No Appointments? How to Get a Global Entry Interview Faster

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How to Get a Global Entry Interview Faster

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The secret about Global Entry is officially out. It's one of the most powerful tools to get through the airport faster – to skip through security thanks to a TSA PreCheck benefit, then clear immigration within minutes after an international trip.

But getting enrolled in Global Entry can be easier said than done. While federal officials say some travelers can complete the entire process in less than 30 days (and that was our experience recently), backlogs in processing applications can drag out the process for months. As of May 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the average processing time for new Global Entry applicants, start to finish, was 208 days. Ouch.

Long processing times to get signed up – and finding a Global Entry interview to finalize enrollment – have made it a months-long hassle for many flyers. And now it's gotten so bad, that the federal government is practically pleading with travelers to sign up for PreCheck instead.

While you can hit plenty of snags throughout the process, scheduling an in-person interview can be the hardest part. It's the last step to getting Global Entry set up, and finding an interview can be a pain, dragging out the process by months or more.

But don't give up hope. We've got some hints to get Global Entry faster.

 

 

What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that allows you to get through U.S. immigration and customs quickly. It also includes a TSA PreCheck benefit that gets you into a designated lane for security. It's a genuine two-birds, one stone program.

Because this program lets you get through high levels of security quickly, the process for getting approved is a bit more rigorous. It's also more expensive, costing $100 (though that may soon increase to $120) versus TSA PreCheck which costs $85. Enrollment in both programs lasts for five years.

Torn between Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck? Read our guide!

 

Global Entry Interviews
Global Entry Kiosk

 

The signup process for Global Entry is easy enough. You need to fill out an application online that is fairly extensive. You will answer questions about current and previous employment, residences, and more. This application will be submitted for a thorough background check.

Thrifty Tip: Pay for your application with a travel credit card that covers the cost of enrollment – it's like getting Global Entry for free!

After submitting your application, you need to get conditional approval. Once you've got that, you need an in-person interview to finalize your enrollment. From there, you can simply head to the designated Global Entry line when clearing immigration and waltz through in just a few minutes – or less.

Read our full guide to getting signed up for Global Entry for a complete walkthrough!

 

Waiting on Conditional Approval?

On paper, applying for and getting Global Entry is fast and simple. It can take just a week or so. But in practice, it's not always so simple.

After submitting your application, getting conditionally approved is the next step before you can move on to the interview stage. It's a crapshoot, but in some cases, that process can take months. And the pandemic certainly didn't help.

Enrollment Centers nationwide closed in early 2020, worsening a backlog of applications that Customs and Border Protection staff have struggled to chip away at. In the meantime, applications for Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs have surged to record levels: More than 12,000 per day in April 2022, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.

Customs and Border Protection have employed a few different measures over the years to try to relieve the pressure on staff, move applications faster, and open up more interview availability. They've extended the grace period for pending Global Entry renewals to a full 24 months and began offering remote interviews for renewing members – if travelers renewing their Global Entry even require an interview at all.

But still, the stories of travelers waiting three, six, or nine months or more awaiting conditional approval continue. That's not always the case: While there are horror stories about applications sitting in limbo for months, some applicants are still getting conditionally approved in just a few days. It's seemingly random.

Read more: Application to Approval in 13 Days – My Global Entry Success Story

And unfortunately, there's not a whole lot you can do to speed up this conditional approval process. You can try calling the Global Entry information line at (877) 227-5511 to escalate your approval process, but there's no guarantee. And recent reports from travelers suggest that CBP will not escalate an application until the nine-month mark – up from the previous standard waiting time of four months.

Finally get approved? It's time to schedule an interview. And depending on where you live, that can be a challenge. Many times, in-person interview times are months out – if they're available at all.

So how can you get in and get Global Entry faster? We've got some advice.

 

1. Monitor the Schedule Like a Hawk

It's not unusual to pull up the schedule of available interviews around your area and see … well, nothing.

