This month’s ‘Ask Margalit’ section deals with the Global Entry program that the TSA has recently launched in the United States and whether it presents and any benefits for the autism community.
“I’m writing from Ohio. I travel quite a bit here in the US and sometimes abroad. I have a daughter who has autism, and I would love to be able to take her with me on some of my trips, but one of the things that put me off is the long lines and waiting times in the airports. Her meltdowns are not good for her or anybody else. Have you made use of the Global Entry Program? Would you recommend it? I would appreciate any information you have.”
Thanks in advance,
I am glad you asked about the Global Entry Program. The program is entirely suited for special needs families and those with autism benefit.
I wholeheartedly recommend and endorse it.
We have used it for both domestic and international flights for the past two years, and it has improved our travel experience so much!
Instead of standing in the Customs and Border Patrol lines, there are quick self-check kiosks which have been so helpful for our son with autism. It eliminates the extended wait, and if there is any difficulty with the kiosk, there are officers there to resolve them.
What helps us is that we get access to the TSA Pre-check benefits so we don’t have to remove clothing items and can also keep our medicines, electronic goods, and medicines in our carry-on luggage – all things which can contribute to a meltdown. Even during busy times, the lines are shorter.
The price is reasonable and considering that the TSA pre-check program is $85 per person, it made sense to me to pay the extra $15 to have access to both the programs. I wholeheartedly recommend this program for anyone that travels as it saves so much time when you enter back into the US from an international destination.
The process is simple- It entailed an application online, and then in less than a month we received notification via e-mail to come for interviews.
Interviews are scheduled at your local office at your convenience but be aware there might be a wait now that summer vacations are being planned.
The interview process is ten minutes long, and all we needed to do was answer a few questions and get fingerprinted.
Prepare your daughter with autism for that but it shouldn’t be a big deal. A week later we got the email notification that we were approved and a few weeks after that we received the actual card in the mail. Once you are registered in the system you don’t even need to carry the real card but some do as a second form of identification. It is valid for 5 years, and totally worth it if you fly more than once a year.
For us the approval process was very quick.A week later we got the email notification that we were approved and a few weeks after that we received the actual card in the mail. Once you are registered in the system you don’t even need to carry the real card but some do as a second form of identification.
It is valid for 5 years, and totally worth it if you fly more than once a year.
Have you tried the Global Entry program yet?
What were your experiences?