We’re huge fans of the benefits of Global Entry, but the interview process required to get Global Entry has always been the program’s Achilles heel. After applying online and obtaining conditional approval for Global Entry, wait times for a requisite in-person interview can be months long. Plus, a limited number of enrollment centers (where interviews take place) can mean very long drives for those who don’t live in or near major cities. Thankfully U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has now launched “Enrollment on Arrival” to alleviate this problem.
Conditionally approved applicants can complete their interviews at forty-one airports across the US and Canada after landing from an international flight. All that’s required is a passport and following the sometimes hard-to-find signage leading you to CBP officers who can conduct the interview. Here’s what you need to know to enroll in Global Entry on arrival.
First, what is Global Entry, and how does it work?
Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that allows you to bypass the traditional immigration and customs lines at sixty major airports (forty-six of which are in the United States, fourteen of which are in airports abroad where clearance into the United States takes place pre-flight). In essence, passengers enter the United States through self-check-in.
Follow the signs to the Global Entry kiosks where you’ll scan your passport, match your fingerprints, and smile for the camera. You’ll fill out your customs information electronically here; so don’t bother with the blue customs form on-board. The kiosk will print a receipt, which you’ll flash to an immigration officer and then present to a customs official after collecting your bags (in a special fast track line).
With Global Entry, you also get automatic enrollment in TSA Pre-Check (no need for a separate application or application fee), which allows you to use expedited security departure lines, where you won’t need to remove shoes, belts, laptops, or liquids. Your Global Entry PASS ID serves as your TSA Pre-Check “Known Traveler Number.”
What’s the initial application process and how much does it cost?
Applying is simple. Start your online application by registering as a new user with the Global Online Enrollment System. You’ll then get a GOES user ID (every applicant needs a separate ID). Log in, enter all the necessary personal information, and submit a completed application. Pay the nonrefundable $100 fee.
Use the right elite credit card to pay this fee, and Global Entry (and TSA Pre-Check) won’t cost you a cent. You’ll get an automatic statement credit once the charge posts.
The following luxury credit cards offer the $100 Global Entry statement credit every four to five years (as you must renew your PASS ID every five years): Chase Sapphire Reserve℠, Citi Prestige® Card, Mastercard® Black Card™, Mastercard® Gold Card™, The Platinum Card® from American Express, and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card.
What are the next steps?
Once your application is conditionally approved, you’ll receive a message in your GOES account to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center, typically located at or near major US airports (in addition, ten centers are found in Canada and one in Qatar).
Unfortunately, timely appointment slots are not easy to come by. This is where the new Enrollment on Arrival program helps. If you are flying internationally into one of forty-one airports offering the program, you can complete your interview upon arrival.
Have your valid passport handy, and follow signs directing you to a CBP waiting area, where officers can call you in for your interview (Pro Tip: If you don’t see the signs ask a CBP officer where to go. It may take more than one query, however, as all officers are not familiar with the program. It’s also a good idea to look on the CBP’s official Enrollment on Arrival website for more specifics on the locations within the airport).
Once you start your interview, the CBP officer will ask a few questions, take your photo, and scan your fingerprints. If your background check turns up clean and the interviewer identifies you as a legal, low-security-risk traveler, you’ll receive a nine-digit CBP PASS ID on the spot (valid for five years) and be able to utilize Global Entry immediately.
At which airports can I enroll upon arrival?
Thirty-five international airports in the US and six in Canada offer enrollment upon arrival. However, hours for the enrollment vary by airport. Check here for the latest information on hours of operation.
• Alaska: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
• Arizona: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
• California: John Wayne Airport (SNA), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), Oakland International Airport (OAK), Sacramento International Airport (SMF), San Diego International Airport (SAN), San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
• Colorado: Denver International Airport (DIA)
• Florida: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Miami International Airport (MIA), Orlando International Airport (MCO), Tampa International Airport (TPA)
• Georgia: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
• Hawaii: Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
• Illinois: Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
• Maryland: Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
• Michigan: Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
• Minnesota: Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
• New Jersey: Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
• New York: Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
• Nevada: McCarran International Airport (LAS)
• North Carolina: Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
• Oregon: Portland International Airport (PDX)
• Pennsylvania: Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
• Texas: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), San Antonio International Airport (SAT), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
• Utah: Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
• Washington: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
• Canada: Calgary International Airport (YYC), Edmonton International Airport (YEG), Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ), Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport (YOW), Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), Vancouver International Airport (YVR)