Getting Around The Global Entry Appointment Backlog

Jun 6, 2013

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Lately I’ve been covering Global Entry a lot since it’s such a great travel program that speeds you through customs and immigration as well as giving you a Trusted Traveler ID number that will qualify you for TSA PreCheck.

Dad can use his new card to get his $100 Global Entry application fee refunded.
Dad can use his new card to get his $100 Global Entry application fee refunded.

Plus, if you have the Amex Platinum, Mercedex-Benz Platinum or Business Platinum (or Centurion) cards, the $100 application fee is refunded to you as a statement credit. This fee is even refunded to additional cardholders as well – and the annual fee for up to three additional Platinum cardholders is just $175 ($175 per cardholder after that), so even if two of your friends/family members gets Global Entry you’ll recoup that fee and then some. Or if you have the new Citi Prestige card, you also get the fee refunded, and if you are a United Global Services, Premier 1K or Platinum, United will also refund you.

However, the program seems to be becoming a victim of its own success as more and more applicants are reporting longer and longer wait times for enrollment interview appointments.

LA Times travel editor Catharine Hamm covered this topic on May 29 after she had been conditionally approved for Global Entry, but found out that she would have to wait until August 6 for an appointment. After talking to John Wagner, the acting deputy assistant commissioner for Customs & Border Patrol, she learned that CBP was opening up additional appointment slots at its offices (including at LAX) and Hamm was able to book an appointment for the following week that had opened up.

But you can do more than just rely on luck and cancellations. Remember, if you are conditionally approved for enrollment, you can schedule your interview at any of the interview centers, so even if the one at your home airport has no available slots for a long time, if your travels take you through an airport where there’s another, it’s worth checking to see if they have appointment slots available on or near your travel dates.

If you simply can’t get to another interview center, keep checking back at yours for cancellations. People cancel appointments all the time due to changing travel plans and other reasons, and if you’re diligent, you can snag one of those open slots.

Global Entry is one of the best time-saving travel tools out there.
Make your appointment, but keep checking back to see if ones open up sooner.

Try walking in. Although this isn’t officially sanctioned and some centers will turn you away, as with all things travel-related, it never hurts to try, especially if you’re courteous and polite. One of the reasons random appointment slots open up all the time is that people often schedule these interviews for days they’re traveling, either at their origin, destination or layover, and as we all know, travel plans and schedules change all the time, so although I don’t suggest wishing for people to be delayed or to miss flights (karma will come back to get you!), that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of it when they do to get in a quick interview appointment.

Have any of you had trouble getting Global Entry interview appointments and found a way to get in sooner? Share your advice below!

For your reference, here is the list of 35 enrollment centers, most of which are at international airports including:

Albuquerque Airport ABQ
Atlanta Port Office
Austin-Bergstron Airport AUS
Baltimore/Washington Airport BWI
Boston Logan BOS
Bowling Green Customs House
Charlotte-Douglas CLT
Chicago O’Hare ORD
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport CVG
Dallas/Ft. Worth DFW
Denver Airport DEN
Detroit Metropolitan Airport DTW
Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport FLL
Houston IAH
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport ATL
Honolulu HNL
New York JFK
Los Angeles LAX
McCarran International Las Vegas LAS
Miami International MIA
Milwaukee MKE
Minneapolis St. Paul MSP
Newark Liberty EWR
Orlando MCO
Orlando-Sanford SFB
Philadelphia International PHL
Phoenix Sky Harbor PHX
Portland International PDX
Salt Lake City SLC
San Antonio SAT
San Francisco SFO
San Juan Airport SJU
Seattle-Tacoma SEA
Anchorage ANC
Washington-Dulles IAD

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