I cheer every time I’m out of JFK in less than 20 minutes. But what if I was traveling with a boyfriend? Is my dating pool only limited to Global Entry members?
I suppose the answer depends on how important it is for you to be Speedy Gonzalez. As luck would have it, Global Entry kiosks are only reserved for members that have gone through the hassle of applying. The privilege doesn’t extend to your traveling companions who will have to go through the same process as everyone else.
In general, I don’t like waiting. I consider going through immigration akin to through another circle of hell — you’ll often find me speed-walking trying to beat the entire plane to the front of the line. Eventually, I ponied up $100 to become a Global Entry member. It’s been particularly well worth it, even if it only ensures that I get access through the TSA PreCheck lane at best at times. (In PreCheck, traveling companions usually get to accompany the bestowed-upon member.)
Global Entry, however, is a different story because it involves immigration controls through internationals channels. The same rules don’t apply here. Straight from the horse’s mouth, U.S. Customs and Border Protection make it clear:
My travel companions (children, spouse or co-travelers) are not Global Entry members; can they come through the Global Entry kiosk with me?
No, only Global Entry members can use the Global Entry kiosk.
For children, this means that each kid must go through the Global Entry application process individually from their parents to go with them in line. There used to be age restrictions on who could join in the past, but there is no longer any and it’s open to everyone regardless of how young they are. Each child will still need to have a separate appointment apart from their siblings. (The Points Guy’s Brian Kelly points out it’s a little weird interviewing 10-month-old babies, but there you have it.)
The same goes for spouses and significant others. Normally, the blue U.S. customs form can often be filled out for multiple people traveling together but this doesn’t apply to Global Entry members. Depending on the airport and who’s in charge when you pass through, you may be able to get front-of-line privileges for your companion in the regular line. This tends to vary more in actual practice than official word. Basically, it’s safer to assume everyone else has to suffer through the hour-long wait at JFK.
That said, it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you’re able to get your traveling companion through Global Entry—albeit with slightly more hassle—with the permission of the custom officers present, chances are it still might be a lot quicker than dealing with the regular line. If you try to sneak someone through, just be aware that your membership could be revoked. Honestly, it’s such a great program that I wouldn’t want to be doing anything to jeopardize my privileges anytime soon.
I suppose I would also pick the bed over the couch so maybe I will just go ahead and wait in line.
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