Going through Global Entry is now easier than ever

Aug 11, 2021

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The next time you arrive at a U.S. airport from abroad and approach a Global Entry kiosk, you might find the experience to be much smoother than before.

Gone are the days of desperately searching around the bottom of your bag or digging through your pockets for your passport. Now, Global Entry is making its kiosks even more efficient by eliminating passport and fingerprint scans, and relying instead on facial biometric authentication — similar to the technology used by Clear.

Passengers who have Global Entry and arrive at some airports from international destinations will no longer need to scan their passport, put their fingers on a fingerprint sensor or answer a questionnaire. They just need to have their picture taken and then collect a printed receipt from the Global Entry kiosk, which they then give to an officer. Then they can exit the airport immediately after baggage claim.

If for some reason the system cannot match the Global Entry member to an image on record, the system will simply revert to the former process. The traveler would be prompted to swipe their passport and submit their fingerprints.

Several TPG staffers have already experienced this simplified new procedure at airports across the country, including Miami (MIA), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), New York-JFK and Newark (EWR). Just two weeks ago, The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, experienced it at JFK’s Terminal 4, arriving on an Emirates flight from Milan.

The process of having your fingerprints and passport scanned at Global Entry kiosks is now being phased out and replaced by facial biometrics technology at airports around the country. (Photo by James Tourtellotte via CBP)

This spells good news for parents of children who have Global Entry, as fingerprints on kids — and especially babies — aren’t necessarily fully developed. Prior to this new rolled-out process, families with children who weren’t fingerprinted were required to see an officer prior to entry, which significantly slows down the process.

Now, facial recognition technology potentially eliminates these issues and allows those globetrotting children (and their parents) to enter the U.S. without a fuss.

While these systems have been implemented at many airports nationwide, it does seem that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing the new process at several large hubs first before expanding to all airports. Let’s hope it’s expanded quickly so using Global Entry gets that much easier for travelers all over the country.

If you don’t yet have Global Entry, consider using a card that offers a Global Entry fee credit (up to $100) when you pay your application fee, including:

Additional reporting by Juan Ruiz. 

Featured photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images.

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