Global Entry

I finally bit the bullet and got Global Entry. I had been putting it off forever because I was too lazy to go down to an approval center for the interview portion. However, I read that there would be reduced access to the program (starting February 2017). I don't know how true that statement is but I didn't want to risk it so my sister and I applied on January 31st and got our conditional approval about a week later.
It was a really painless process and only cost $100 for five years, which I think is a good deal. I think there are a few travel credit cards that will reimburse you for the cost. But honestly, $20 a year is barely worth blinking at.

We decided on Global Entry because it also includes TSA Precheck, which is $85 on its own. We figured for $15 more, it was worth it to get Global Entry since Newark is our airport of choice and it has Global Entry kiosks and though we don't travel all that often (4 or 5 times a year for leisure) we thought it would pay off since those flights are split pretty evenly between national and international destinations.

We scheduled our interviews at the earliest possible slot on a weekend, which was about a month and a half out from when we received our conditional approvals. We meandered into Newark Airport yesterday morning to get grilled about our history as human beings. Okay, so not really, but I think they wanted to just verify that we were who we were saying we were so they asked some pretty basic questions.

The application process online was v. straightforward. You answer background questions, list the countries you've visited in the past five years, passport information, stuff like that.

My sister and I were stupid and signed up for two different time slots: 8:00 and 8:15. We should have signed up for the same slot, as an officer came out every fifteen minutes to announce the time slot and allowed multiple people in at once. No matter though because the interview process was pretty painless so it wasn't like we wasted much time anyway. The officer asked me to state my full name and date of birth and then asked me a few questions off of the application form. After the questions, she took my photo, registered my fingerprints, and I was on my way. The whole thing took less than five minutes.

I'm sure the process is similar at other Global Entry offices, as I've read several accounts of interactions that were pretty much identical to mine.

When we got home, we already had an email in our inboxes stating that we were approved. I think we have to wait another week or two before our cards arrive in the mail. I can't wait to start using this little shortcut!

I'm sure I'll have something to say about it when we go to Florida in April and we get to take advantage of the TSA Precheck for the first time.