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My Global Entry sign-up experience

I decided to sign up for Global Entry. I submitted my application on May 9th. I got my Conditional Approval notice on May 17. Immediately went in to schedule my interview at the Portland, Oregon location. The calendar pops up and the first available appointment is on NOVEMBER 16TH.

Ugh.

Oh, and thanks for taking my $100 six months before I can get approved.

Posted by
655 posts

I had no problem signing up for TSA PreCheck a couple of years ago. Very little wait.

The Portland enrollment office at the airport has a large sign indicating they do not do walk-in appointments for Global Entry.

Posted by
2525 posts

Keep checking the calendar for earlier openings. Also, we scheduled our interview on our way through SeaTac Airport as that was the most convenient. Do you have any trips that might offer a possible interview site earlier than your current one? There are two interview sites in Seattle (SeaTac and Boeing Field).

Edit: The actual interview was short and sweet. Are you a terrorist? Nope. OK.

Posted by
928 posts

Eric,
I agree with others to keep checking the site (multiple times a day if you can) because people WILL cancel and you can grab the open spot. I had to change mine 2 or 3 times and once right before the interview so that freed a spot for someone. ATL was super easy, if you happen to be passing through. I waited in the waiting area longer than the "interview" took.
Celeste

Posted by
1886 posts

Eric,
I'll ditto the advice the previous poster gave you. Just keep checking the appointment schedule on line for new availability of appointments.

Our original interview appointments were months out, but by "stalking" the web site a few times each day, I was able to snag appointments such that we were finished with the whole process within a month....start to finish!!

One of the homeland security staff actually recommended I do that, since it is apparently quite common for people to have things happen in their lives that require rescheduling of their originally scheduled appointments. But, the rep warned that for couples to snag earlier appointments, it would likely mean separate dates for each person's appointment, as was the case with us.

If you are somewhat diligent in checking the appointment scheduling site, you'll probably be all finished and good to go within a month or two.

The demand for Global Entry has obviously gone up, as more and more people see the 3+ hour TSA lines on TV, thus the longer waits for the interview appointments. Supply and demand issue, coupled with staffing budgets.

Posted by
21249 posts

First available for us was roughly three, four months out. We just make a point of checking each morning. About a week later found an opening about a week out.

Posted by
8426 posts

Yes, totally agree with the others to keep checking. I applied a couple of weeks ago and was disheartened to see that Boise (only a 6 hr drive) had no appointment til Sept - the exact time I will be traveling. I took one in SLC, then kept checking. Got one in Boise in Early August, then found one in July, now have one in June. I checked yesterday and there was one available for next week but I have a conflict. I have been astounded to see how frequently things pop up. Someone from Seattle area told me to check really frequently and I was shocked at how often things change during the day. Don't think about it when you see a date because they are gone quickly. Truly...check every 15-30 minutes.

Posted by
1970 posts

I was the one who tipped Pam off - and I heard the tip myself on the flyertalk.com forum. We applied on a Sunday, were approved on Friday and had our GE cards on Monday. This was at Seatac. And when we first looked for appointments at Seatac, we were being offered September....and this was just a few weeks ago...in April!

Do keep checking for rescheduled appointments every 10 or 15 minutes and you should have luck.

One other note to the poster who mentioned walk-ins...I did a lot of looking around to see if it's an option. It seems like it's less and less possible. It's outright banned at Seatac. A walk-in guy showed up with us on our appointment day. It was NOT crowded there at all. Three officers processing applications/doing interviews. Four of us there. And they still turned the walk-in away. They said office policy - no walk-ins.

Posted by
1068 posts

I've heard lots of stories about long waits for Global Entry appointments. I don't doubt there are many long waits. However, I used the office at the Portland Airport and only had to wait about 2 1/2 weeks. The linked article was interesting though. The actual interview was painless, quick and the agent was extremely polite. Had my card a few days later. In any event, if you travel much it is worth it.

Posted by
655 posts

Portland is currently a 6 month wait (November).

Posted by
2916 posts

Yes, Mrs EB, the Portland, Maine airport isn't usually crowded. That's because it hardly flies anywhere. I've learned my lesson from the 2 times we flew to Europe from Portland (via Boston and Phil). Now we just take the bus (2 hours) to Logan Airport.

