The Global Entry program helps travelers to gain access to other countries quickly and easily, and it’s becoming a must-have for globetrotters! The last thing anyone wants to do at the end of a tiring flight is wait in long lines to gain access to the country you’re visiting. With Global Entry, this wait is a thing of the past! Here’s a complete guide to the Global Entry application and interview process.
Condé Nast Traveler ~ ” Make sure you’re eligible
Unfortunately, yes—you have to earn the government’s trust to be part of this ‘Known Traveler’ program. Here’s who can apply for Global Entry: U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and citizens of 19 foreign partner countries including Colombia, the United Kingdom, India, Qatar, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and Mexico. (Depending on the country, visas may also be required for entry.) Canadian citizens and residents are also eligible for Global Entry benefits through membership in the NEXUS partnership (the agreement that allows members expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada). However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extended closure of the U.S.-Canada border to nonessential travel (until at least April 21, 2021), the Nexus program is still on hiatus, says CBP spokesperson Rhonda Lawson, and some travelers have reported waiting for more than a year for their applications to be approved.
Your application may be denied if you have a criminal record; provide false or incomplete information on your application; have pending criminal charges; have violated customs, immigration, or agricultural laws in any country; are currently being investigated by any local, state, or federal agency; are inadmissible to the U.S. under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation; cannot satisfy CBP of your low-risk status; or fail to meet other program requirements.
Getting an interview appointment
At the height of the pandemic, the Global Entry program experienced a major backlog of applications because of closed enrollment centers and limited appointments, which caused months-long delays in processing new applications and approving renewals. However, the agency has now worked through most of those backlogs, and about 60 percent of applications are conditionally approved within 15 days, according to Lawson. Applications that require a more detailed review can take up to four months.
Note that some of the least crowded enrollment centers are at airports. And with your conditional approval, you can also take advantage of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Enrollment on Arrival program following an international trip. When you land in the United States, just follow the signs to CBP officers who will complete your interview.
Ace the interview
Pack a valid passport and another form of ID like a driver’s license or ID card, and print the conditional approval letter from your Trusted Traveler account. You’ll also need documents that show proof of residency—think a utility bill or rental agreement. (Keep in mind that for Enrollment on Arrival interviews, you’ll need to pack these documents before your trip.) Oh, and just a heads up: You’ll be getting your photo taken at the interview, and this headshot will go on your Global Entry ID card.
The good news is that if you’re conditionally approved, most of the hard work is over—you’ve already been pre-screened, and your information has been checked by the government. Many of the questions you’ll be asked are ones you’ve already answered on your application, or ones officials already have the answers to, like: ‘Why do you want to join Global Entry? What do you do for a living? Where have you traveled in the past five years? Have you ever been arrested, or had an issue at U.S. Customs and Border Protection?’ An official Global Entry card should arrive within two weeks, and you’ll need to activate it within 30 days. You won’t have to show this card at the airport, though, as it’s only for land and sea ports of entry—at the airport, just stroll up to the Global Entry kiosks and get started.” ~ Condé Nast Traveler
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**Please note: Due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel, we encourage people to always plan trips in accordance with the guidance provided by government and health officials. Content put forth by Military Living® is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.