Getting an in-person interview on the books is typically the hardest part of signing up for Global Entry. That's especially true lately, as available appointments have been close to non-existent around major U.S. cities.

For example, here's a look at appointment availability at the Detroit (DTW) airport, where you currently won't find an appointment open until November.

 

global entry interview

 

Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN), Denver (DEN), Atlanta (ATL), and others don't currently have any appointments open until next year at time of publication. At our home airport of Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and many others, there's not a single appointment available, period – not even in 2023.

But keep in mind: Just because there are no interviews available today doesn't mean there won't be any tomorrow. Or even later tonight.

The schedule of available interviews is constantly in flux, as enrollment centers add and subtract slots and other applicants cancel or reschedule. Enrollment centers nationwide seem to add appointment availability around 12 p.m. CST, so it's worth checking mid-day if you're on the hunt for an appointment.

It pays to be vigilant and keep checking back. If you schedule an interview weeks or even months out, don't resign yourself to waiting that long. Keep checking back to the calendar. You may – and often will – be able to slide in even earlier.

 

Enrollment Centers With Current Interview Availability & Support

When appointments do open, you need to jump on them. And while availability is scattered, we're currently seeing some solid Global Entry interview availability at several major airports and enrollment centers in the weeks and months ahead.

Heads up: The Global Entry interview site's filter to find the soonest upcoming appointments or find availability by a certain date doesn't always work properly. Your best bet is by searching airport-by-airport, unfortunately.

These schedules are all current as of publication, though appointment availability can disappear fast. For example, interviews are wide-open from mid-July through September at New York City (JFK) airport.

 

jfk avail

 

Miami (MIA) also has wide-open interview availability from mid-July through the end of 2022.

 

miami global entry interviews

 

It may not be ideal to wait so long, but there's good availability of Global Entry interviews in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) come September. The same is true at both Seattle (SEA) and Chicago-O'Hare (ORD).

 

dfw global entry interviews

 

2. Pay a Service to Find You a Global Entry Interview

If you've struck out finding a last-minute appointment at your home airport, there's a service that can do it better than you ever could.

It's called Appointment Scanner.

 

Appointment Scanner

This service scrapes the entire Global Entry interview schedule 24/7/365, alerting you whenever it finds an appointment at your designated enrollment centers. You can get alerts for up to three locations, including remote renewal interviews via Zoom. Just wait for an alert by email or text, then head out and snag an opening as soon as you get one.

 

global entry interview alert

 

It's not free: It costs $29 for one month of alerts. But if you ask me, it's worth every penny if you're otherwise struggling to find an interview. Consider this:

  • I received an alert for an interview at my hometown Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) airport within four minutes of signing up. Four minutes!
  • I got more than 15 alerts for MSP interviews within just a few days – all for availability within the next two weeks.
  • Since I picked New York City (JFK) as one of my three locations, I also received more than 70 alerts for that airport … in less than 48 hours!

Appointment Scanner is an incredibly powerful tool that can help solve the interview problem for you. Its utility is undeniable.

Read our full review of the Appointment Scanner service!

3. Take a Global Entry Interview Road Trip

Most of the major Global Entry enrollment centers are at major international airports. But they aren't alone.

There are roughly 100 enrollment centers nationwide – and even one in Guam! You can find them in towns big and small, in the center of the country and along the borders with Canada and Mexico, and in Hawaii and Alaska.

So depending on where you live, it could make sense to hop in the car to knock out your Global Entry – and turn it into a weekend road trip, if you can!

For example, you currently can't schedule an interview at our hometown Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP). But you could head up Minnesota's beautiful North Shore, spend the weekend hiking, and pop in for an interview in Grand Portage where the schedule is wide-open all summer long.

 

grand portage global entry interview

 

At five hours, this example is a fairly long drive. But by turning it into a weekend trip, you can get a two-for-one: a short vacation and your Global Entry interview. And there are other similar opportunities like this around the country.

