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I landed at Miami Worldwide Airport after an exhilarating – and seasickness-inducing – yacht cruise round Cuba in March 2016. Following a chaotic boarding course of at Jose Marti Worldwide Airport in Havana, it was a aid to be again on U.S. soil.
But as anybody who’s traveled internationally is aware of, you could endure the U.S. Customs and Border Safety gauntlet upon your return to America. And the Customs rigmarole may be not less than as maddening because the boarding-process zoo at Havana’s airport.
In fact, I don’t have a get-out-of-Customs-free card, which in all probability doesn’t exist until you’re a high-ranking U.S. official. Nonetheless, I managed to breeze by means of Customs in Miami. How did I do it?
Whereas different vacationers needed to linger in line for what seemed like hours to navigate the Customs maze in Miami, I zipped by means of Customs in a matter of minutes because of International Entry.
And you probably have certainly one of a handful of bank cards in your pockets, you, too, can make the most of International Entry – completely free.
International Entry prices $100 and should be renewed each 5 years. It consists of entry to TSA Precheck, which by itself prices $85 and allows you to bypass airport safety strains at U.S. airports. So for a distinction of solely $15, you get the perfect of each worlds – International Entry and TSA Precheck.
The International Entry 411
Right here’s how International Entry works, in response to U.S. Prospects and Border Safety:
“At airports, program members proceed to International Entry kiosks, current their machine-readable passport or U.S. everlasting resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and full a customs declaration. The kiosk points the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage declare and the exit.”
Talking from expertise, it truly is that easy. For worldwide vacationers like me, International Entry is a godsend.
Amongst their perks, a number of bank cards supply an announcement credit score for the $100 utility charge for International Entry or the $85 utility charge for TSA Precheck so long as the charge is charged to an eligible card.
Playing cards that cowl your International Entry charge
My Platinum card from American Express is likely one of the bank cards that reimburse the International Entry or TSA Precheck charge; sadly, I didn’t have this card after I signed up for International Entry. This perk additionally is on the market by means of a handful of different AmEx playing cards (each client and company variations).
A number of different playing cards credit score your account for the International Entry charge or TSA Precheck charge, together with:
(The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration web site has a list of credit cards that cover fees for TSA Precheck.)
As I famous earlier, you could apply for International Entry or TSA Precheck. As soon as your utility has been reviewed and also you’ve gained preliminary approval, you’ll be invited to schedule an in-person interview at an airport. (Belief me, it’s not an interrogation.)
Should you go the interview, you’ll be granted International Entry or TSA Precheck standing.
Why International Entry is smart for me
Even for those who journey internationally solely annually or so, International Entry is so value it. I actually don’t perceive why any high-flying jet-setter or would-be globetrotter wouldn’t have International Entry in his or her journey toolkit.
What for those who’re not obsessive about getting your passport stamped? Should you’re desirous about making use of for TSA Precheck, then what does it harm to fork over an additional $15 for International Entry? You by no means know whenever you would possibly get the itch to take off to Paris.
In addition to, that call is made far simpler if certainly one of your bank cards reimburses the International Entry utility charge. Primarily, your bank card issuer is handing you an outstanding freebie – a fly-through-the-airport passport. Don’t let that chance fly away.