As it relates to travel, one of the downsides of Trusted Traveler Programs is the in-person interview. So, if you're an international traveler, you may want to learn more about Global Entry's virtual interview option. Find out below if you're eligible to take advantage of this program.
Eligibility for Global Entry virtual interviews
Created specifically for renewal applications, the Global Entry virtual interview option is currently part of a pilot program by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It was created to alleviate the backlog of applications that piled up during the COVID-19 pandemic by dropping the requirement for renewing members to interview in-person.
To be eligible for a Global Entry virtual interview you must already be a member. Additionally, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be conditionally approved for Trusted Traveler Program renewal. The Trusted Traveler Program is the umbrella term for membership programs such as Global Entry and TSA PreCheck that allow for expedited security screenings.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have a photo on file with U.S. Customs and Border Protection that was taken at the age of 14 or older and within the past 10 years.
- Have previously submitted fingerprints to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
If you are a first-time applicant to the Global Entry program, you will not be eligible for a virtual interview. The program may evolve based on data gathered through the pilot, but it's currently only available for those looking to renew their membership.
How to schedule a virtual Global Entry interview
If you meet the eligibility criteria above, you may be wondering how to schedule a virtual Global Entry interview. To start, you'll need to log into your Trusted Traveler Program account. If your membership is up for renewal, you'll see a box reminding you to complete the application. Your membership is not available to renew until one year from the expiration date.
Once you click on “renew your membership," you'll have a series of questions to answer as part of the application process. You will also be asked to agree to an updated background check and be given a chance to update any personal information that may have changed. This may include your address, passport number, driver's license information or travel history.
You will then be prompted to pay the application fee. Some travel credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve®, will reimburse this fee. It's important to note that you'll likely have to use your travel card to pay the fee, and that the benefit was not used by any authorized user within the last 4 years to be eligible for reimbursement. After paying, you'll have to wait for conditional approval before scheduling your interview. Check your account regularly, as this is where you'll be notified.
To schedule a remote Global Entry interview, click on the “scheduling your remote interview" link on your Trusted Traveler Program dashboard. Before your interview, you'll want to make sure your device is able to run video conferencing software with both video and audio.
What you'll need
There are just a few things you should have on-hand when you sit down for your virtual interview.
- Your valid passport
- Documents showing proof of residency, such as your driver's license, mortgage statement, rental lease or utility bill with current address
- Your permanent resident card, if applicable
What to expect
The interview process is generally short — an agent will ask you to confirm much of the personal information you submitted during your initial application. You will have access to a virtual waiting room 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time. Including wait time, the interview process could take around 30 minutes.
After the interview
The time it takes for official approval after your interview varies. It's often within a few days, but it depends on how busy the program is, so these times may change. Check your Trusted Traveler Program dashboard regularly for updates. Once you're approved, it will typically take a few more weeks to get your new Global Entry card.
Other Global Entry interview options
If you decide not to apply for a Global Entry virtual interview, there are two other ways to complete your enrollment process:
- In-person interviews: If you prefer to go in-person, you can book an appointment at your closest enrollment center. The wait time for an appointment is generally longer, so be sure to plan ahead if you have upcoming international travel.
- Enrollment upon arrival: You may also complete your application process at an airport when you return from international travel. Note this can only be done on arrival, not when departing for an international location. If you're planning on this option, double check that the airport you're flying into offers the service.
If you're looking to renew your Global Entry membership, you may want to take advantage of the Global Entry virtual interview process. Once it's done, you'll have one less thing to worry about before your next trip.