Posted by
6076 posts

Two week wait for appointment at Kansas City site.

Posted by
1328 posts

We had to go to LAX for our interviews. We live 130 miles from LAX and couldn't get interview times together so I took my hubby along with me, as my interview was first. I only had to wait two weeks. I guess I got lucky. Hubby had to wait two months. When I checked in for my interview, I asked if my husband could have his with me, because of distance, and was told "NO"! I asked the agent who was interviewing me if he could also interview my husband. He said no too. A few minutes later, when he verified my address and saw how far we had to drive, he had me go get my husband. We were lucky to have an agent willing to go above and beyond for us while all the time the agent sitting right next to me was the one who said no when I checked in! Loved it!

Posted by
655 posts

Just an update on my Global Entry appointment.

When I applied in mid-May, the earliest appointment was in mid-November. Since then, I've rescheduled several time to earlier dates. I'm currently scheduled to interview on August 9th. I check the website 1-2 times per day and if something sooner is available, I grab it.

BTW, flying into the US from Toronto earlier this week took about 5 minutes. I think I got lucky.

Posted by
928 posts

Mrs EB - you can change locations. As I recall, it's actually a "change" so your old one doesn't drop until you book the new one. Keep checking!

Posted by
8426 posts

Yes, I am in that process right now. After you choose an appointment time you can go back in and click on the Manage Interview Appointment. You can scroll thru the offices and see who has what kind of appointments. It does not cancel you out of your current appointment unless you click to change to a new time. It's very easy. I started checking every 15-30 minutes and after about a week had one at the closest facility to where I live within a decent time frame.

Posted by
655 posts

One more update.

I was originally scheduled to interview on November 16th (the earliest slot available). I've changed several times since then when earlier appointments opened up. This morning, a time on June 7th suddenly appeared so I grabbed it.

Thanks to everyone who advised being persistent in checking the website as time do open up.

Posted by
5689 posts

Hmmm ... we were thinking about getting Global Entry, but with the new automated passport review system we got through SFO in record time yesterday -- maybe 20 minutes. How much faster would GE get us through ?

Posted by
655 posts

I had my interview at Portland International Airport (PDX) today. I arrived a few minutes early. There was one couple ahead of me being interviewed/fingerprinted when I arrived. I was in and out in less than 15 minutes. Obviously the actual interview was a lot easier than getting the interview appointment. All told, it took me about 30 days to get approved once I submitted the application. That was only possible, however, by frequently monitoring the GOES website to see if earlier slots opened up. I was originally scheduled for a mid-November interview; as I mentioned previously, I changed my appointment 3 or 4 times to earlier dates before the one today opened up last week.

I believe the Customs Officer said I would receive a card in the mail in 5-7 business days. Your membership number provided on your initial application approval should be valid immediately.

Posted by
655 posts

I used my Global Entry access for the first time on Sunday coming into Philadelphia from Madrid. It worked great.

I was in the back of the A330 and therefore was one of the last off the plane. The regular passport control line was pretty long but the Global Entry kiosks were empty. I was in and out in about 3 minutes.

Posted by
9 posts

I've been reading all the posts regarding Global Entry. I recently applied for GE, and received my conditional approval today. When I tried to schedule my interview at Phila International Airport, the website displayed the message that "currently there are no available appointments at this enrollment center......" No appointments? Ever? What do I do now? Is my only option to travel a much greater distance to another center? I don't even have the opportunity to monitor the Phila schedule for cancellations. Does anyone have any advice? I am traveling to Europe in less than three months. Thanks.

Posted by
1624 posts

Hi ba.quinn, my advice would be to schedule an appointment at another site but keep checking for availability in Philadelphia. Maybe they're backed up but I can't imagine that Philadelphia wouldn't have any appointments ever. It would be a shame to have paid the $100 then not be able to use it for your trip this year.

I am currently waiting for my interview. My "local" office in Cleveland had appointments at the end of September. I was able to reschedule at another site for the end of July. It's about a 90 minute drive but I figured it was worth it to get it done. Good luck!

Posted by
506 posts

I have friends that traveled to Dallas from Houston or Houston to El Paso to get their GE finalized. Good thing is that once your GE is complete renewal is almost a non-event. I think places like Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles etc. which are major ports of entry seem to have a longer wait time for whatever reason.

