when I was done, the agent opened a separate line for Global Entry people and I went right through.

  8. Dan says:

    According to the agent I interviewed with when applying for the program, in the unlikely event that the kiosks are down or won’t read your passport for some reason, the Global Entry card is the only way to prove your enrollment in the program. In these situations, by showing the card,the CBP agents will move you to the head of the line to be screeened by an agent. In addition, as this is a valid form of identification, it may expedite the process of obtaining a new passport at a foreign embassy/consulate if yours is lost/stolen.

    For these rare circumstances, I usually carry the card with me (separately from my passport)for use in verifying my enrollment in the program and/or identity should the need ever arise.

  9. unroadwarrior says:

    @Dan, @Sam, thanks for sharing. This is great info. I have been carrying my GE card since I got it on international trips, but was just not sure what I could/would use it for.

  10. PAB says:

    There should be a CBP sticker that should of been afixed to your passport at the interview. The card is not the only thing that will show that you are in the program

  11. Dan says:

    @pab CBP hasn’t put a sticker on passports for at least a year now.

    I used the card during land travel from Windsor, ON to Detroit. Saved me about 15 minutes.

  12. ZH says:

    I paid $50 for NEXUS, which also gave me access to Global Entry. Why pay $100 just for GE?

  13. Steve Kalman says:

    I use it for ID because, unlike my drivers’ license it does not have my home address on it.

    This has nothing to do with airport security.

  14. Wait… they are NOT government IDs to get the “gov rate” at hotels? Kiddn’ kiddn’!

  15. unroadwarrior says:

    @ZH, I thought it was the other way round. GE was the superset of all other programs including NEXUS…

  16. unroadwarrior says:

    @Steve, I use them as a ID outside the US. I do not like to carry my drivers license (has address, not issued by the Feds). And I do not want to carry my passport everywhere. I leave my passport in the hotel room safe and carry the GE card

  17. unroadwarrior says:

    @palmerlaw ROFL

  18. Crissy says:

    When I got mine I was told it could be used as an official form of identification. Not the first thing I’ll pull out of my wallet, but could come in handy on occasion.

    If you lose your drivers license while traveling, this could be a back up to get you on the plane and back home without having your spouse Overnight some other ID.

  19. Mark R. says:

    A Nexus card is much more useful – you can use Nexus lanes driving into Canada, you can use Nexus kiosks flying into Canadian airports (if you get the iris scan – a good excuse to drive from Detroit to YYZ for the weekend), and the Nexus card includes GE – all for $50 (instead of $100).

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