First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. So the saying goes. Well, Patty and I followed that traditional progression and had an adorable tiny human earlier this year. And shortly after he turned 5 months old we completed the Global Entry application process for our chubby, no-longer-tiny, baby.
Here are the 4 reasons why we got Global Entry for our baby…
1. It Makes Travel With a Baby A Bit More Tolerable
There’s no question that traveling with a child can be a test of an adult’s patience. From meltdowns to diaper changes to lugging countless items, it can seem like half the trip is a giant hassle.
If the travel is international the hassles can come to a head at the end of the trip with long customs/immigration lines. It’s not unheard of for those lines to run over 60 minutes! If you’re flying back to the states on a large aircraft, the passengers from just your flight alone can create a backup at customs/immigrations. And if you’re hauling a baby around you’re probably not getting from the plane to the queue as fast as others, meaning you’ll experience the worst of the backup. Avoiding it, especially if the baby is due for a feeding or cranky for some other reason, can save your sanity!
When you arrive back in the states with Global Entry you simply scan your passport at a kiosk and then put your fingers on the scanner and pose for a photo of your face. You then take the printout from the kiosk with you and show it to an agent on the way out of the area (a process which rarely takes more than a few seconds). A baby’s fingerprints aren’t captured during the Global Entry application process so you skip that step when using the kiosk for a little one.
Our little guy seems to go from satiated to screaming-his-lungs-out hungry in a matter of seconds so avoiding a long line upon returning to the states is oh so appealing.
2. It Was Free!
Global Entry costs $100 and in my opinion it is worth the fee for the 5-year benefit (especially given the fact that it includes TSA PreCheck). If you can get it for free…well, that is a no-brainer.
The reimbursement of the Global Entry fee would be an excellent feature even if it could only be used directly for the cardholder. Making it even more valuable though is the fact that you can redeem that benefit for any one person. I already had Global Entry before I obtained the Sapphire Reserve card, and Patty has TSA PreCheck, so we used the fee reimbursement benefit for our son.
Adding to the appeal of this benefit, the reimbursement shows up automatically as a statement credit within hours of the charge posting. The cardholder doesn’t have to do anything to make that happen!
3. It Was Easy
The Global Entry application process isn’t trivial but it isn’t bad either, especially if you live near an airport or fly often. That’s because after you complete the online portion of the application process, you must do an in-person interview to get your Global Entry status.
When I got Global Entry, the interview took all of about five minutes. It was even easier in my son’s case. He can only coo, he can’t talk, and his fingerprints aren’t stable yet, so the interview consisted of merely a quick photo capture. We were in and out in about three minutes!
A month or so prior to the “interview” I had completed the online portion of the application for him. That was straightforward given he hasn’t yet had a chance to get in legal trouble and he hadn’t traveled outside the country.
4. It’s A Long-Term Benefit
A lot of parents are uninterested in traveling with their child while the child is still a baby or toddler. That’s understandable. One of the valuable aspects of Global Entry though is that it is valid for five full years. So even if you won’t use it for a couple years, it’s logical to get it, especially if you won’t have to pay out of pocket for it.
For us, the next five years will likely include at least several international trips so we’ll take advantage of the Global Entry status of our little guy quite a few times.
We got our 5-month old son Global Entry to make international travel a bit easier. It cost us nothing out of pocket, thanks to the automatic reimbursement from my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It only took about 20 minutes to complete the online portion of the application and the so-called interview was over three minutes after it started. We’ll be using his Global Entry in a few months when we take him on his first international trip – a several-night visit to the Cayman Islands!
Have you obtained/used Global Entry for a baby? Share a note on your experience in the comments below!
Get the latest travel tips, a spreadsheet to track your travel cards and an eBook when you sign up for my email list.