Piedmont Triad International Airport has been making it easy for people to get their TSA PreCheck credentials lately by holding a series of events – like one coming up in mid-May that offers one-stop shopping to get that service.
Pre-Check allows you to move faster through airport security, experience less invasive searches and it even lets you keep your shoes on.
However, TSA-Precheck isn’t the gold standard for moving smoothly through airport security – a program called Global Entry is – and if, you’re a North Carolina resident, good luck getting that kind of preclearance.
That’s not because of any skeletons in your closet or because the government sees you as a threat – but simply because, logistically, in North Carolina, the process includes a difficult step that very few are willing to negotiate.
Both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Trusted Traveler Programs.” And while TSA PreCheck provides some expedited screening benefits for flights at some US Airports, the Global Entry program provides all the benefits of TSA PreCheck in addition to expedited US customs screening for international air travelers when coming back into the country.
Anyone who’s recently flown from, say, Incheon International Airport in Seoul to Atlanta, knows that the lines at customs can be awfully long and it would be nice to have a Global Entry pass to move to the head of the line and skip some of the invasive searches.
The PreCheck Program usually cost about $78, while the Global Entry program cost $100. Considering the advantages, the difference in money is irrelevant, but there’s one major sticking point to getting a Global Entry pass: You have to appear in person at a Global Entry office and, in the state of North Carolina, there’s exactly one office and it’s at the place you would probably least like to go – Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
To get the Global Entry pass, you have to Create a Trusted Traveler Program account. Then log into the account and complete the application. You then pay $100 – which is non-refundable if you get turned down.
Then there’s the killer step: Schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. In other words, drive to the sole Global Entry office in the state – at Charlotte Douglas International Airport – and be interviewed.
There may be some hope of avoiding this in the future. Right now, going to Charlotte is the only way, but at some point Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) may help area residents out.
Piedmont Triad Airport Authority Marketing and Customer Relations Manager Stephanie Freeman said there may be plans in the works to hold a Global Entry event in Greensboro.
“Yes, we are trying to set up a pop-up Global event,” Freeman said this week, “but scheduling has been difficult with Customs and Border Patrol being short-staffed.”
If PTIA does eventually offer the Global Entry Option and you do any amount of international flying, you should strongly consider getting a Global Entry pass there. It’s a lot better than driving to Charlotte and navigating that labyrinthian airport.
Once you’re approved for either PreCheck or Global Entry, you’re good to go for five years.
They also do an approval on arrival in many airports around the country. I intend to try that to finish mine, but that may also prove to be a nightmare. They have one in CLT and RDU.
I had “conditional” approval for GE and they said I could try “interview on arrival”. I had an international trip so I thought, GREAT!
I returned via MIA and asked there about that (it is a designated interview on arrival spot). I was told I may be able to do that but the wait would likely be 3-4 hours! Not good if you have a connection to make!
This article is completely inaccurate.
“Enrollment on Arrival (EoA) is CBP program that allows Global Entry applicants who are conditionally approved to complete their interviews upon arrival into the United States. The EoA program eliminates the need for a Global Entry applicant to schedule an interview at an enrollment center to complete the application process.”
Enrollment on Arrival has been in place since 2017.
Well, “completely inaccurate” is probably a little harsh here. I was talking about getting a pass before a trip. But you are right that another option you have to get Global Entry is to apply for conditional approval ahead of a trip, buy a ticket to Seoul or some other international destination, fly there, hope you get conditional approval while you are away, fly back to the US – specifically into either Charlotte Douglas or RDU – and, after your international flight, as you wait with hundreds of other passengers to get through customs, hope that you have arrived at a time at which Global Entry interviews are actually being allowed. Thriftytraveler.com notes that, due to high passenger traffic and airport security staffing shortages, some airports are currently “severely limiting when Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival is available.”
None of the possibilities are convenient if you live on the coastal side of NC. Geez. What a haul!
With technology the way it is. There has got to be better solutions available aside from just not b traveling.
We just went to Wilmington, NC from Greensboro to complete our global entry in-person interview. We made a beach vacation out of it which made it more fun. The interview process took less than 30 minutes in and out.
I recommend checking out the Wilmington site if you are willing to travel by road a little ways.
I just did the same thing last week. Drove from greensboro to wilmington and we planned to make a trip out of it but the weather wasn’t warm so we just went did the interview then came back home
I’m an Atlanta resident, & I went to Albuquerque for mine. I was planning a vacation, & I looked at several locations to vacation & get a Global Entry card. Every location had a 5 -8 month wait for the soonest interview, except Albuquerque. It was only about a 2 week backlog there, so I decided to visit New Mexico. I went to my interview right after landing at the ABQ airport, & when I left ABQ a few days later, the TSA agent said that my card had already been approved. It was waiting for me when I got back to Atlanta.
We did the TSA in Wilmington NC . We did the Global Entry on line it said there was a eight month wait for interview in Charlotte which is five hours drive no walk ins. We had a trip to Bermuda planned and so we waited as they had GE in the Bermuda airport. It was a breeze took less than ten minutes. Two weeks later we had our cards in the mail