In part 2 of the Global Entry process, I’ll cover my experience of going through with the interview process.
Check Your Application for Updates
I didn’t expect to get an application through so quickly and fully expected to wait several weeks more. The first thing I want to touch upon is that you are supposed to receive an e-mail from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) once your application has been viewed and receives a status update. This was not the case for me. I had previously read on other blogs and sites that the notification rate for a status change was about 50/50.
I ended up checking the status of my application once a day about a week after I submitted the application. To my surprise, I was granted a “conditional approval” after only 8 days! If you submit an application it can take up to 70 days to be reviewed. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to be proactive. Once I received the “conditional approval”, I was asked to schedule an interview.
You have a variety of options and locations to pick from. I chose the airport about 2 hours from me as it was the only one in my area. The times may range from 8 am to 11 pm at night and are typically offered 7 days a week. It’s important for you to know when you schedule the appointment that you can change the date and time, but must have an initial interview scheduled in order to do so.
I was only able to find availability about 6 weeks out in June. I took an appointment on a day and time I knew I would be able to make. You will not receive any reminders if you miss the appointment or any confirmation e-mails. I would recommend taking a screen shot of the appointment once you make it on your computer, phone or at least put it in a calendar.
Changing Your Appointment Time
If you do not find a date you are happy with, continue to check back on the CBP website. Appointments become available throughout the day on various days and are constantly changing. I checked the CBP site multiple times a day and was finally able to find a slot for today in the middle of the afternoon. If you see an appointment you want, take it as soon as you see it.
Note that day of cancellations and changes seem to be fairly common and that you may be able to go to your CBP office as a walk in. I saw several people waiting at the airport today waiting for a cancellation in hopes of getting through their interview today.
If you decide to change your appointment, you do NOT want to hit the cancel appointment button on your CBP dashboard or application status page. It will cancel your application! Instead, be careful to hit the reschedule appointment button. Know that you will want to make sure you are able to make the appointment as you again will not receive a confirmation e-mail or reminder for it.
What to Bring With You
The two most important items are going to be your passport and license or state ID card. You are basically already approved when you go in for the interview and they will just want t verify your documentation. Some sites have listed having a proof of address, and printout of your “conditionally approved” status. I was not asked for either or them, however, I was asked for proof of my appointment! I was able to pull this up on my phone.
The Interview Process
For me the entire process took abut less than 10 minutes. I was asked to hand over my passport and my license. The CBP agent verified some information and asked a few questions about my address, employment and future travel plans. Everything was on the application I had submitted a few weeks ago. The CBP agents don’t want to stump you, but just want to ensure you are you.
I was advised of how Global Entry worked and advised I would be taking a photo and asked for fingerprints. The photo is not shown to you and you will be asked to keep a neutral expression. Like your passport photos, I would just wear your everyday clothes or what you travel in. The photo will be on your Global Entry card.
I was advised that I was approved on the spot and would be receiving the card in the mail in a few weeks. If traveling by land or sea, you need to have the card on you for customs, but for air travel, everything is linked to your passport and you can use the Global Entry kiosk to save time.
You receive TSA pre-check with Global Entry. The number for pre-check is what is called a Known Traveler ID. It is the number on the back of the card and not the front. If you also travel to Canada and want to use the fast track immigration line (NEXUS) there, you will need to schedule an interview with Canadian CBP in order to use it.
The card itself if good for 5 years and is linked to your birthday! If you get your approval close to your birthday you will receive an extra year! I would highly recommend considering this if you are close to your birthday. You will be able to renew the Global Entry a year before it expires 1 day after your birthday.
The entire process was fairly painless and smooth. I can’t wait to receive the card in the mail and to be able to start taking advantage of TSA pre-check and Global Entry as soon as I start taking my next trips to France and maybe Anaheim and Hawaii. The hardest part, in my opinion, is just getting the application filled out. Hope this helps you understand what the Global Entry process is like. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions. Until next time, happy travels!