Ed

Posted by
8426 posts

ba.quinn - I agree with the advice to sign up somewhere next nearest to you and then obsessively keep checking the times available at Philly. I had a similar thing happen when I signed up. Nothing was available in Boise (closest center) so I signed up in SLC. Valerie on this forum encouraged me to keep checking and I just kept the page open and checked every 10-15 minutes when I was on the computer, lol. I eventually got an appointment in Boise for August, then found one for July, then found one for June. I went last week and got it done. If you see an appointment you have to jump on it because it will be gone immediately.

BTW, once you have your appointment ~anywhere~ you will be able to look at ALL the centers to see who has appointments.

Posted by
927 posts

I have an appointment in Philly for the end of August - after my July trip. I made the appointment about 3 weeks ago. When I checked today, I got the same message baquinn did - nothing available. Maybe they are just winding down for July 4 - meaning not updating available appointments till after the holiday.

I will hold on to my August appointment but will also take the advice of checking in frequently for random openings. It's like trying to get Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets!

Posted by
1970 posts

Pam speaks the truth about checking every 5 or 10 minutes. That's how we got appointments two days later instead of 6 months later!

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks so much for the responses everyone. I checked the Philly center again a day later, and lo and behold a calendar popped up showing availability for appointments in October. At least then I could monitor the dates---checking several times a day as recommended by posters on this forum. I found an interview date in September, and today, there was an August date open---I jumped on it. Problem solved!

Posted by
18022 posts

Does any one but me find it suspicious that last year they admitted that Pre-check signups were not as numerous as expected, then suddenly the TSA lines get really long and everyone's rushing to get Pre-check?

Posted by
1624 posts

Hi everyone, I had my Global Entry interview today and wanted to let you know that it was quick and painless! I arrived 45 min early and they took me right away. The officer was very nice. She asked why I was applying for Global Entry, looked at my passport, and took my photo and fingerprints. I was out and approved in 10 min.

Posted by
186 posts

I picked a 1:15 appointment time. Around 10 am that morning, I logged on to make sure I didn't forget anything and horrors! my appt. was cancelled because I was a "No Show". I didn't know Global Entry at SFO uses a 24-hour clock and my appt. was at 1:15 am, not 1:15 pm as I thought.

I couldn't access their website either to reschedule because the system was down.

So I drove to SFO anyway hoping to talk to somebody. The walk-in sign up list for the day shift was already full. So I went back at 8 pm, was first to sign the walk-in list and waited about 2 hours. The interview went fine, took maybe 10 minutes.

Other than this stupid oversight I made about the appointment time, the entire process went pretty smoothly and I got my card in about 7 days. Whew. I'm so glad that's done.

Posted by
16 posts

I'll add my experience to the mix, as well.

SFO was also my airport of choice since I live in the Bay Area. I signed up in March of this year, went to schedule my interview appointment and the earliest one was in August. UGH! Ok....so I checked Las Vegas (since I travel there often to visit family), and it was almost as bad.

However, I also heard the tip about checking back for cancelled apps that were now available. Luckily, after a month of checking, I found one for July 10th at 10:45am. No problem. In the meantime, I had received my Conditional Approval and the waiting game began. Once the day arrived, I made sure I was there early. My name was confirmed on the appt list, sat down, gave the agent my passport and drivers license, answered a few questions about travel, my current address, etc, smiled for the camera, finger printed. Done. My final approval email arrived later that day; Global Entry card arrived about a week later.

Note: The card is NOT your primary identification for this program...your KTN (Known Traveler Number) is. The card is to be used for land and sea entry into the US, but not at the kiosks....and I read that they come in handy in case the computer system is down. And it can be used at TSA security checkpoints as valid Federal ID. This information can be found here.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification

Posted by
524 posts

I will jump on board with my experience! June 19, my husband and I applied for Global Entry. On July 9, we got our Conditional Approval. I immediately logged into the system to make an appointment. There were none available until Oct. I wanted us to have the same day, for convenience, so made our appointments for Oct 4. I kept checking, but there were never any earlier appointments. Then, my husband (not me) got email notification about available appointments. I checked and there were dates open in July and August. I chose August 2.