 

4. Or Work it into a Domestic Trip

Pssst … You don't have to do your interview at your home airport.

If you've got some domestic trips coming up, check out the list of enrollment centers nationwide and see what might fit into your travels. Head down to your interview after you land or schedule it well ahead of your departing flight to return home. Or even sneak in during a layover!

Let's say your nearest enrollment center doesn't have interviews available for months, but you're making a trip to Miami. You never know, the interview schedule at Miami (MIA) airport might be wide open.

Check out your travel calendar, go through the list of enrollment centers and see what you could make work.

 

5. Use Enrollment on Arrival

As enrollment centers continue getting hammered, Customs and Border Protection (CPB) keeps touting one of its newest features: Enrollment on Arrival.

 

Enrollment on Arrival

Rather than scheduling an interview, you can simply wrap up your enrollment process when returning from an international trip. It's available at nearly 70 airports, including a few international airports that have U.S. customs pre-clearance like Dublin or a dozen airports in Canada. There is typically a designated lane to finish your enrollment with CPB officers while also clearing immigration.

 

global entry interview

 

Read our full guide to enrolling in Global Entry on Arrival!

The one drawback about this process is that you won't be able to use the TSA PreCheck benefit until after you've completed your enrollment – so you're out of luck when departing on your international trip. But it's an easy way to knock out your interview when getting one on the schedule proves difficult.

 

Renewals Have More Options

Renewing your Global Entry for another five years? That's a whole different story.

You can begin the renewal process starting exactly one year before your Global Entry is due to expire. The application process for renewing is much the same as applying for Global Entry the first time. Barring any major life changes, it should be much easier (and much faster) to get conditionally approved.

But there are a handful of differences in processing Global Entry renewals to keep in mind – and that's a good thing.

  • A Global Entry spokesperson previously told Thrifty Traveler that a “significant percentage of Trusted Traveler Program member renewals” can be automatically approved, meaning they’ll skip the need for an interview altogether.
  • If you do need an interview, Global Entry is now offering remote interviews for many renewing members via Zoom. Availability for these appointments is much, much easier than tracking down an in-person interview – plus you can do it from home.
  • Even if you're stuck in the renewal process, Global Entry now gives members a full two-year grace period. So long as your renewal is pending, that means you've got a full two-year stretch to continue using Global Entry (and TSA PreCheck) beyond the initial expiration date.

 

Bottom Line

It's gotten more and more difficult to get Global Entry in just the last year. But trust us – good things come to those who wait. And if you employ some of these strategies, hopefully, the wait won't be long at all.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

71 Responses

  • Enrollment on arrival does not work when coming in from Dublin, Ireland. This is because C&BP pre screening occurs in Dublin so Customs is bypassed upon arrival in the U.S This is great if you do not want an enrollment interview. This happened in Philadelphia, which we chose because there is no Global Entry interviews available in Maryland, where we live. Turns out there in no Enrollment on Arrival in Philadelphia if you come in from Dublin. There seems to be no reference to this exception on the governments website for C&BP ot TTA.

  • When applying for Global Entry be sure to read the eligibility guidelines. I had no idea when I applied that my 1974 misdemeanor charge of possession of drug (marijuana) paraphernalia (a pipe) would cause an automatic denial of my application. $100 down the drain!

    • It is possible to write the ombudsman’s office and they will review your case and it is possible for the denial to be overturned. I was apart of a “loud party” in college and was initially denied GE, but after writing the ombudsman’s office I was accepted a year later. Worth a shot.

  • I applied for the Global Entry back in July 2019 and I my application is still pending review. Who can I call to get an update on my applications

  • Kyle, My iphone and case were stolen. I had my global entry card in the pocket of the case. I cannot figure out on the website on how to order a replacement. Can you help me walk through this process please? Thank you sir.

