Zoom's takeover of our lives is officially complete: You now may be able to use Zoom for an interview to renew Global Entry rather than head in for another in-person interview. And down the line, you could skip the in-person interview even when applying for the first time.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced this week a pilot program allowing renewing Global Entry members to schedule a remote interview over Zoom in place of going to the airport or another enrollment center. That takes some pressure off travelers with Global Entry who need to renew their accounts every five years – renewing typically (but doesn't always) requires another interview, but scheduling those interviews can be a challenge.
The option for a remote interview is currently only available for select Global Entry members, though it's expected to expand to other federal Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) like NEXUS and SENTRI. And while the federal agency explicitly said Zoom interviews are only available to renewing members right now, they're working on expanding that option to first-timers.
“CBP is currently working through the technical requirements and regulatory process to provide first-time Trusted Traveler Program applicants with access to remote interviews, but for now, remote interviews are limited to renewing applicants for whom CBP has already captured biometrics (fingerprints and photograph),” a spokesperson for the agency said.
Read our guide to Global Entry renewal!
Global Entry is your ticket to get through the airport faster: It's a fast pass through customs and immigration when returning to the U.S. and also comes with TSA PreCheck to get through airport security, making it a must-have as international travel resumes. Membership costs $100 – though that may be increasing soon – and is good for five years.
The problem is actually getting signed up. Longstanding backlogs of applications mean it often takes months to get enrolled, and that was exacerbated by a six-month pause on interviews last year due to the pandemic. It devolved to the point that Global Entry now gives renewing members a full 18-month grace period to continue using their benefits while awaiting renewal.
Renewing Global Entry looks much the same as your first time signing up: Apply, wait for conditional approval, and schedule an interview once you've got the go-ahead to finalize enrollment. You can start the renewal process a full year before your five-year membership is set to expire.
Customs and Border Protection says this new Zoom interview option will be available to conditionally approved renewing members – you'll see the ability for “Scheduling Your Remote Interview” when logging into your Trusted Traveler Program account. To be eligible, you'll also need to have fingerprints on file from your previous application as well as a photo taken within the last 10 years on your account. Oh, and have your passport and valid driver's license or other proof of residency handy, too.
In some cases, you may not need to schedule an interview at all. A spokesperson said “a significant percentage of Trusted Traveler Program member renewals” can be automatically approved, meaning they'll skip the need for an interview altogether. Travelers whose information has changed substantially since their last approval or who haven't kept their Trusted Traveler profile up to date are unlikely to luck out with a no-interview renewal.
Don't have Global Entry yet? Read our guide on getting signed up – and check out the best credit cards that will cover your entire application fee!
This new Zoom interview option should make it much easier (and faster) to renew your Global Entry account. With any luck, the federal government may even expand it to first-time applicants.
I received notice today that my online Global Entry renewal application was approved…exactly one day after it was submitted. Without an interview. Of course, there was no mention of even an approximate date when the new card might arrive. No matter, since the expiring card is now good for another 18 months.
You sure you don’t need to have an interview? I got mine “Conditionally approved” but still need to schedule an interview to finalize the approval.
2-3 weeks is normal…but could be up to 8 weeks
Where did you find an application to fill out? I can’t even find the right link to get one.
My renewal was approved within a day of submitting my app (and on a Sunday). I was also almost a year out from expiration.
My renewal was approved in a day dependent on passing the interview. However, It is impossible to schedule the interview. The system shows all remote dates for the next year “appointment not available”. Hard to believe these zoom interviews are all booked up that far in advance. I emailed them to alert them to this situation and have received no response. In person interviews are similarly shown as not available.
Did they ever get back to you? Looks like next available Zoom is 2025?
Doubt any center has opened ZOOM interviews for 2025…unless it was a typo.
Deceiving. They are NOT booked out that far in advance. But they are also not available, because they have not been opened up to book yet…at least in most cases.
ZOOM interviews? Anybody’s guess. Check 20-30 times…every day…
My app. was approved in 1 day also. No mention of needing a renewal interview. And, there is no
tab to schedule an appt.
It would state that in your account. Conditional approval, is something different. That may
mean you need an interview.
I could not figure out why some need interview and some do not ,two people applying at the same time ,one needs interview for approoval and other gets approoved with out an interview
Variety of reasons…including places you have traveled….quality of photo…quality of fingerprints…past criminal history or Cutoms/Immigration problems. Just to name a few.
If you let it expire…usually have to go in person again…
if they let you skip the last time…back in to get photo/prints to have them more up to date…
I certainly hope not for initial interviews…need to do those fingerprints and scan REAL documents in person…but maybe the scan could be done on a smart phone…or at some place manned by temp/contract workers instead of officers.