Does My Baby Need to Enroll Separately in Global Entry?
TPG reader Mike sent me a message on Facebook to ask about expedited security for infants:
“My wife and I live abroad but travel back to the US regularly. We both have Global Entry and it has been a life saver, but now we have a baby. Can we still use the Global Entry lane with him, or does he have to get it as well?”
I think Global Entry rocks, and I recommend it to anyone who flies often (both in the US and abroad). Access to expedited security is worth the cost of signing up, but it's a no-brainer if you have a credit card that covers your application fee, since you can effectively get it at no additional cost. That's especially compelling if you travel as a family, because anyone using the Global Entry lanes has to have his or her own membership.
The explanation from the Customs and Border Protection website is cut and dried:
"Membership benefits for any of our programs do not extend to traveling companions, including minors. Therefore, any child, regardless of age must be a member to use the kiosks."
If Mike and his wife want to use Global Entry as a family, they'll need to sign their baby up as well. Otherwise, only one of them will be allowed in, while the other will have to accompany the baby through the regular security lanes.
The greatest downside to this is that you have to go through the application process again. Aside from paying the $100 enrollment fee, you (and your baby) will have to schedule and attend another interview. That "interview" will just be a formality — the CBP isn't going to interrogate your infant about his or her travel history. However, you do need to show up, and that means you'll have to navigate the backlog that exists at many Global Entry enrollment centers.
On the bright side, TSA PreCheck benefits extend to children 12 or under, so you can use the expedited lane together when traveling domestically. The Mobile Passport app also allows you to create create additional profiles for family members, and families of up to four people can submit a single customs declaration form. If your family doesn't leave the country often, that may suit your needs.
For more on Global Entry and other expedited security options, check out these posts:
- 10 Ways to Get Through Airport Security Faster
- Can Someone Else Use My Global Entry Application Credit?
- 5 Key Things to Know About Getting Global Entry
- Will My Travel History Affect My Global Entry Application?