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How to apply for Global Entry

Global Entry is a great way to avoid long lines when re-entering the U.S. after traveling abroad. We review who's eligible, how you can apply and how to use it at airports.

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If you're tired of waiting in long lines to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad, now is a good time to apply for Global Entry, especially if your credit card offers a statement credit to cover the application fee.

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the U.S. after traveling internationally. You must submit an application and a non-refundable $100 fee. If you're approved, your five-year membership includes both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck (which provides expedited security checks at select airports in the U.S.).

Below, CNBC Select reviews who's eligible for Global Entry, how you can apply and how to use it at airports.

Who's eligible for Global Entry?

To qualify for Global Entry, you must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident. Residents of select countries can also qualify, and you can learn more about international application requirements.

Applicants under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian's consent to participate in Global Entry.

Learn more about eligibility for Global Entry.

How to apply for Global Entry

Applicants are required to submit a Global Entry application and pay a $100 fee. Depending on the credit card you have, you might be able to be reimbursed for the fee. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, for example, offers a statement credit of up to $100 toward a Global Entry application every four years.

Here are the application steps:

  1. Create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account.
  2. Log on your TTP account and complete the application and pay a $100 non-refundable fee.
  3. After submitting your completed application and paying the fee, your application will be reviewed. If your application is conditionally approved, then your TTP account will instruct you to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.
  4. You will need to bring your valid passport and one other form of identification, such as a driver's license or ID card to the interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must present your machine readable permanent resident card. During the interview, a CBP officer will ask you questions, take your photo and collect biometric information (scan your fingerprints).

The CBP doesn't provide an exact time frame for how long the whole application process takes and states it can take up to several months.

How does Global Entry work

When you arrive in the U.S., simply navigate to the Global Entry automated kiosks at select airports. Then scan your machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place your fingerprints on the scanner for verification and complete a customs declaration. You'll receive a transaction receipt and be directed to baggage claim and the exit.

The CBP provides this disclaimer: "While Global Entry's goal is to speed travelers through the process, members may still be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Any violation of the program's terms and conditions will result in the appropriate enforcement action and termination of the traveler's membership privileges."

Information about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Learn more: TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. CLEAR: What's the difference?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.