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This Service Helped Me Get a Global Entry Interview … in 4 Minutes

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Editor's note: Appointment Scanner gave Thrifty Traveler a free trial to give its service a whirl without any promise or expectation of coverage. We were so impressed that we decided we had to write this story, without any additional input or review from Appointment Scanner.

Global Entry can be an absolute godsend … at least if you can get signed up. But with a huge backlog of applications and travelers stuck in purgatory for months awaiting conditional approval, that's not a sure thing these days. The final step – securing an in-person interview – seems harder than ever.

You can scroll through months worth of availability at the nation's largest airports, day in and day out, without finding a single appointment. So while struggling to snag an interview to renew my Global Entry last week, I turned to a paid service that scans schedules 24/7/365 and notifies travelers whenever it finds a new opening.

I signed up for Appointment Scanner at 9:35 a.m. on Friday. At 9:39 a.m. on Friday, I received a text alerting me to a new appointment available at my home airport of Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP).

That's right: Just four minutes after signing up, I had a Global Entry interview scheduled. Here are the receipts.


appointment scanner alert


At a time when the interview calendar was otherwise blank, I was able to book an appointment just a week later.


global entry interview


Now let's be clear: That's an extreme example – not every traveler will be so lucky. But even as federal officials are practically begging travelers to choose TSA PreCheck over Global Entry due to long delays, my story showcases just how useful this service can be.

Appointment Scanner costs $29 for a month's worth of automated Global Entry interview alerts (it's not a recurring subscription). And while that may seem steep, I know many travelers would gladly pay it for the sake of speeding up the grueling process of finding an interview.


How Appointment Scanner Works

Finding a Global Entry interview appointment feels like winning the lottery lately.

You can pull up the interview schedules at big airports like Phoenix (PHX), New York City (JFK), Newark (EWR) Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), or San Francisco (SFO) and not see an appointment for many months – if any are available, period. You could take a road trip and schedule something at a little-used rural location or hammer out your interview when returning from abroad via Enrollment on Arrival. Both options can feel like a hassle compared to heading to your home airport.

Read all our other tips for snagging a Global Entry interview!

But appointments are added to the calendar seemingly at random (then gobbled up quickly) and other travelers cancel or reschedule, so one of the best ways to get an interview on the schedule is to hop on one of these additions … quickly. You could check back a few times a day, of course, but Appointment Scanner automates that process for you. That's really where this service excels.

After signing up for Appointment Scanner and paying the one-time $29 fee, you can pick up to three airports for which you'll get alerts. I'd recommend picking your home airport as well as any airports you might fly through frequently.

In addition to email, Appointment Scanner also allows you to opt-in for text alerts – and I'd urge you to do so. In my experience, sometimes you'll get a text a minute or two before an email comes through. In the cutthroat race for these appointments, every second counts.

The alerts themselves are fairly simple: You'll see the location, date, and time that an interview slot is available. From there, just quickly head to the Global Entry interview portal, pick your airport, find that date, and book your appointment. Let me repeat: Do it fast.


global entry interview alert


Of course, just how many alerts you'll get will vary from airport to airport. For my home airport of Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), for instance, I've received 15 appointment alerts in just the last five days. All but one of them was for an interview I could schedule within the next two weeks.

Just to scope out the service further, I also added New York City (JFK) to my list. The volume of alerts was almost overwhelming: Appointment Scanner gave me the heads up on more than 70 appointments over the course of less than two days – many for an opening within the next month or so. This is just a small fraction of what I received.


global entry jfk interviews


But you can really fine-tune your alerts to ensure they work with your schedule. Trying to wrap up your Global Entry enrollment before heading off on a big trip? Already got an appointment booked but want to snag an earlier one? You can set an end date for your alerts – though keep in mind that may limit how many alerts you'll get. Only available on certain weekdays? You can factor that in, too.


appointment scanner


There's also an upside for travelers (like me) who are just trying to renew Global Entry. Processing times are generally much faster, though it might still require an in-person interview. But Global Entry has eased the process by giving some travelers the option to interview remotely via Zoom. Just like the in-person interviews, finding availability remains a challenge. I checked the schedule daily for a remote appointment for a few weeks and couldn't find a single slot.

Appointment Scanner has you covered there, too – you can also sign up for Zoom interview alerts. You'll currently have to select specific field offices offering these remote interviews, though Appointment Scanner Founder Derek Feehrer told Thrifty Traveler an upcoming update will allow travelers to receive alerts for all Zoom interviews nationwide.

One important thing to note is that Appointment Scanner isn't a subscription: You pay $29, you get a month of alerts, and then you're done. It won't renew.

