How long does it really take to get a Global Entry interview appointment?

Oct 28, 2019

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Since we first were approved for and received shiny new Trusted Traveler numbers years ago, Global Entry and PreCheck have literally changed how my family travels. We don’t spend nearly as much time at the airport as we used to and we often wait longer in the airport Starbucks line than we do to clear security or reenter the country. While waiting in a non-expedited line at the airport is never a fun task, it feels especially torturous after years of not having to deal with that particular annoyance of travel.

But, time flies, and this is the year that basically my whole family has to renew our Global Entry memberships. The exact renewal date is tied to birth month, so my husband drew the short stick of being first up in our crew for this round of renewals. He applied for his renewal a month or two in advance of the expiration date earlier this year, and it took a full 100 days until he was even able to get approved for an interview. Sadly, it’s not just him. That long lag time is normal at the moment.

Guide: How to renew your Global Entry membership

Not everyone has to undergo an interview at the time of Global Entry renewal, but if the system says you have to, there’s no getting around it.

Related: 13 Things to Know About Global Entry

(Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

How long does it take to schedule a Global Entry interview?

After over three months, my husband eventually got the green light that he was conditionally approved to renew his Global Entry and could schedule the in-person interview. However, the next available Global Entry interview where we live in the Houston area was … never. There were literally zero Global Entry interview appointments available at any Houston location for as far out as the schedule went into 2020.

This inability to schedule an interview anywhere at all remotely close to such a major hub got me curious, and I went on the hunt for how long it takes to get a Global Entry interview appointment in locations across the country. The length of time it takes to get a Global Entry interview currently ranges from almost immediately to not being able to schedule one at all.

Here are some specific time frames for scheduling a Global Entry interview as of Oct. 28:

Location Next Global Entry Interview Date
Atlanta Oct. 28 and then none
Austin Jan. 28
Blaine Nov. 1
Boston April 2
Chicago Jan. 21
Dallas – Fort Worth None available
El Paso Nov. 16
Honolulu March 13
Houston None available
Indianapolis None available
Miami Oct. 28 – great availability
Orlando None available
Las Vegas Nov. 13
London Nov. 13
Los Angeles International Airport None available
Los Angeles – Long Beach Nov. 18
Newark Dec. 13
Philadelphia Feb. 5
Salt Lake City April 16
San Francisco None available
Seattle None available
US Custom House (Lower Manhattan) Jan. 6
Washington Reagan National None available

Why is it taking so long for a Global Entry interview?

We know that some Customs and Border Patrol offices have had their staff redirected to the U.S./Mexico border, which is likely contributing to the shortage of available Global Entry interview appointments. TPG has reached out to Customs and Border Patrol for additional information regarding the current delays. But regardless of cause, the reality is that residents of some pretty major swathes of the country, including Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco and more, simply cannot make a Global Entry appointment right now.

In some cases, there is a reasonable alternative Global Entry interview location that is at least available for scheduling, but that’s not true everywhere. There are entire states that do not have any Global Entry interview appointments available on the calendar.

Related: Have Your Credit Card Pay for Global Entry

Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy

Tips when you can’t get an interview

If you have an international trip on the books before you can complete a scheduled interview, you might be able to get an unscheduled interview upon arrival back into the United States if you already have conditional approval.

Outside of that situation, consider alternate interview locations. This may be an alternate location in your same general area, or it may be a location you will pass through on your upcoming travel. Right now, Miami has very good availability for scheduling an interview, in case that city is part of your upcoming travel plans.

In our case, my husband was going to make the drive from Houston to Austin to get an interview, but at the last minute, one became available inside the terminal in Houston at a location you need a boarding pass to access. We bought the cheapest airline ticket we could find for that day so he could attend the interview.

Along those lines, keep checking back if you don’t see something that works for you as interview appointments can become available as staffing improves or someone cancels.

Related: Why using Global Entry is becoming easier

Bottom line

Global Entry and the subsequent TSA PreCheck approval lasts five years, but you can apply for renewal up to a year before the expiration date. Applying a year before it expires may seem excessive, but it really can take that long at the current rates. Thankfully, the grace period to continue using Global Entry after its expiration was recently bumped from six to 12 months, though you must apply before the expiration date in order to take advantage of that grace period. Given the current issues both with delays in handling some applications and in getting an interview appointment, it is advisable to renew as soon as possible under that time frame. When you do apply for or renew Global Entry, keep in mind you can get a statement credit for the application, up to $100, via a number of different credit cards.

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