How to get a same-day walk-in appointment at these Global Entry enrollment centers
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Nobody likes waiting in airport security lines. Many people are looking for ways to get through security faster. That’s why Global Entry is such a huge deal. It gets you into the faster TSA PreCheck lines at U.S. airports.
However, you may have to wait months before you can get an interview at the nearest Global Entry center. And throughout the COVID pandemic, wait times have been extended even more so. That said, as things get back to normal and travel resumes, Global Entry will once again become a coveted travel perk. And while it may be hard to get an interview, some enrollment centers accept Global Entry interview walk-in interviews when you are arriving from an international flight.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to get a walk-in interview, where to get it, and how to get your Global Entry fee reimbursed with the best cards for Global Entry.
Global Entry enrollment and COVID-19
Due to COVID, Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers were closed for a number of months in 2020. And all public access Global Entry enrollment centers were unavailable, as were mobile enrollment events.
But enrollment centers are open now, and the Enrollment on Arrival program has continued to operate throughout the pandemic. Additionally, benefits will be extended for up to 18 months for members who apply for renewal before their current membership expires. Which is great given the backlog of folks looking to renew their membership.
How to qualify for a walk-in Global Entry interview
To qualify for a walk-in Global Entry interview, you must first apply for Global Entry and receive conditional approval. Then you’ll be able to schedule an interview. The application is quite extensive, so be prepared to spend ~30 minutes completing it. But it’s time well spent — and you’re saving a lot of time in the long run.
Once you’re conditionally approved, you’ll need to make your interview appointment, If you can’t secure an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center nearest to your home, you can try to schedule an interview at a center farther away or you might be able to get an interview on arrival from an international flight at select locations listed below.
Here is how you qualify for an interview on arrival:
- You must already have received conditional approval
- You must be returning from an international trip
- You’ll need to bring your passport, documents providing evidence of residency: a driver’s license with your current address, mortgage statement, rental payment statement, utility bill or a permanent resident card (if applicable)
When you arrive, follow signs directing you to the Customs and Border Protection officers for your Global Entry interview.
How to get your Global Entry fee reimbursed
When you apply for or renew Global Entry you pay a $100 fee, but you can be reimbursed if you pay with certain cards, such as:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- United℠ Explorer Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Here’s an in-depth look at our top cards for Global Entry.
The best credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck have annual fees, but the United℠ Explorer Card has the annual fee waived for the first year (then $95 thereafter).
Many of these cards have made our list of the best credit cards for travel and have perks that easily make it worth paying the annual fee because they have benefits above and beyond a Global Entry fee credit. If you want airport lounge access, free checked bags or just a big introductory bonus, you can get those perks (with many of these cards) on top of your Global Entry fee reimbursement.
Remember, you can use your Global Entry for someone else’s application
If you’re like us, you have multiple cards in the above list. If you’ve got more than one Global Entry credit, you can pay the application fee for a friend with your eligible card and be reimbursed. The credits aren’t just valid for your application.
Global Entry enrollment centers that accept walk-ins
These Global Entry Enrollment Centers accept walk-ins. However, you might have to wait — sometimes only minutes and other times hours — there’s no guarantee you will be seen at all.
Global Entry interview locations
FAQ about Global Entry
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency program that allows low-risk travelers expedited clearance through customs upon returning to the U.S. through select airports. To qualify, you’ll have to complete a Global Entry application and have an in-person interview. Once you’re approved for the program you can breeze through customs by heading to the Global Entry kiosks and scanning your passport or U.S. permanent resident card, scanning your fingerprints and then completing a short U.S. customs form.
The Global Entry application fee is $100, but you can get that reimbursed with any of the top credit cards with Global Entry fee credits.
Benefits of Global Entry
Not only can Global Entry save you from waiting in long lines to clear U.S. customs, but you’ll have access to TSA PreCheck expedited security benefits. I’ve found that nothing improves my mood at the airport more than entering the short TSA PreCheck line and not having to remove my belt or take out my laptop when going through the checkpoint.
Plus, Global Entry is valid for five years (just like TSA PreCheck) and you can renew a Global Entry membership up to one year before it expires.
What’s the difference between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?
TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are very different.
TSA PreCheck gives you an exclusive lane when passing through most domestic airport security checkpoints. You won’t have to remove toiletries or your computer from your bag. You won’t even need to take off your shoes, jacket or belt. It’s a fantastic upgrade to the entire airport experience — and it’s far more convenient than Global Entry to enroll. Read our TSA PreCheck enrollment review.
Just as TSA PreCheck speeds along your domestic travel, Global Entry speeds along your international travel, as you won’t have to wait in the immigration line. Anyone who travels abroad even a couple of times each year could end up saving hours at customs when re-entering the U.S. Plus, Global Entry comes with TSA PreCheck.
Many Global Entry Enrollment Centers accept walk-ins upon arrival from an international flight, though some have special conditions. Bring a book, because you might have to wait.
But if you have a Global Entry center nearby, or are traveling through an airport on the way back to the U.S. from an international trip, it’s worth checking for a walk-in appointment if you’d otherwise have to wait months to schedule an interview.
Let us know about your experience obtaining a Global Entry interview as a walk-in. And subscribe to our newsletter for more travel tricks like this delivered to your inbox once per day.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)