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Are you tired of waiting in lines at the airport? Whether it’s the line for security or the lengthy queue for immigration, no one likes to waste their time standing around. One way travelers can help remedy this problem is with Global Entry.
This program provides an expedited immigration process when returning to the U.S. as well as reduced wait times at security checkpoints when entering the airport.
Here's a look at the Global Entry application process, how long it takes to get an appointment and what to expect during your interview.
What is Global Entry?
A part of the U.S. government’s Trusted Traveler Program, Global Entry grants you the ability to use self-service kiosks at immigration, thus reducing waiting time. It also allows you to skip out on filling out paperwork, which can be helpful for those who travel internationally frequently.
Global Entry also includes TSA PreCheck membership, a separate program that allows you to get through airport security more quickly. This is accomplished with a separate travel lane, the ability to keep your laptops and liquids in your suitcase, keeping your shoes on and the use of a metal detector rather than a body scanner.
Applying for Global Entry costs $100, though there are a variety of travel credit cards that will reimburse this fee.
How long do Global Entry appointments take to schedule?
Applying for Global Entry is an extensive process. You’ll need to fill out the online application, which includes questions about employment, past travel, and address and criminal history. Most of these questions require you to go back at least five years, so be sure to have all of your information available before beginning the process.
After you’ve submitted the application, the review process begins. During this time, your information will be reviewed and verified.
You’ll receive an email letting you know when your application status changes, either to be conditionally approved or denied. When it’s conditionally approved, you’ll be able to make an appointment for your interview.
You have 730 days from your conditional approval to make and attend your interview, otherwise, your application will be canceled.
So how long will you wait for a Global Entry interview? The availability of appointments varies according to your location. It’s possible that your local center won’t have appointments available at all; in this case, consider taking advantage of Enrollment on Arrival.
This program allows you to complete your interview at specific airports when returning from an international trip — no appointment is necessary.
Otherwise, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, website notes that the total process can take anywhere from six to 12 months to complete.
» Learn more: How to skip lines at the airport
Global Entry appointments for renewals
Once you have been approved for Global Entry, your status is valid for five years. After this, you’ll need to renew your membership to continue in the program. To do so, you’ll complete the same application and add in anything new that has taken place since you were originally approved, such as recent international trips or a change of address.
You can begin your application for a renewal up to a year before your Global Entry status expires. While the renewal is processing, you’ll still be able to take advantage of your Global Entry benefits — even if your status expires. The current grace period extends 24 months after the original expiration date.
Not everyone who renews will need an interview; they may just be granted approval. For those who do, you have the same opportunities as first-time enrollees. Either make an appointment or use Enrollment on Arrival to complete your interview.
CBP is operating a pilot program for renewals that require interviews. Select travelers will be able to schedule remote interviews online, which will take about 15 minutes to complete.
» Learn more: Known Traveler Number — what you need to know
Global Entry interview process
Whether you’ve made an appointment or chosen to enroll on arrival, there are a few things you’ll want to be aware of when it comes to your interview.
What to expect in the Global Entry interview
The interview is an opportunity for a CBP officer to further verify your information. During this time, they’ll ask you a series of questions. You’ll also need to bring in several documents, including your passport, proof of address and a secondary form of identification.
The Trusted Traveler website may also have instructed you to bring in additional documentation, such as court documents or a change of address notification. You’ll need to have these with you as well.
Once the officer has finished the interview, they’ll register your biometrics, including taking a photo and scanning your fingerprints.
Global Entry interview questions and answers
Since all of your information will be verified prior to your appointment, the interview itself typically isn’t overly difficult.
So, how long is the Global Entry interview? The time it takes will differ depending on the information you’ve provided.
Here are some of the questions you may be asked:
Why do you want Global Entry?
Who is your employer?
What is your job?
Have you ever had your fingerprints taken as part of an arrest or incident?
Have you ever had issues with customs or border patrol?
You’ll also want to have your application information on hand, such as your past five years of travel, work history, proof of address and basic biographical information.
» Learn more: How to make this summer’s travel less bad
How long does a Global Entry interview take?
It shouldn’t take more than a half hour and may be as short as five minutes.
After all, you’re already conditionally approved — the officer just needs to ensure all your information is accurate.
If you’re interested in Global Entry
Global Entry and its associated benefits can be a boon to travelers, especially those who frequently travel internationally. Although the process can be exhaustive, it’s worth completing the application and attending your interview.
Those who successfully enroll in Global Entry will be able to access dedicated self-service kiosks at select airports, thus expediting their return back to the U.S. and avoiding long lines at immigration. Other benefits include the ability to skip paperwork and enrollment in TSA PreCheck, which will get you through security lines faster.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card