On September 8, US Customs and Border Protection began interviewing conditionally approved Global Entry applicants following a six-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure caused quite a backup in applicants — many who had applied to the program even in 2019, before the pandemic struck, are facing a wait time of six months or more for their scheduled interview. Thankfully, two new services, one from the TSA and one from a private third party, are stepping in to help travelers shave months off of their interview wait time. Here’s everything you need to know about Enrollment on Arrival and Appointment Scanner.
TSA launches Enrollment on Arrival program
To address the backlog and help conditionally approved applicants join the program faster, the agency recently launched its Enrollment on Arrival program, giving travelers an additional scheduling option. Rather than booking their interview at an international airport months in advance, travelers who have been conditionally approved for Global Entry can arrange to conduct the interview upon arriving home to the United States on an international flight.
Enrollment on Arrival is currently available at 62 international airports across the US and internationally. Upon landing, passengers will see signage directing them to CBP agents who will conduct the brief interview as they pass through admissibility inspection. For flyers who live far from an international airport, this option saves the need to travel to one solely for the interview, but of course, the option is only available when returning from an international airport — no “drop-ins” are permitted.
If you plan to conduct your interview through the Enrollment on Arrival program, be sure to bring your passport and an official document that shows your current address.
Appointment Scanner helps applicants find vacated appointments
The drawback of the Enrollment on Arrival program is that you must actually be arriving on an international flight to participate. A low percentage of Americans will take international flights between now and the end of 2020, nulling the chances of approval for the program until at least 2021.
But there’s one small hope for conditionally approved travelers looking to join Global Entry without waiting six months or more for their interview — a digital service called Appointment Scanner. For $15, travelers can sign up to receive text or email notifications of vacated or otherwise opened Global Entry appointments at nearby international airports.
After signing up on the company’s website, you can select nearby airports and customize your profile to only receive alerts relevant to you. It’s by no means a guaranteed interview slot but you might just get lucky.
How do I become conditionally approved for Global Entry?
Global Entry is managed by US Customs and Border Protection and one of its Trusted Traveler Programs. To get started, apply via the official website and pay a $100 fee. You’ll answer a series of questions and identity verification steps, and once the agency has confirmed that you pose no threat to national security, you are classified as “Conditionally Approved.” From there, the only thing standing between you and the sheer bliss of skipping long customs and security lines is the interview.
Once approved for the Global Entry program, your membership is valid for five years and after that period it must be renewed. Check out Matador Network’s breakdown of Global Entry and TSA PreCheck for more.