There's a new way to skip the wait for a Global Entry interview
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Global Entry is one of the best expedited security programs out there for frequent travelers. With it, preapproved, low-risk travelers can take advantage of mostly automated customs and immigration processing when arriving in the U.S. instead of waiting in a potentially long queue for an immigration officer. Plus, Global Entry membership includes TSA PreCheck, which can save you even more time at security on departing flights.
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While the Global Entry application itself is relatively straightforward and getting the $100 application fee reimbursed is very easy, completing the required interview component has always been a pain. Aside from there not being many easily accessible enrollment centers for those outside of major cities, finding available interview appointment slots can be extremely difficult. In fact, it could sometimes take weeks or months before you get an appointment.
Related: Still waiting for your Global Entry renewal? You’re not alone, and here’s why
One way applicants have been able to get around the wait has been by taking advantage of the Enrollment on Arrival service. As the name suggests, the service allows conditionally approved applicants to complete Global Entry interviews as part of the immigration process when arriving at the airport after an international trip, rather than having to wait to schedule it at a later date. The service is available at over 50 airport locations throughout 27 states (plus U.S. pre-clearance facilities in Canada, the UAE, Bermuda and the Bahamas).
Related: How to enroll in Global Entry on arrival
But what if you don't have an international trip coming up and want to speed up your application process so you can begin to take advantage of the TSA PreCheck benefit? There's a new workaround to skip the wait.
In early February 2020, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would immediately suspend New York state residents from enrolling in Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs because of the state’s new “Green Light Law”, which bars agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from accessing DMV records without a court order. The ban forbids New Yorkers from both enrolling and re-enrolling in the Trusted Travel Programs.
Related: New York residents have been banned from enrolling in Global Entry: 6 of your burning questions answered
While the over 200,000 New Yorkers who have either been conditionally approved or were planning to renew their memberships have had their applications and interviews canceled, the CBP's New York enrollment centers are still operating per usual — at least for the time being. As a result, the appointment schedules are wide-open.
Regardless of your residence, if you are conditionally approved for enrollment, you can schedule your interview at any of the enrollment centers. So, if your local enrollment center doesn't have any available slots for a long time and your travels take you to New York soon, it’s worth checking to see if they have appointment slots that work for you.
There are four enrollment centers in New York state:
- Bowling Green (U.S. Customs House)
- Champlain, New York Enrollment Center
- New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- Niagara Falls, New York Enrollment Center
If you simply can’t get to another interview center, keep checking back at yours for cancellations. You can also always try getting a walk-in interview.
If you haven’t applied for Global Entry yet, be sure to pay for the application fee using one of the many credit cards that provides a statement credit for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee every four or five years (up to $100), such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, United Explorer Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve. When your interview day arrives, be sure to arrive on time and bring all of the necessary documents, including a printout of your letter of conditional approval, valid passport(s) or permanent resident card and evidence of residency.