Applying for Global Entry? Use This Hack to Save Time and Get Approved Faster

No appointment necessary.

For travelers looking to score Global Entry, especially in a time of heightened applications, there may be a way to "skip the line."

Global Entry computers at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the San Francisco International airport

Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which runs Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, and other Trusted Traveler Programs, has warned the agency is “currently receiving a high volume of applications.” When it comes to Global Entry, which allows travelers to breeze through customs, the current processing time sits at 4 to 6 months.

The application process itself for first time applicants can be quite lengthy: travelers must first complete an application online, pay a nonrefundable $100 application fee, undergo a background check, and schedule an in-person appointment, which can be difficult to get.

But for savvy international travelers in the know, there’s a better way: Enrollment on Arrival.

This option, which is available at 65 different airports across the world, allows travelers who completed the first part of their application to skip scheduling an in-person appointment and instead complete the interview when they land in an international terminal — no appointment necessary.

Eligible applicants must already be conditionally approved and must bring a valid passport and a document that provides evidence of residency (like a driver's license or utility bill). 

CBP operates enrollment on arrival centers in international airports in dozens of states along with several international destinations like Canada, Aruba, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, and more.

In addition to the enrollment on arrival option, CBP said earlier this year it would release interview appointment slots for enrollment centers on the first Monday of every month. The agency said this would create more available appointments for first-time applicants.

“Given the unprecedented demand and continued interest in [Trusted Traveler Programs], CBP is at an inflection point, where we must provide consistent, efficient, and accessible processing methods for applicants to select an appropriate enrollment option,” Michael Millich, the Trusted Traveler Programs director, said in a statement. “This includes ensuring a coordinated release of interview appointments on a recurring basis.”

Travelers who need to renew their Global Entry membership may not need to undergo an interview, according to CBP.

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