Based on my experience over just a few days, I think most travelers should be able to lock in an interview appointment long before the month is up.


Bottom Line

It doesn't solve every single pain point in getting signed up for Global Entry, but Appointment Scanner is hands-down one of the best ways to snag an interview appointment in a hurry. Especially if you've been struggling to find a slot, it could be worth every penny.


Lead photo courtesy of Appointment Scanner

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.

22 Responses

  • I recently renewed my Global Entry online. I was dreading finding an appointment for the in person interview. After filling out the online form and submitting it, the site said l would be notified of the next step. The very next day, I received a notification on their site saying that my renewal was accepted and my new card was in the mail. I received the card about a week later. Overall, it was pretty painless.

    • A select few renewing members are getting approved without interview, period. You’re one of the lucky ones!

      • I signed up yesterday and had my appointment today. It’s insane how many texts I got in a single day. Very happy with the spend

    • On my case I have received MULTIPLE alerts, however, no matter what I do, how fast I’m I can never see the appointment that alert sent me….. really strange….. I tried other airports too just to see if the issue is with my airport, CLT (Charlotte) and the same happened……. not sure if this works but already paid so will keep on trying…..

        • Use a password caddy so you don’t have to even type the login. I easily got appointments for my wife and I in just two days. It wasn’t even hard.

      • Keep trying. Yes, you will see many notifications and the appointments disappear/are booked very quickly. Keep in mind that there are probably thousands of people just like you doing the same thing.

        What I can say is, in my extremely busy market of Chicago, I was able to secure an appointment at the airport vs. the more desirable convenient downtown office location. I had gotten pretty good at quickly logging into the .gov site and perhaps because this was a less desirable site than downtown, I got in. Perseverance and practice is the key!

        And hey, there is a NQA money-back policy, so what do you have to lose?

  • This is disgusting. Why isn’t DHS/Global Entry just working efficiently? It took 4 months to get RENEWAL,wife 4 days. Then NO interview appointments except Texas or Canada border!
    WTF! Why is this screwed up!?

  • In principle, most people who want GE do travel overseas. There are quite a few airports that offer returning travelers an interview on arrival without appointment. This may be the best option for those of us who don’t live near an appointment site. Is the Zoom system even functioning now? I don’t see any option for it when I log in. Of course much of government isn’t functioning competently.

  • I would definitely pay for this convenience. When I got my initial global entry, over 10 years ago, it was a nightmare trying to find appointments. I would literally check daily for cancelations. This would have been a time saver.

  • Am I able to find slots for all members of my family with this monthly subscription or do they all need to pay the fee?

    • You’ll get alerts for the full month of service. Assuming the dates/times for the alerts you receive work for your family members, there would be no problem to use your own service to schedule slots for family members.

      • Do you have to enter “4” appts? I don’t see where you can edit that, unless that means, there are NO more appts other than for the 1 that popped up

  • Found this post when I was freaking out about having to drive to the border just for this interview. Decided to give Appointment Scanner a try since I didn’t want to have to remember to keep checking back multiple times a day. I signed up AN HOUR AGO… Just got a notification and was able to snag an appointment at DFW in November. Totally worth the $30! I am soooo glad I found this before making the trek to the border!

  • This was excellent advice!! I applied for GE before taking our dream vacation/ 20 year anniversary trip to Paris last week. The hotel room was covered for the week due to my Chase Reserve bonus points and my GE application was paid for due to having the Delta Amex platinum card. I quickly got an email saying that I got conditional status. Upon returning from France I was able to get an interview on the spot at the custom and immigration section. Got approved on the spot! Now my spouse is excited about getting their status.

  • The Global Appointment Scanner is amazing. CBP initially told me to do my Global interview when I returned from my international trip. I got an appointment two months prior.

  • I am not receiving any alerts after receiving several in the first 12 hours. Unable to find out why. All alerts amounted to no appointment.

  • This service is 100% worth it- I was able to find appointments for all of four of us at the same time and in a convenient location! Total lifesaver- I was really stressed when I was unable to find ANY interview times, let alone 4 times together!

  • Awesome service, had two interviews lined up in LA within 1 day of signing up. Its a life saver!

  • My family and I were eagerly planning a much-anticipated trip abroad. I like the scanner mentioned but ttptracker.com came to our rescue. This incredible website simplified the entire process, providing us with a seamless experience to find convenient interview slots for all family members. They have free options and we effortlessly located available appointments and were able to schedule our interviews at the Chicago Field Office Enrollment Center. Hope some of you find it useful as well!

  • I get an appointment alert that July 4th has opening. Is that accurate when July 4th is a national holiday? Global entry appointment center opens on July 4th?

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