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You “goes” to the head of the line with GOES

I’ve had my GOES card since December 2013 and have really appreciated how it expedites not only coming back into the country after foreign travel but also being able to go through the TSA lines at the airport with minimal hassle.  It’s the perfect add-on if your bucket list dreams include foreign travel.

With my GOES ID card I am able to skip the long lines at customs and immigration whenever I come back into the country. The application process was pretty straight forward: apply online (http://www.cbp.gov/global-entry/about), go for an interview with a ICE agent at a designated airport (Sacto isn’t one of them so I had my interview at Salt Lake City International the day before Thanksgiving while I was in Utah to be with family),  Then you wait for the ID card to arrive in the mail.

When you return from a foreign trip you go to a kiosk in the customs/immigration area where your ID card and passport are scanned and your photo is taken. Then you pick up your bags and leave the airport. It works as advertised and is a real time and hassle saver.  Just think: when everyone else is still standing in endless lines waiting to go through passport control and customs, you are on your way out of the airport.

By the way, the other part of the process is the TSA-precheck which will expedite you going through security check points regardless of where you are flying to (domestic as well as foreign destinations).  With that, you don’t have to take off your shoes, take your laptop out of your suitcase, carry liquids in small bottles, etc. To opt-in for the TSA-precheck, you have to add your GOES ID number to your profile for each of the airlines for which you have frequent flyer numbers. You can do that online by going to the website for each of the airlines you have frequent flier numbers for.  From then on, anytime you have an airline ticket with one of those airlines,  your GOES ID will be added to your record and you will go through the precheck line at the TSA check points. Cool…

Here’s what the card looks like.

For a list of enrollment centers—where you go for the mandatory GOES interview—see http://www.cbp.gov/global-entry/enrollment-centers.  Sacramento is not on the list but other airports and stand-alone enrollment centers are.  There are even some outside the US.   Just remember, you have only 30 days from the time you apply for the program and pay the nonrefundable $100 application fee to the time you go to your interview appointment.  So choose from the list wisely if you don’t live near one of the listed centers.

To apply for Global Entry you must first fill out the online application.

Once U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reviews your application, you will be contacted to schedule an interview at one of the Global Entry Enrollment Centers listed. At that interview a CBP officer will ask you questions, take your photo, and collect biometric information, e.g., scan your fingerprints.

Note: the GOES card costs $100 and is good for 5 years.  You can get a TSA-Precheck card for $85 for 5 years, but it doesn’t give you the benefit of skipping the lines at passport and customs control when you re-enter the US.  But if you get the GOES card, you automatically have TSA Precheck membership (as long as you register your GOES number with the airlines you travel on).

List of links:
GOES                    https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes
TSA                       http://www.tsa.gov/
TSA Precheck       http://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck

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