Do I Need To Carry My Global Entry Card?

Traveling internationally can be stressful enough without worrying about whether you have the proper documentation. If you’re a Global Entry member wondering if you need your Global Entry card to use the program’s benefits, you’re not alone.

The quick answer is that while it’s not required, it’s highly recommended that Global Entry members carry their card when traveling.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about whether or not you need to carry your Global Entry card. We’ll discuss how Global Entry works, the benefits of being a member, where you need to show your card, what to do if you lose it, and tips for making sure you have it when traveling.

What is Global Entry and How Does it Work?

Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to expedite their entry into the United States. It is administered by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and is designed to streamline the customs and immigration process for eligible travelers.

Trusted traveler program that speeds up customs

Global Entry is a game-changer for frequent international travelers. With Global Entry, you can breeze through customs and immigration without having to wait in long lines. This program uses advanced technology, such as automated kiosks, to verify your identity and process your entry into the country.

It significantly reduces the time and hassle associated with traditional customs procedures, allowing you to get on with your journey faster.

Requires application, interview, and membership fee

To become a member of Global Entry, you need to go through a few steps. First, you’ll need to submit an online application through the CBP website. The application requires personal information, travel history, and background details.

Once your application is reviewed and conditionally approved, you will be invited for an in-person interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. During the interview, a CBP officer will ask you questions and collect biometric information, such as fingerprints.

There is a non-refundable membership fee of $100, which covers a five-year membership.

Card given to approved members

Once your application is approved, you will receive a Global Entry card. This card serves as proof of your membership and can be used at designated automated kiosks at participating airports. It allows you to skip the regular customs line and use the expedited Global Entry lane.

However, it’s important to note that the Global Entry card is not required to use the program. You can still enjoy the benefits of Global Entry by using your passport or other acceptable documents at the automated kiosks.

Benefits of Global Entry Membership

Access to expedited security lanes

One of the biggest advantages of having a Global Entry membership is the access to expedited security lanes at participating airports. This means that you can skip the long lines and enjoy a shorter wait time at the security checkpoint.

This can be especially beneficial during busy travel seasons or when you’re running late for your flight. With Global Entry, you can breeze through security and have more time to relax at the airport before your departure.

No need to fill out customs forms

Another perk of having a Global Entry membership is the elimination of the need to fill out customs forms when returning to the United States from abroad. Instead of spending valuable time filling out paperwork, Global Entry members can simply use the automated kiosks at the airport to complete their declaration.

This not only saves time, but it also streamlines the customs process, making it more efficient for both travelers and customs officers.

Faster processing through automated kiosks

Global Entry members also enjoy faster processing through automated kiosks when entering the United States. These kiosks allow members to scan their passport, provide their fingerprints, and answer a few questions electronically.

The entire process is quick and hassle-free, allowing you to get through customs and immigration faster than ever before. It’s a convenient way to expedite your entry and get you on your way to your final destination without any unnecessary delays.

According to the official U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, Global Entry members experience an average wait time of less than 5 minutes at the airport, compared to non-members who may have to wait up to 30 minutes or more.

Where You Need to Show Your Global Entry Card

Re-entering the U.S. at airports

When it comes to re-entering the United States at airports, having your Global Entry card can save you valuable time and hassle. The card is recognized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and allows you to bypass the regular immigration lines.

Instead, you can use the dedicated Global Entry kiosks, which often have shorter wait times. Simply scan your card, provide your fingerprints, and answer a few questions on the touchscreen.

Land border crossings from Mexico or Canada

If you’re traveling by land from Mexico or Canada, it’s important to note that your Global Entry card is not required for entry. However, having the card can still be beneficial. At some border crossings, you may encounter shorter wait times and dedicated lanes for Global Entry members.

Additionally, having your card on hand can serve as an extra form of identification and expedite the entry process.

Global Entry kiosks when returning to the U.S.

Upon returning to the United States from an international trip, Global Entry cardholders have the option to use the Global Entry kiosks. These self-service kiosks are available at major U.S. airports and allow travelers to complete their customs and immigration declarations electronically.

By using the kiosks, you can often bypass the long lines at the regular passport control booths, making for a smoother and quicker re-entry process.

It’s important to note that while the Global Entry card can be a convenient tool, it is not the only way to access the benefits of the Global Entry program. The card is primarily used as a physical proof of your membership, but you can also utilize your Global Entry membership by using your passport at the Global Entry kiosks.

If you are considering applying for Global Entry or have questions about the program, it’s always a good idea to visit the official U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

What to Do If You Lose Your Card

Report lost or stolen card

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of losing your Global Entry card or having it stolen, it’s important to take immediate action. The first step is to report the loss or theft to the appropriate authorities. Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a police report.

This will help protect you from any potential misuse of your card.

Request replacement card ($25 fee)

Once you have reported the loss or theft, the next step is to request a replacement card. To do this, you will need to log in to your Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account and fill out the necessary forms. There is a $25 fee for replacing your Global Entry card, which can be paid online.

After submitting your request, it may take a few weeks for your new card to arrive.

Use passport for verification until new card arrives

While waiting for your replacement card to arrive, you can still use your passport as a form of identification and verification. When traveling internationally, present your passport to the immigration officers instead of your Global Entry card.

They will be able to verify your trusted traveler status using your passport information.

Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to make a photocopy of your Global Entry card and keep it in a safe place. This way, if your card is lost or stolen, you will have a copy of the information to reference while waiting for a replacement.

For more information on what to do if you lose your Global Entry card, you can visit the official U.S. Customs and Border Protection website: www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/frequently-asked-questions.

Tips for Remembering Your Card When Traveling

Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. As a member of Global Entry, you receive a Global Entry card that serves as proof of your membership.

But do you need to carry your Global Entry card with you when traveling? Here are some tips to help you remember to bring your card:

Take a photo of the card on your phone

One of the easiest ways to ensure you always have your Global Entry card with you is to take a photo of it on your phone. This way, even if you forget to bring the physical card, you will still have a digital copy that you can present when needed.

Just make sure the photo is clear and easily readable.

Pack it in your passport holder

If you’re someone who always remembers to bring your passport when traveling, why not keep your Global Entry card in the same place? By packing it in your passport holder, you’ll have both important documents in one convenient location.

This reduces the chances of forgetting your Global Entry card and ensures you have it readily available when going through customs.

Add card to your digital wallet

Many smartphones now have digital wallet apps that allow you to store and access important cards, such as credit cards and loyalty cards. Some apps even support the addition of government-issued identification cards, including the Global Entry card.

By adding your Global Entry card to your digital wallet, you can have a secure and easily accessible digital version of your card on your phone.

It’s important to note that while having a digital copy of your Global Entry card can be convenient, it may not be accepted in all situations. Some airports or border crossings may still require you to present the physical card.

Therefore, it’s always a good idea to have both the physical card and a digital copy whenever possible.

Remembering to bring your Global Entry card when traveling can save you time and hassle at customs. By following these tips and finding a method that works best for you, you’ll ensure that you always have your card with you when you need it.


Having a Global Entry card is not technically required, but it makes using the program’s benefits much smoother. Keeping your card easily accessible when traveling internationally will save you time and hassle going through customs and airport security.

Following the tips above will help ensure you never have to scramble to prove your Global Entry membership!

Travel the world with confidence knowing you fully understand the role your Global Entry card plays in the process. Safe and happy journeys!

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