A couple days before the appointment, I (not husband) received an email reminder. We were early, and it was crazy busy. There were, at least, 20 people sitting out in the hallway. I figured we would have quite a wait. Was I ever wrong! Upon checking in the agent said he would take us next. My husband went first and I could hear him being asked to confirm our address. Then, the agent called me back and we all chatted while he processed us. He mentioned he liked couples, two for the same time as one. We were in and out before our actual appointment.

My neighbor went just yesterday. Hers took less than 6 minutes.

Posted by
10048 posts

I tried using my GE card as ID with TSA. They didn't like that. They wanted wither a DL or my passport. Strange since it's a gov't issued ID and has my photo on it. (Albeit, not a good photo.)

Posted by
1624 posts

I have a Global Entry card but haven't used it yet.

Just to confirm, I enter the trusted traveler number when printing my boarding pass and I will be able to use TSA Pre-Check when departing the US.

Upon returning to the US, I'll use a Global Entry kiosk at the first US airport to streamline customs and immigration.

Do I have this right? Thanks!

Posted by
655 posts

Donna - I think you've got it.

On my recent return from Spain through Philadelphia, I was the only one using the Global Entry kiosk. It went so fast, my bag hadn't been delivered to the carousel yet.

Posted by
1952 posts

We were not able to use the pre check lanes when departing Denver on BA non stop to London nor Chicago non stop to Istanbul on Turkish Air. My understanding is that some airlines recognize and honor GE for pre check and some don't. If I am wrong about this, would someone please let me know? I usually just do what I'm told when it comes to the TSA rules (as unreasonable as they may seem sometimes!).

Posted by
6076 posts

No that's not correct.
from TSA website, "Trusted travel program members who want to participate in TSA PreCheck will need to provide their nine-digit trusted traveler membership number (PASS ID) when making travel reservations or enter the number into their airline frequent-flyer profile."
It can be added to reservations that have already been made when you get it, but you're not supposed to wait until the time of printing boarding passes. If you update your frequent flier profile to add your number, it should be automatic when making reservations.
Its also not the GE card that is important, its the number. Your status is connected to your passport, so the card is not used at airport entry points.

TSA runs the pre- check line. If its on your boarding pass, its already been given to you - not the airlines' call. Sometimes pre-check line is backlogged, unmanned or malfunctioning, in which case they send you through the regular line.

Posted by
1624 posts

Thanks for the clarification. I added the trusted traveler number to my frequent flyer account. Will see if it comes up automatically when I print my boarding pass. Thanks!

Posted by
1952 posts

Thank you for the information, Stan. I was told (by the agents checking passport and boarding passes at security and yes, my trusted traveler number was entered at the time of booking) that British Air and Turkish Air, among others, do not participate in the Global Entry program and thus I am not afforded automatic Pre Check status when I book a trip not connecting somewhere in the US. I appreciate your clarifying this for me.

Posted by
6076 posts

I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking of a situation where a foreign carrier's boarding pass would be the first one presented to a TSA security screener. In that case, I can see where TSA would not automatically authorize the foreign carrier to issue pre-check on boarding passes. I thought the question was implying airlines made the decisions.

I'm no expert on this so maybe someone with better explanation will chime in. I just got my GE last month, and asked the CBP officer a lot of questions about using it. Global Entry and TSA Pre check are two different things run by two different agencies. CBP giving you GE status provides you with a trusted traveler number, that TSA will recognize as making you eligible for Pre-Check. But I see its not a guarantee that a foreign airline has agreed to participate with TSA, from whom the airline has to request approval. GE is just between you and CBP.

I hope I didn't confuse things more.

Posted by
1952 posts

Thank you Stan and Laura. That's about what I was told here in Denver and have experienced in my 2 years of using GE. I appreciate the clarification(s) and the link!

Posted by
1624 posts

Hi, we just returned from Europe a few days ago and I wanted to report back on our first time using Global Entry.

We flew from Paris to Atlanta, arriving just after midnight. The Global Entry terminals were easy to find and easy to use. It took about 2 minutes to scan my fingerprints and take a photo. The machine spit out a slip of paper which I showed to the attendant and was on my way.

Customs and Immigration had special lines for GE and we breezed right through. The only issue was Security. We didn't see TSA Pre-Check so we had to go through the regular line.

Everything went smoothly and it was a great experience. Global Entry offers a great advantage for travelers, at least until everbody else catches on!