Skip to main content

Global Entry interview: What to expect

minute read

    Global Entry is called a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) for a reason. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has an important and serious job of verifying identities, goods and belongings that enter the country. To enroll in Global Entry, applicants must undergo a thorough screening and vetting process. One part of that is the interview, which can happen at an enrollment center or at select airports upon arrival in the United States. 

    Below, we'll detail some important points to know about the Global Entry interview.

    An overview of Global Entry

    Global Entry membership can expedite entry into the United States from international destinations when traveling by air, land and sea. Benefits include: no processing lines, no paperwork, reduced wait times and TSA PreCheck® eligibility. 

    The application process involves the same steps for all applicants: 

    • Create an account: Regardless of your age, you must have your own TTP account to apply for Global Entry. 
    • Complete the application: It's a straightforward set of questions and fields to fill in. 
    • Pay the application fee: As of May 2024, a non-refundable fee of $100 is charged to complete the application. Some credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve®, may provide a statement credit of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee if the card is used to pay for the application fee. 
    • Schedule an interview at a Global Entry enrollment center: You can do this once your application is conditionally approved.

    How long does it take to schedule a Global Entry appointment?

    According to the TTP website, applications take an average of four to six months to be processed. This can vary depending on several factors, namely the volume of applications to be processed when yours is received. 

    Each applicant must schedule a separate interview. If your application is conditionally approved, you'll be instructed to schedule an interview at a Global Entry enrollment center. You may also be able to use a program called Enrollment on Arrival. This is available for Global Entry applicants who have been conditionally approved to complete an interview upon arrival in the United States. 

    Enrollment on Arrival is available at specific airports in the United States, as well as: 

    • Aruba 
    • Bermuda 
    • Canada 
    • Ireland 
    • The Bahamas 
    • United Arab Emirates

    How long do Global Entry interviews usually take?

    Global Entry interviews may take only 15 minutes. At this point in the application process, individuals are conditionally approved for the program. CBP agents verify identification and certain information about an applicant at their interview. Afterward, the review process continues, and the applicant is notified of their membership status as soon as possible.

    What to bring to your Global Entry interview

    You'll need to bring your valid passport and one other form of identification, such as a driver's license or ID card, to a Global Entry interview. Lawful permanent residents will also need to present their machine readable permanent resident cards. In addition, bring any supporting documents you were prompted to bring after submitting your application. Examples include court documents and change of address notifications.

    Can you fail a Global Entry interview?

    If you've scheduled a Global Entry interview, your application has been conditionally approved. This usually means you're on track to enroll successfully in the program. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why people can be denied for Global Entry.

    Why do people get denied for Global Entry?

    Applicants may be denied or ineligible to participate in the Global Entry program for several reasons. Here are some examples: 

    • The application has false or incomplete information. 
    • The applicant has been convicted of any criminal offense or has pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants. 
    • The applicant has violated customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in any country. 
    • The applicant is the subject of an ongoing investigation by a federal, state or local law enforcement agency. 
    • The applicant has been denied the purchase of a firearm. 
    • Admission to the United States under immigration regulation cannot be granted. 
    • CBP cannot verify the applicant's low-risk status or meet other program requirements. 
    • The applicant has received a criminal pardon from any country.

    Are Global Entry interviews hard?

    The Global Entry review process may be considered difficult because it's a serious risk assessment. This program—and all TTPs, for that matter—are offered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It's no surprise that the agency's priorities include security, and a certain level of vetting is needed to provide the benefit of a streamlined experience in U.S. Customs. 

    Ready for some great news? When renewing Global Entry, an interview may not be needed. Check your TTP account online periodically after you submit a renewal application and pay the fee. You should also receive an email when your membership status changes.

    In summary

    Global Entry interviews are an important part of the program's application process. Interviews can be prescheduled or take place upon arrival in select airports through a program called Enrollment on Arrival for conditionally-approved applicants. Interviews are often brief and straightforward, as they're meant to verify an applicant's identity, specific documentation and background.

    To schedule your interview, you first have to complete the online Global Entry application and pay the nonrefundable fee. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card and use it to pay the Global Entry fee, you may receive a statement credit up to $100, a benefit that is available every four years. Sapphire Reserve has additional travel benefits and rewards that can suit different types of travelers.

    What to read next