Global Entry Appointments and Interviews: What to Expect

Your Global Entry appointment should take no more than half an hour.
Elina Geller
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson and  Elina Geller 
Updated

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Global Entry 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 lets you use self-service kiosks at immigration when you return back to the U.S from an international trip. These self-service kiosks offer a much quicker process than waiting in a potentially long line at immigration. Global Entry also lets you skip filling out paperwork, which can be helpful for those who frequently travel internationally.

In addition to these benefits at immigration, Global Entry includes a TSA PreCheck membership, a separate program that allows you to get through airport security faster. When you have TSA PreCheck you can go through a designated security lane, which is usually shorter than the standard one. In addition, you don’t need to remove your shoes, or take out your electronics and liquids from your bag.

Applying for Global Entry costs $100, though there are a variety of travel credit cards that will reimburse this fee. Among them:

Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card
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Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card
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Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
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United℠ Explorer Card

Annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Benefit: Statement credit of up to $100 as reimbursement when you charge the application fee for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or NEXUS to the card. Available once every 4 years.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Annual fee: $95.

Benefit: Statement credit of up to $100 as reimbursement when you charge the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry to the card. Available once every 4 years.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Annual fee: $550.

Benefit: Statement credit of up to $100 as reimbursement when you charge the application fee for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or NEXUS to the card. Available once every 4 years.

If your credit card offers reimbursement for the application fee for programs like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, you must pay the fee with the card. You cannot submit a claim for reimbursement if you paid with some other method. Reimbursement will usually appear as a statement credit in your account within two months.

Cards typically offer reimbursement of only one fee once every four to five years. Check the terms and conditions of your card for the specific rules that apply. Note also that these cards only reimburse the application fee for a trusted traveler program. They don't automatically enroll you in the program or guarantee that you'll be accepted by the program. You still have to apply and go through the required screening, which in the case of TSA PreCheck and Global Entry includes an in-person appointment.

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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, your address and criminal history. Most 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 conditionally approved or denied. When it’s conditionally approved, you can make an appointment for your interview.

🤓Nerdy Tip

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 doesn’t have any available appointments. 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 (CBP) website notes that the total process can take anywhere from six to 12 months to complete.

Global Entry renewal appointment

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 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.

Get a reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry with our favorite cards
Check out our nerdy picks for the best cards for travelers that want TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

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 bring to a Global Entry interview

You will need to bring in several documents to your appointment, 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.

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, the officer will ask you a series of questions and you will need to provide the appropriate documents. After your documents are verified and the officer has finished the interview, you will have your biometrics registered, which will include 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.

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.

Global Entry interview and appointment final thoughts

Global Entry and its associated benefits can be useful to travelers who frequently go abroad. 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 automatic enrollment in TSA PreCheck, which will get you through U.S. airport security lines faster as well.


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