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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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:

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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