Global Entry is one of the things that makes traveling abroad and returning home to the US a bit simpler for us. We’ve been able to avoid long lines of people and speed right through the Global Entry lane, when returning from visiting another country.

When our daughter was born, a thought popped into my head: “Do babies need Global Entry, too?”

In this guide, find out if your baby, toddler or kid needs Global Entry, and how to get Global Entry for your baby or child, or any minor under the age of 18. And keep in mind that Global Entry is different from TSA PreCheck, and I’ll explain all of that below as you read along in this guide.

Let’s start with some Global Entry for kids FAQ, and then head into the how-to tips.

What to know about Global Entry for babies and kids

Here’s what to know while you determine if you should get Global Entry for your child

What is Global Entry?

We wrote an entire article about that! Please see our guide to everything to know about Global Entry.

Does a baby or child need Global Entry?

If you plan to travel often outside the US, then yes, your baby or kid will need their own Global Entry account if you plan to reenter the US as a family, in the Global Entry line. See the next question.

Can my child just use a parent’s Global Entry account?

The answer to this is NO, a baby or kid cannot use your Global Entry account. The reason is because Global Entry is not the same as TSA PreCheck, and I learned this early on after doing a lot of Google research.

TSA PreCheck is the membership that many travelers choose to opt for and buy into in order to enjoy shorter lines in airport security lines at participating US airports. Global Entry, however, is a membership attached to a US citizen’s passport number that allows a quicker entrance into the US after traveling abroad.

Children under 12 are able to enjoy the benefits of TSA PreCheck with a parent who already has a valid TSA PreCheck membership; however, NO baby or child can use their parent’s Global Entry account, because these two people have different passport numbers.

That’s the main gist of the difference.

Helpful Tip

Is TSA PreCheck worthy of the hype? See my thoughts in the guide where I answer if TSA PreCheck is worth it.

Is there a minimum age for a Global Entry account?

Nope! Any US citizen, whether 1 minute old or 100 years old, can have a Global Entry account as long as they have a valid passport.

How to apply for Global Entry for a baby (or kid)

When applying for Global Entry for our daughter, I signed up with:

  • Her email (we created a Gmail address for her when she was born)
  • My phone number (this is only used for two-factor authentication when logging into the DHS site)

Just like the process of how to apply for a passport for a baby, there is an online application. You can start at the US Customs and Border Protection website on the How to Apply for Global Entry page.

Make a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account for your child

This is the account I chose to make with our daughter’s email address, for convenience. She’ll have this account for the rest of her life!

Fill out the application

The application asks for basic particulars. Make sure to have the child’s passport handy while you fill it out.

Pay the fee

The fee is currently $100, which is pretty good value if you plan to travel out of the country multiple times per year. You can pay by credit card online, so this is simple.

Note: it is not refundable! You have to be “very sure” that you really want Global Entry for your child.

Schedule a Global Entry in-person interview

Yes, even babies and kids need to have the in-person interview, but don’t worry: there’s no rough questioning. You can head to the recap below of what our baby’s Global Entry appointment was like.

The hardest part of this phase of the process was using the website to get an appointment. I tried three times, and it didn’t work. I had to have Dan help me. The soonest appointment we could get was three months in the future, so we went with that. Keep in mind you may have to go to an airport nearby to have your appointment at the enrollment center.

Helpful Tip

Where are the Global Entry Enrollment Centers? They are available in all 50 states and some US territories (Guam, DC and Puerto Rico), as well as in international locations of Aruba, Bermuda, Ireland, The Bahamas, The UAE, Canada and Qatar.

Wait for approval via email

Approval comes “within 72 hours” of the appointment, as I was told. This is by email. A Global Entry card will be sent to your home address in 2-3 weeks. (If you’re already a Global Entry traveler, you will know that the card is only requested when traveling into the US from Canada or Mexico).

What to expect at a Global Entry appointment for a child

In the weeks leading up to our baby’s Global Entry appointment, I joked that they were going to ask if she was a good baby and if she could talk.

“Baby, are you sure you are who you say you are?” was one of the questions I joked that would be asked.

When we arrived at the Global Entry office at Newark Airport Terminal B, there was a small waiting area, with a sign that said, “There is no check-in. Please wait until your name is called,” or something of this nature.

We sat down, gave our daughter some snacks, and an official came out to ask the seated people in the waiting area their names and their appointment times. Would you believe that we were taken a few minutes before our designated time of 2:30pm?

At the appointment, an official allowed me to go before some others who were waiting because she knew that time was of the essence with a baby! About three things happened:

  • The official asked for the baby’s passport.
  • She asked for my driver’s license to verify our home address.
  • She took a photo of our daughter with a camera behind the plexiglass window.

That’s it. Hopefully the staff will be nice like the staff who handled our appointment, and understand that with a baby or child, time is limited before fuss.

What to bring to the baby’s Global Entry appointment (interview)

This was a big question I had: What do I bring to our child’s Global Entry appointment?

A week beforehand, I made myself a calendar reminder for the night before the appointment, to get all the documents together. I wanted to avoid the previous scramble I’d gone through in getting some of the required photocopies of documents, when we worked on getting a passport for our baby.

I put together a folder with our child’s social security card, birth certificate, and her passport, as well as our passports. I also took along all the photocopies of the parents’ passports and drivers licenses — the same ones we had taken to the passport appointment.

Global Entry is different, though. The appointment was very short (3 minutes maybe), and I was asked only for:

  • The child’s passport
  • My driver’s license

So, while I can’t imagine different Global Entry offices are too different, it does pay to have all your prepared documents. In the end, you may only be asked for these two items.

Helpful Tip

I recommend taking your baby carrier so that you can be hands-free. I left our stroller with Dan, so unfortunately I was shuffling our daughter from arm to arm while also digging for her passport and my license. I recommend my favorite carrier, which I talk about in the Baby Tula Explore carrier review.

How many parents need to come to the Global Entry interview with a child?

Only ONE parent is allowed. We both went to the airport with our daughter and at the time we were called in, only one parent was allowed to attend.

This was not a big deal, because, as you can see above, the Global Entry interview for a child mainly asks for the child’s passport and the parent’s driver’s license.

What to expect after a baby’s Global Entry appointment

I asked the official during the very quick appointment when we would receive a confirmation of Global Entry approval, and she said we’d get a notification in under 72 hours.

As it went, our appointment was at 2:30pm and, no joke, the email with the approval came through at 2:40pm, 10 minutes afterward. Let’s just say I didn’t have to stress anymore that we’d be using our child’s Global Entry membership for the first time, four weeks later!

How to get your child’s Global Entry number

By clicking the approval email (entitled “TTP Application Status Change”), you’ll be prompted to sign in to the Trusted Traveler Programs website. From there, go to the Dashboard, and you’ll see that “Global Entry” will be marked in green, as “Approved.”

The membership ID (”Membership Number/PASSID”) is posted right under the green bar, along with the expiration date.

How long is a baby’s Global Entry membership good for?

When does a child’s Global Entry account expire? Just like adults, a baby or child’s Global Entry membership is good for five years. So, make sure to start the renewal process in the months before it expires.

The expiration date will be given when you receive your approval. It will be in the “Dashboard” under “Program Memberships” when you’re logged into the Dept. of Homeland Security website.

When to start using your child’s Global Entry number

You can start using your child’s Global Entry account immediately. For us, this was going to be when we came back from our planned trip abroad, one month after the appointment (so lucky!).

If you’re starting to plan some travel with your little one(s), check out our guide to the best family-friendly travel destinations and we hope it goes well!