How to Apply for Global Entry: From Application to Interview

If you are conditionally approved, you can also take advantage of another nifty offering by the CBP: the Enrollment on Arrival program. The EoA allows Global Entry applicants who are conditionally approved to complete their interviews upon arrival into the U.S., eliminating the need to schedule an interview at an enrollment center. When landing in a participating international terminal, follow the signage to CBP officers, who can complete your Global Entry interview during your entry inspection. And, thanks to recent improvements by CBP to streamline the EoA process, the agency has more than double the interview capacity compared to pre-pandemic figures, according to Lawson. Indeed, if you’re conditionally approved and traveling internationally, take advantage of this option, which the TTP site notes “may offer the fastest path to membership approval for individuals with upcoming international travel.”

Currently, 69 airports offer EoA operation, including several international locations (among them are Ireland, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates, just to name a few); here’s a complete list.

For renewing Global Entry members, here’s a pro tip: As long as you submit a renewal application before your membership expires, you are able to continue to use your Global Entry benefits for up to two years after the membership expiration date, while you wait to complete the renewal process. If you’re having trouble securing an interview slot, check back often—people sometimes cancel their appointments, opening up earlier slots. And keep in mind that smaller airports often have more availability than major hubs.

Ace the interview

Be sure to bring a valid passport and another form of ID, such as a driver’s license or ID card, and print the conditional approval letter from your Trusted Traveler account. You’ll also need documents that show proof of residency, such as a utility bill or rental agreement. (Keep in mind that for EoA interviews, you’ll need to pack these documents before your trip.) Oh, and just a heads up: You’ll be getting your photo taken at the interview, and this headshot will go on your Global Entry ID card.

The good news is that if you’re conditionally approved, you’re almost at the finish line: You’ve already been pre-screened, and your information has been checked by the government. Many of the questions you’ll be asked are ones you’ve already answered on your application, or ones that officials already have the answers to, like: “Why do you want to join Global Entry? What do you do for a living? Where have you traveled in the past five years? Have you ever been arrested, or had an issue at U.S. Customs and Border Protection?” 

Still, take the questions seriously and answer them as you did on your application. It’s almost time to celebrate, for sure, but don’t ruin everything with an ill-timed attempt at humor.

At the appointment—which should last anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes—you’ll also have to provide your fingerprints and, as mentioned above, get your photo taken. Within a few minutes you’ll be confirmed for Global Entry (yay!) and be given a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that you can start using immediately to be eligible for TSA PreCheck. Lawson recommends storing your number in your phone so you always have it handy (like when booking a flight; you’ll need to enter it so it appears on your ticket, clearing you for that oh-so-sweet dedicated line).

An official Global Entry card should arrive in the mail within two weeks, and you’ll need to activate it within 30 days. You won’t have to show this card at the airport, though, as it’s only for land and seaports of entry—at the airport, just stroll up to the Global Entry kiosks and get started.

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

Karen J. Simmons

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