A Guide to Global Entry Walk-In Appointments

Walk-in appointments are available to those arriving from an international trip who've gotten conditional approval.
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 

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No Global Entry appointments available? This is heard all too often. It can be tough to schedule a Global Entry appointment at a facility that is convenient for you, and in some instances, it can require waiting months. Some travelers try to schedule an appointment at an airport enrollment center with a flight they are taking, but even finding one that fits your schedule can be challenging.

The Enrollment on Arrival program, then, can be convenient for those who want to complete some of the formalities at the airport after an international trip. It's not as convenient as it sounds though — you must have already enrolled online and received conditional approval to be eligible for the Global Entry interview walk-in option. Of course, you'll also need to be arriving from a flight abroad, but at least you can complete the interview without an appointment.

It is possible to handle the Global Entry walk-in interview on arrival if you plan. Here's what you need to know to be well-prepared for it.

What is Global Entry?

Created by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, this program assesses low-risk travelers and provides them with expedited access through immigration at airports and other border patrols. It is a great way to avoid waiting in long lines when entering the United States. There is a $100 enrollment fee, but there are ways to have that reimbursed (which we will get into later).

To apply, one must complete an online form and attend an in-person interview. It can take around three months for some records to be reviewed, as a thorough background check is conducted. Once approved, Global Entry is valid for five years and includes TSA PreCheck, which is helpful even when traveling domestically. The latter means you won't have to remove shoes or laptops when passing through domestic security screening points.

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Who can get a Global Entry walk-in appointment?

You must complete a few steps in advance to be eligible for a Global Entry walk-in appointment. For starters, you must have completed the application online and have received conditional approval. Without this vital step, you won't be accepted for a Global Entry walk-in appointment.

The online form is lengthy, and it may not even be worth it for occasional international travelers who could benefit just as well from a program like Mobile Passport. But, if you regularly travel overseas, spending the time and money to apply for Global Entry can be worth it.

Where to find walk-in appointments for Global Entry

You cannot walk in for a Global Entry on arrival appointment unless you are just arriving from an international trip. Since it is a walk-in visit, an interview is not guaranteed if there is a long line, but it's worth a shot to try and get an earlier Global Entry appointment.

Here's a complete list of domestic airports that offer Global Entry walk-in appointments (subject to availability).

  • Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC).

  • Fairbanks International Airport (FAI).

  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

  • Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

  • Oakland International Airport (OAK).

  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF).

  • San Diego International Airport (SAN).

  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

  • Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT).

  • Orange County Airport (SNA).

  • Denver International Airport (DEN).

  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

  • Miami International Airport (MIA).

  • Orlando International Airport (MCO).

  • Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB).

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

  • Honolulu International Airport (HNL).

  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW).

  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD).

  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND).

  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).

  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).

  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI).

  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW).

  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP).

  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI).

  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).

  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF).

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

  • McCarran International Airport (LAS).

  • Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO).

  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).

  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

  • John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH).

  • Portland International Airport (PDX).

  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

  • Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU).

  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS).

  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).

  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT).

  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC).

  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

  • General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee (MKE).

You can also complete your application at certain international airports in Aruba, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, the Bahamas and the United Arab Emirates.

What to bring to Global Entry interview

Whether you schedule an appointment in advance or walk in for an interview after an international trip, the interview must be completed within 365 days of the online application.

There are three important things you need:

  • A valid passport.

  • Proof of residency, such as a U.S. driver's license, utility bill or mortgage statement. (Also, carry your permanent resident card if applicable.)

  • Proof of conditional approval after completing the online Global Entry application.

How to get an even earlier Global Entry appointment

If you don't plan to travel internationally soon, keep checking on the Global Entry website, as new appointment openings can pop up anytime. Also, people may cancel their appointment, and their old time slot might be convenient for your schedule.

How to get your Global Entry fee refunded

A number of popular travel credit cards refund the fee for expedited security programs such as TSA PreCheck and Global Entry if you pay the fee with the card. You can use this benefit for yourself, or you can use your card to pay for someone else. Depending on the card, the credit is valid once every 4-5 years, so you can't use it yearly. Since Global Entry is good for five years if approved, it shouldn't be much of an issue. 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.

Especially notable is the United℠ Explorer Card with an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95 each subsequent year. This means you could apply for the card and take advantage of the fee waiver without paying anything.

Global Entry walk-in appointments are possible

If you play your cards right and come prepared after arriving from an international trip, it is possible to complete a walk-in interview for Global Entry enrollment. It can save you time from hunting down an appointment slot and have you on your way to expedited immigration and TSA PreCheck benefits in no time.

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