Global Entry has helped frequent international travelers from the United States avoid the customs line for years, but joining the Global Entry program continues to be cumbersome.
Global Entry is one of the Trusted Traveler Programs from the Department of Homeland Security. Once you are accepted into the program, you are able to use a special line when you arrive from an international flight at many airports in the United States which is much faster than the regular customs and immigration line.
You also receive TSA PreCheck membership which allows you to use a special line when traveling through TSA airport security at 200+ airports in the United States. Having TSA PreCheck means you don't need to take off your shoes, belt, or jacket and you don't have to remove electronics or small liquid containers from your bags. It’s a small luxury but makes the travel experience that much better.
These things make a big difference if you take many international trips.
How do you join the Global Entry program?
The process begins on the official Trusted Traveler Program website of the Department of Homeland Security. You create an account, complete the Global Entry application, pay the $100 application fee, and wait for DHS to complete your background check and give you conditional approval.
Then it becomes a little more challenging.
After you’ve received conditional approval, you need to schedule an in-person Global Entry interview at one of the official enrollment centers.
You’ll see on the scheduling page that interview slots aren’t available until a year out or the enrollment center simply says “No appointments available.”
But what does “No appointments available for this location” mean?
Why does the interview scheduling page say "No appointments available"?
Although it sounds like you will never be able to get an appointment at this location, that usually isn’t the case.
When a Global enrollment center displays the dreaded “No appointments available” message, it just means that all the openings they have made available are already booked.
Luckily, "No appointments available" does not mean that the center is closed, or that it's not conducting interviews. In almost every case, the center is open, and conducting interviews as fast as they can.
The good news is most Global Entry enrollment centers have hundreds of new appointments open up every week.
Why are new appointments made available?
One of the main reasons that Global Entry appointments become available is due to cancellations.
We all can relate to random things coming up in life that we can’t make an appointment. That happens all the time with Global Entry appointments.
Our data shows that even smaller centers usually have a handful of cancellations, between 5-20 per day.
On the other hand, larger centers at major airports like those in Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), San Diego (SAN), and Atlanta (ATL) can see a hundred or more cancellations daily.
These last-minute appointments are in high demand and often only stay open for a minute or two before they are booked, so speed is critical.
New openings are made available by enrollment centers
Each enrollment center has a slightly different release schedule for new appointments.
For example, San Diego releases appointments one year in advance because it is a very busy center.
Many other centers release new appointments every few weeks or months on a rolling basis so it’s important to be persistent and stick with it for a few weeks.
How can you schedule the appointment if it says "No appointments available"?
You have three options:
- Keep refreshing the scheduling page and hope there are new appointments available. You’re unlikely to be successful at this, especially if you live in a larger city and the closest enrollment center is at a busy airport. Even if an appointment slot is available, there may be multiple people trying to grab it. If someone is faster than you, they might complete the booking process before you do.
- Try your hand at enrollment on arrival. If you’re traveling, you can try to get an appointment on arrival by checking with US Customs and Border Protection but this is hit or miss. I’ve heard stories of people who were successful with this method when they were traveling outside the US, and were able to get an appointment at an international airport in Puerto Rico or Singapore.
- Use AppointmentScanner to get text and email notifications when an appointment slot opens up. Instead of refreshing the scheduling page, wait for an alert and hop into the official scheduling page to grab the time slot. If you aren’t successful, don’t worry, you’ll continue to receive notifications as more time slots open up.
What about appointments for NEXUS and SENTRI?
For citizens of Canada and Mexico, it can be as difficult to get interviews for NEXUS and SENTRI as it is for Global Entry. The process of booking an appointment is the same.
We recommend using AppointmentScanner to get an appointment sooner.
What about remote appointments?
If you’re renewing your Global Entry membership, you may be eligible for remote interviews over Zoom.
First time Global Entry applicants will need to schedule an in-person interview.
The easiest way to find out if you're eligible for a remote interview is to click the "Schedule Interview" button on your TTP dashboard. If you see the option to choose between remote or in-person interviews, then you’re eligible. Otherwise, you’ll need an in-person interview.
Our data suggests there are fewer cancellations for remote appointments so it may be more challenging to snag a remote interview appointment.
Even though there are fewer cancellations with remote appointments, new time slots are often released every few days.
Because you're not limited to just the enrollment centers that are within your region (like with in-person interviews), you might end up conducting your interviews with a CBP officer on the other side of the country, right from your kitchen table. This is especially convenient if you have a busy family or work schedule or if you live hours away from the nearest enrollment center.
Get alerts about appointment slots (including remote interviews).