Why does the Global Entry website say no appointments available?
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry has helped frequent international travelers from the United States avoid the customs line for years now. But the process to join 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. This is because 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. If you hate taking your shoes off at the airport, this is a game changer.
But to join the Global Entry program, you have to prove that you are a low risk traveler which can be a long process but doesn't have to be if you follow along here!
How do you join the program?
The process begins on the official Trusted Traveler Program website of the Department of Homeland Security. You create an account, answer all the required questions, make your payment, and wait to be conditionally approved.
Then it becomes more challenging…
After you are conditionally approved, you now need to schedule an in-person interview at one of the official Enrollment Centers. On the scheduling page, available interviews are often over a year away 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 an 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 centers 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 that most enrollment centers have hundreds of new appointments open up every week due to cancellations and new releases.
Why are new appointments made available?
One of the main reasons that interview appointments become available (and users of AppointmentScanner.com are able to sometimes get next day interviews at the busiest centers) is due to cancellations. Each candidate for Global Entry can only ever schedule one interview at a time. So if for some reason someone cannot make their appointment, they are incentivized to re-schedule it because otherwise they will likely not have another appointment. This is very different from booking a restaurant reservation, for example, where you could book 3 different restaurants for a single night and then just cancel two of them (or just not show up, but that's rude!).
Cancellations are very common. Our data shows that even smaller centers usually have a handful of cancellations (5-20) per day and larger centers like those at major airports (Los Angeles, San Francisco, JFK, San Diego) can see a hundred or more cancellations per day.
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 1 year in advance which means that the soonest available appointment is usually 12 months in the future (because it is a very busy center) when new interview appointments are opened up.
Many other centers release new appointments every few weeks or months on a rolling basis so it is important to be persistent and stick with it for a few weeks. The process of getting an interview can be made even simpler with an alerting service such as AppointmentScanner.com where you can just receive SMS, email, or web browser alerts when a new appointment is made available.
So how can you schedule the appointment if it says No appointments available?
You have two options:
- You can keep trying to refresh the scheduling page and hopefully there will be new appointments made available at the time when you visit the website–thought this can be very hit or miss, as appointments usually disappear in a minute or two.
- Or you can use an alerting service like AppointmentScanner.com, which will send you an email, text message, or web browser alert whenever an appointment becomes available at the enrollment center you have selected. Once you receive the alert you can hop into the official scheduling page and if the appointments are still available you will be able to claim your appointment.
What about remote (Zoom) appointments?
If you renewing your Global Entry membership, you may be eligible for remote (Zoom) interviews. At the time of writing this article, these are only being offered to certain renewal candidates so if this is your first time signing up for Global Entry you will need an in-person interview.
The easiest way to check if you're eligible is to click the "schedule interview" button on your TTP dashboard. If you don't see a screen that gives you the option to choose between remote or in-person interviews, then you probably aren't eligible and will need an in-person interview.
Luckily, AppointmentScanner.com also works for remote interviews, just as it does for in person interviews.
Our data suggests there are less cancellations for remote appointments–you can take a Zoom call from anywhere in the world, after all–so there are far less reasons why you might not be able to make your appointment when compared to an in-person appointment.
Though there are less cancellations with remote appointments, there are usually groups of new new appointments releases every few days. These new appointments disappear fast, but Appointment Scanner can alert you about them instantly, giving you much improved odds of success, over manually checking the website.
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.
Appointment Scanner and remote interviews can be an especially convenient combination. In the best case, our users have booked remote interviews within hours of signing up and completed the interview process just a couple days later–all without ever leaving their home, or wasting any time refreshing the appointment scheduler page.