    • Mark, you can log into your Global Entry account through the Trusted Traveler Program site: https://ttp.dhs.gov/

      Go to manage membership and request a replacement card. It costs $25. On that front, it’s worth noting that you don’t need your physical Global Entry card – just be sure to enter your corresponding Global Entry/Known Travel Number in your travel reservations. That said, Global Entry cards will function as a replacement for Real ID for domestic flights starting October 2020, so these cards will be nice to have.

  • I currently have TSA pre check expiring in May 2020. I decided to go with global entry and the first available appointment is the end of July. How can I ensure my pre check status stays active while completing the global entry process? I do not want to pay the $85 on top of paying the $100.

    • There is no way to extend your current PreCheck membership until you finish Global Entry enrollment, unfortunately. Your best bet is just to keep checking the interview schedule to see if you can slide in earlier, or try out some of the other tips from this post.

      • My Precheck expires January 2024 but we want to apply for Global Entry now. Will the new KTN given on approval override our existing number or will we then have two different KTNs?
        Also, how long will the Global Entry last…5 years from date of paying fee? Or 5 years from date of approval after interview?

        • You would have two separate KTNs – no issues there, just be sure to update your airline profile(s) with the new number.
          Global Entry lasts five years from date of final approval.

  • Have preapproval for Global Entry since Feb. 6, 2020.
    Can’t get interview appointment online.?
    Boston won’t accept appointments with no explanation. Filed a complaint it says reply in few days?
    It’s over 20 days no response.?
    A message said you’ve 365 days from 2/6/2020 to come for interview.?! It seems the $100 fee is gone. LOL….

  • You cannot reach anyone at the 877 number. That may have been the case in the past, but no longer. There is no option to wait to speak with a representative.

  • Nick, Your idea about trying an international border for the interview is “spot on.” There was no wait in Calais Maine, and I was able to schedule an interview with a relaxing visit to Acadia National Park.

    • Can you explain a bit more about what you did or how you were able to get an appointment/interview at this International Border? Did you make it beforehand or just go there?

  • I have global entry that expired June of 2021. I have applied for renewal in February of 2022. It is now July 2022 and I have not heard anything. Does the 2 year grace period apply if so do I need a new card? Thx

    • Unfortunately, because your Global Entry expired before you applied for renewal the grace period will not apply in your case.

  • I was planning to use Enrollment on Arrival at JFK when coming back from an international trip and the process is worse than being hard to find. Eventually I was just told no one is here to do the interview today.

    • That is very common…or they are just too busy to do it…another common complaint….especially if you are arriving with 6-8,000+ other people when all the flights from Europe land at about the same time .
      happens all up and down the coast… mid-afternoon…crunch time.
      There is a compliment/complaint place on the CBP website if you do a search.
      You can find an address and phone number if you search for CBP Port of Entry as well.

      • I was turned away for enrollemt on arrival at ATL in January and February 2022. FInally paid for Global entry now to text me alerts for my local airport. Worth every dollar! GlobalEntryNow!
        @ GlobalEntryNow on twitter – I signed up for SMS text alerts.

  • I would want to apply for the global entry, but I have a trip to the Philippines in October. Will the trip hinder or affect the application?

  • Once you get an appt is the approval / global entry immediate? How long does it take after everything goes well with the appt?

    • You’ll get formal approval within minutes, giving you access to your KTN online immediately which you can enter with airlines for TSA PreCheck benefits. The physical card (which, in most cases, you never need) should arrive within a week or two.

  • Right now, it shows “No Appointments Available” for DFW Airport. Does that just mean I need to keep checking back, or does that mean there won’t be any at all? I applied Saturday and got Conditional Approval today.

  • Successfully booked a next day appointment for Los Angeles! I saw at least 10 time slots open at 7:30PM PST. Hope someone finds this useful.

