A Complete Guide To Global Entry
Guide to Global Entry Part 3 – The Interview & Beyond
The Global Entry Interview Process
Now that you have gone through the lengthy application, it is time to wait. While the website tells you to check back to see if you have been approved, there really is no need. Once your application is reviewed, you will receive an email stating that there has been a change in your account status. This most likely means that you have been conditionally approved. It took four days from submitting my application until I received a conditional approval.
After you receive the email, simply go to the GOES website and login to your account. At that point you should see your “Conditional Approval Notification” which is a digital copy of the letter you will receive in the mail. It states that you have been conditionally approved pending the interview.
Scheduling The Interview
Unfortunately my screenshots for scheduling the interview were corrupted and I have no way to go back and get them. On the main login screen you will also see a blue button titled “Schedule Interview”. Click on that and you will be taken to the scheduling system.
The first thing you will need to do is choose an airport at which to do your interview. Some airports have almost immediate availability, while others can be several months out. If you have any upcoming travels, it may be a good idea to check both your local airport and any others that you will be visiting. The wait time in Las Vegas was only about two weeks, while several other cities I checked like San Francisco, had two to three month waits.
Once you have selected an airport, a calendar will appear with the first available appointments. Each appointment is scheduled in a 15 minute block and you are expected to be there on time. Make sure to account for parking and transport since you may have a long wait if you miss your appointment.
The Actual Interview
The paper I was given gave me exact instructions on how to find the office. Thankfully the interview office in McCarran is about as easy to find as it gets. I was told to bring my passport along with proof of residency. In reality, the only thing I was asked for was my passport.
When I arrived, there was no sign in sheet or receptionist. There was a sign on the wall instructing interviewees to sit in the waiting area until they are called. My interview was scheduled for 8:30am and the officer called my name on time. My wife and son did their interviews two days later and despite their interviews being scheduled 30 minutes apart, they were both called in together.
While I was expecting a slew of interview questions, the reality was far from that. I was asked what I do for a living and if I had any upcoming travel plans. My wife reported being asked the exact same questions and they didn’t even ask my son anything other than where he has traveled.
In regards to upcoming travel plans, they wanted to know if they were personal or business related. From start to finish, the interview took 2-3 minutes before the officer took all of my fingerprints digitally and explained how to use the Global Entry kiosk. Once that was completed he said I was approved for 5 years and I was on my way. From beginning to end, the entire process took 20 minutes including parking!
Almost immediately after leaving the interview you should receive another status change email from GOES. This time when you login it will show your approval. The Global Entry card comes in the mail a few days later, although it really is only useful for certain overland border crossings.
To use Global Entry when returning to the U.S. via air, you simply need to take your passport to one of the kiosks, swipe it, answer the customs questions and place your fingers on the glass to verify your prints.
When the process is completed a receipt will be printed out complete with your picture! (Note: That is how I look after a 10 hour redeye flight from Chile in AA coach!) Hand the receipt to the customs officer on the way out and you are done. Definitely better than waiting in those hour long immigration lines!
I believe Global Entry is well worth the $100 fee for 5 years although I didn’t pay anything thanks to my American Express Platinum card. My family and I recently used it for the first time on our way back from South America and it couldn’t be easier. We also get Precheck on all of our domestic flights, so flying has become slightly less complicated.