How to Get a Global Entry Interview Appointment Faster – Zoom Calls & In-Person Advice for New Applicants & Renewals in 2023
I highly recommend Global Entry for both frequent and non-frequent travelers. It expedites the process of clearing customs when returning to the United States. Additionally, it includes TSA PreCheck, which usually means an expedited and easier process going through security.
Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security says the entire approval process may take 6-18 months. On average, it says it will take 4-6 months. With travel returning to pre-pandemic levels, many people are applying and there is a backlog. For some people, the longest part is the conditional approval process. For others, it is scheduling an interview.
Here are ways to get a Global Entry interview appointment faster.
Table of Contents
What is Global Entry? How Much Does it Cost?
Global Entry is a trusted traveler program allowing pre-approved travelers to get through customs more quickly when returning to the United States. The program and its features have changed a bit in recent years (there is now a Global Entry mobile app), but its purpose remains the same.
Instead of waiting in the customs line, you go straight to a Global Entry kiosk. After scanning your fingerprints or eyes, you may or may not have to fill out a digital customs declaration form (I have not had to recently). After completing the process, you may have to briefly talk to a customs agent. If not, head straight to baggage claim.
It costs $100 to apply and memberships last for five years. Global Entry members can also use TSA PreCheck (by entering their PASSID, or Known Traveler Number, when booking flights), which costs $78 for five years.
Signing Up & Waiting for Conditional Approval
To get started, go to the Trusted Travelers Programs website. Find Global Entry under the Choose a Program to Get Started heading. Click it and follow the prompts to create an account. Fill out the application, and pay the $100 fee. Before paying, see if you have a credit card that includes Global Entry reimbursement.
Unfortunately, the easy part is over. Now you have to wait for conditional approval. This process can take a few days, or it can take one year or longer. I received conditional approval in less than a week. The Vacationer’s Eric Jones did not receive conditional approval until nearly a year after he submitted his application.
He called the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s contact number (877-227-5511) several times, but they were not helpful. Regardless, I recommend calling if it has been a few months since submitting your application. Every applicant is different, and they may be able to expedite your conditional approval. You can also try emailing the CBP by clicking here.
Scheduling an In-Person Interview
After being conditionally approved, new Global Entry members must complete an in-person interview with a CBP officer. Those renewing also have the option to complete an in-person interview, but it may not be necessary (more on that later). Unfortunately, it is often very difficult to find an open appointment slot at an airport near you.
Here are tips for securing an in-person interview more quickly.
Check the Appointment Schedule Daily
To begin, go to the TTP’s appointment scheduler. Select your nearest airport. One of three scenarios will happen.
- You will find and schedule a desirable interview time at your nearest airport
- It will say “no appointments available for this location”.
- The next available slot is many months in the future
If you are not able to find a desired appointment time, I recommend checking the schedule multiple times per day. Due to cancellations and other factors, new appointment times are usually added daily. When booking my interview, I found new times were usually added in the morning and at night, but there is no hard rule.
After being conditionally approved, it took me around a week to find an appointment at my local airport. It ended up being two weeks away, and I was only able to book it because I checked the schedule multiple times per day.
The Vacationer Tip – Use Appointment Scanner
You can also use the Appointment Scanner app. It provides text and email alerts when Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS appointment slot open up.
Consider Other Nearby Airports for Appointments
Interview availability is extremely limited in some regions of the country. Unfortunately, that may include your nearest airport. I recommend checking other nearby airports. For example, my local airport is Philadelphia International Airport. Before booking my appointment, I checked the times at Newark Liberty International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Luckily, I was able to find a good slot at Philadelphia International Airport, but I would have made the drives to Newark, NJ, and Arlington, VA.
Check Airports You May Be Flying To
Do you have a vacation or work trip coming up? If so, check the appointment schedule at the airport you will be flying to. There is a real chance you find availability and can interview upon landing or before leaving.
Enrollment on Arrival for International Travel
Do you have an upcoming international trip? If so, consider taking advantage of Enrollment on Arrival. It allows conditionally approved Global Entry applicants to complete their interview after arriving back in the United States. No appointment is necessary, but make sure your arrival airport offers Enrollment on Arrival. Click here to see a current list.
Here are a few important details for those considering Enrollment on Arrival.
- You must be conditionally approved.
- You must land back in the United States at an airport offering Enrollment on Arrival.
- You must have your passport, permanent resident card (if applicable), and proof of residency.
Those Renewing Have it Easier
Global Entry memberships last for five years, but you can begin the renewal process one year before the expiration date. The CBP says some people may not even have to complete an interview when renewing. It is impossible to know whether this will be the case until you complete your renewal application and pay the $100 fee, however. Assuming you are not exempt from the interview, here are your options.
- In-Person Interview
- Enrollment on Arrival
- Zoom Interview (only available for renewals)
Scheduling a Remote Zoom Interview (renewals only)
The process of scheduling a remote Zoom interview is usually easier than scheduling an in-person interview. It is also better since you do not have to go to the airport.
After your renewal application is conditionally approved, log in to the TTP website and find the section that lets you schedule an interview. You may see the following options (not everyone is eligible for a remote interview at the time).
- Remote Interview
- In-Person Interview
Select the Remote Interview option and select your time. For the interview, ensure your computer or other device has a working microphone and camera. During the interview, make sure you have your passport, permanent resident card (if applicable), and proof of residency on hand.
Only those renewing who are 18 and older are eligible for remote interviews. Additionally, you must have already submitted fingerprints to the CBP. Finally, you must have a photo on file with CBP that was taken within the past 10 years and after the applicant was 14 years of age.
Should I Just Apply for TSA PreCheck?
Due to the long wait times, the Department of Homeland Security recommends that non-frequent international travelers apply for TSA PreCheck instead. TSA PreCheck costs $78 for a five-year membership for new members (those renewing can get it for only $70). Average appointment wait times are less than two weeks, so it is a much quicker process.
TSA PreCheck is a fine option for those who do not plan to travel internationally. It is a great service for domestic travel, and I highly recommend it. For those who do plan to travel internationally, I still think Global Entry is the way to go. While appointments are tough to come by, our advice detailed in this article should expedite the process. Additionally, it includes TSA PreCheck, which is one of its biggest benefits.
The Global Entry application fee is $100 for a five-year membership.
Those who are conditionally approved can complete their Global Entry interview in the following ways:
2. Enrollment on Arrival (after arriving back to the United States from an international location)
3. Remote via Zoom (renewals only)
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to expedite the process of getting conditionally approved. If it has been more than a few months, you can call the CBP at 877-227-5511.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
While it may take a little work, you should be able to secure a Global Entry interview appointment within a reasonable timeframe. You should check the schedule multiple times per day and consider using the Appointment Scanner service. Check your upcoming trips and look into scheduling at other airports you may be going through. If traveling internationally, consider doing an Enrollment on Arrival interview since you do not need an appointment. Finally, consider a Zoom interview if you are renewing.
Get The Vacationer Newsletter
Get highlights of the most important news delivered to your email inbox