  • My husband & I were Conditionally Approved in May 2022. We carried all sorts of documents with us when we travelled to Europe. We arrived back from Europe via JFK in June 2022 & asked to do Global Entry interview upon arrival…nope. It was a no go! They said that there was no one available to do it & that we had to schedule an interview.
    It’s now August & we’re back in our home state, I have been looking daily to try to schedule an interview at MSP with no appointments, not even a calendar, showing up.
    We don’t want to have to attempt to travel again in “hopes” to get Global Entry Upon Arrival when it didn’t work at JFK which is a huge travel hub.
    Anyone else have tricks for getting an appointment at MSP by May 2023? TY!

    • same for us when we landed in Atlanta and cleared customs. the global entry personnel told us we needed to have scheduled an appt. crazy, because that is not what is instructed on the paperwork I printed from the DHS website. This process is…..unamerican.

  • Is there a trick to seeing the appointments for a specific airport? My 2 closest are PHL and EWR. When I select them, they say there are no available appointments. But when I played with the dates, EWR came up with a date in Nov. Unfortunately my app was still pending. Now I’m good to go, but can’t find a date.

    • Virtual are only available for renewals…unless you are/were a member of another Trusted Traveler program (Nexus/Sentri/Fast).

  • For renewal, I was struggling to find a remote appointment as well but I stuck with it for a few days. I just paginated between this month and next month, then back, and I saw the white availability on today’s date. There were 19 slots available today, and I tried to grab the first one available, which is in 40 minutes from now. The system said it encountered an error, so I went back to my dashboard, selected the other next available and voila. I’m scheduled for a remote interview in less than an hour from now. I had been using the next available button for a week or so with no luck. I think you just need to keep a browser open and be persistent, going between the current month and the next month, then back, in order to see the availabilities come up for the current week.

    Also, for first timers, I had my mom tag along on my dad’s appointment and they were both able to attend the interview together in Denver. Hope this helps someone trying to get in soon!

    • Careful…each person needs their own interview slot in most centers…if you do not have your own appointment, there is NO guarantee of being interviewed.

  • I signed up for the TTP account and applied for the global entry program. The application status is in the pending review stage. I see the Membership # / PASSID at top right of the TTP my account page. This ID is different than application ID? What is this PASSID? I thought it will be assigned after the approval.
    Note – I already have TSA Precheck Known traveler number.

  • Folks…please check the FAQs for the program from time to time.At: https://ttp.dhs.gov
    Click on FAQs…then click on All FAQs…lots of good information.
    For TSA information : ww.tsa.gov
    Keep your account information up to date…apply early for renewal (up to 1 year)…stay in the program.

  • I would be careful with Miami. We had a trip at the end of the month to go for our interviews and they got cancelled on us. Something about staffing shortages.

  • Not sure why they keep deleting posts about the apps that help people find appointments…like Global Interview..ttp alerts…globalentrynow…Appointment Scanner
    these things work…people get alerts and interviews with them…get the word out

  • We will be arriving at JFK 3 hours prior to our flight to Dublin. Would it be possible to do our global entry interview before leaving for Dublin or must it be upon return ?

    • If you’re very lucky and vigilant, you might be able to schedule an interview during your layover at JFK … but that wouldn’t be through the walk-up Enrollment on Arrival process. That is only possible upon return – or, in the case of Dublin, while clearing customs in Dublin before returning to the US.

  • JFK told me that they release the new spots at the beginning of the month for the month following next. For example, at the beginning of October, they open up the December spots, and in November they open up the January spots.

    Watching like a hawk is how I was able to get an appointment within a week. I randomly decided to look one day and a spot happened to open so I took it and luckily I could rearrange my day to go.

  • The calendar for Zoom appointments for renewals is all booked until at least 2033, i.e. 11 years from now. I didn’t check any further out.

    • Get the “Global Interview” app, it costs $5, input locations nearest you and wait for the alerts. Have Google Chrome open and ready so when an alert come in you can jump on it and reserve an interview time slot. Best $5 i ever spent!
      I had been waiting for months to see an openings, nada, then i got the info on this app from this website. Got an interview two days out within 8hrs of buying the app. Bag the closest interview you can get then keep trying to rescheduling to a closer date. Thanks triftytraveler.

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