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Applying for Global Entry May Seem Daunting, but It Doesn’t Have to Be (Here’s What You Need to Know!)

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Applying for Global Entry May Seem Daunting, but It Doesn’t Have to Be (Here’s What You Need to Know!)

Meghan HunterApplying for Global Entry May Seem Daunting, but It Doesn’t Have to Be (Here’s What You Need to Know!)Million Mile Secrets Team

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A friend of mine was recently on her way to her Global Entry interview when she called me in a panic.  She’s planning a surprise trip to London for her husband and realized that the interviewer might ask about their upcoming travel.  Her husband was scheduled to interview right after her, but she didn’t want to ruin the surprise.  So, she called to ask for my opinion on what she should do.

I’m a sucker for a good surprise, so I told her I’d risk it and try to explain the situation to the interviewer before her husband went in for questioning.  She agreed and in the end, they were both approved.  But it reminded me of the other stories I’ve read about the crazy reasons for which people have been denied Global Entry.

The good news is, if you’re denied there is actually a reconsideration process.  And don’t forget about the statement credit for the Global Entry application fee that comes with many of the best credit cards for travel!

Here’s more about Global Entry and what to do if you run into any issues throughout the process (because it IS a process!).

Global Entry Will Save You Time and Frustration at the Airport!

Tips for Applying for Global Entry

Once you’ve completed the online application for Global Entry, you’ll usually hear back within ~3 to ~5 business days whether or not you’re conditionally approved.  If you are, you’ll be invited to make an appointment at an enrollment center to finalize your enrollment.

Actually getting an appointment can be a bit of a hassle because many enrollment centers are months out when it comes to available appointments.  If there aren’t any appointments available at the enrollment center of your choice, you could consider using the Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival program to get a same-day interview if you’re flying to the US.

If you have a domestic flight coming up and happen to be traveling through an airport with an enrollment center, you could also consider making an appointment there.  I took this route because my local airport (Missoula, Montana) doesn’t offer Global Entry interviews.

Once you’ve completed the interview process and have been approved, your Global Entry membership will be valid for 5 years.  It will expire on your birthday of the 5th year.

Applying for Global Entry isn’t a walk in the park.  But don’t forget, when you’re approved for Global Entry, you’ll also get many of your flights stamped for TSA PreCheck!  That makes Global Entry even more valuable.  The time you’ll save is well worth it to apply and complete the in-person appointment because you’ll have 5 years of less stressful travel ahead!

If you’re denied for any reason, US Customs and Border Protection does have a process for appeals.  Here’s what they say:

In the event you are denied or revoked from the Trusted Traveler Programs, then you may provide additional documentation to the CBP Trusted Traveler Ombudsman and request reconsideration.

You can read more about the reconsideration process here.  But suffice it to say, you’ll have to do a good job of explaining your situation and making an argument for why you should be approved.  And it certainly won’t hurt to include supporting documentation!  I’ve read reports of people getting copies of police reports from decades ago from, for example, for a DUI conviction in high school.

Saving Time at the Airport Means You’ll Have MORE Time to Spend Enjoying Your Vacation

Bottom line?  Tell the truth on your application and try not to stress about it too much.  If you do end up getting denied, there’s an appeals process.  It may be a pain but in my opinion Global Entry is well worth the hassle.  I’ve no doubt saved hours of my life being able to skip long security and immigration lines over the last couple of years.

Want to learn more about trusted traveler programs like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck?  Be sure to check out these posts:

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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! :)

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Both my husband and I applied in mid-December. We have never received any formal correspondence back aying we were accepted, but both have received 7 emails about “on arrival” interviews. I called the closest office (4 hours away) because were coming in from Cancun last week around 8:30 PM and wondered if we could do it that late in the evening. The Homeland Security person I spoke with verbally gave me Pass ID numbers and said it would be no problem. Just ask as we come through customs. But when we tried in Chicago, we were told no way, the office was closed (the website says they are only open 8:15-3:30) and even if it wasn’t, they were too busy. Most international flights arrive at odd hours. How is anyone suppose to use “on arrival”? Now I have to try and setup an appointment and drive 4 hours back again. Very frustrating!

I applied for Global entry in anticipation of an international trip next year. I received the email saying I am eligible for Global Entry on Arrival. Because TSA precheck is included, I had hoped to complete the process prior to the domestic flights I’ll be taking this year. Any thoughts as to what I might do?

Forgive me for my ignorance. I thought if I were approved for Global entry, my 8-year-old son would be automatically approved as a minor. So it is not the case…Do I have to file a separate application for him and pay for him separately as well?

Unfortunately yes, you would need to pay the fee and submit an application for him as well.

Cant stress enough about being honest, I got approved even though I arrests 40 year ago, I was asked if I had ever been arrested, I said yes, was asked when and what was the out come? I told them. no problem I was in. Mean while my wife was in the other room being interviewed, she was asked the same question and said no, they asked again if she was sure and she said she was sure. They then gave her a couple dates 4o years ago and told her find out when where and what the out come was and the would reconsider, mean while she was denied. She thought the arrests were nothing but they had all the past information in front of them.

Gah, well I hope it ends up being approved for your wife as well. 40 years is a long time!

I applied December 12 and was just conditionally approved a couple weeks ago so it is delayed because of backlog.

That’s a good reminder for everyone: it’s a good idea to plan ahead and apply several months in advance if you know you’ll be traveling later this year!

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