My Global Entry renewal experience (success on arrival)

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I recently had to renew my Global Entry card for the second time since originally signing up.  My previous renewal was a piece of cake.  I did it entirely online and an interview wasn’t required.  This time, an interview was required.  Booking an in-person interview is nearly impossible these days, so I quickly abandoned that idea.  Next, I booked a Zoom interview, but that process completely failed.  Finally, I did the easiest of all: Renewal on Arrival.  That worked like a charm!

What is Global Entry?  Global Entry is a program that allows trusted travelers expedited reentry to the United States.  Having Global Entry means you can avoid long lines when returning from an international trip.  Global Entry also automatically gives you TSA Precheck.  Within the U.S., this allows you to go through the TSA security Precheck lines where you don’t have to take off your shoes nor remove anything like liquids or laptops from your bag, and you’ll usually go through a metal detector instead of a full body scanner.

Renew online

The first step of the renewal process can be done entirely online.  The only hard part was listing all of the countries I’ve been in the last 7 years.  Luckily I organize all of my trips with Tripit and so it was easy to scan through past trips to find where I’ve been.  I then paid with a credit card that reimburses Global Entry or TSA Precheck fees.  In this case I paid with an Amex Platinum card, but I could have also used the Capital One Venture X, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or really any of countless other cards that offer this feature.

I paid the Global Entry fee with a card that reimburses these fees. The reimbursement came automatically 3 days after payment.

Two days after submitting my renewal application, my renewal was conditionally approved, pending an interview.  The latter part was disappointing.  When I had previously renewed, no interview was required.  This time I wasn’t so lucky.

In Person Interview Scheduling

I tried to schedule an in-person interview at the Detroit airport, but nothing was available.  That was OK because I was offered a better option: a remote interview via Zoom!

Remote Interview via Zoom

Apparently I qualified for the Remote Interview Pilot for Trusted Traveler Programs because I had the option to sign up for an interview over Zoom.  Awesome!  And there were plenty of good timeslots available for me.  Double awesome!  I scheduled an appointment for 9:15pm on September 2nd.

At the correct date and time (and yes Gary, I double checked the time zone) I clicked to join the meeting.  The result was a pop-up that said “Please wait for the host to start this meeting.”  I waited and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  After about two hours I gave up.  No Zoom meeting for me!

The next day I tried to book another Zoom meeting (it was so great the first time after all), but I couldn’t find any availability.

Interview on Arrival

This stock image shows a possibly fictional passport control officer and traveler.

Whether you’re getting your Global Entry card for the first time or renewing it, a great alternative to scheduling an interview appointment is to ask for an interview when re-entering the United States.  Some of the same agents who process U.S. passport control are authorized to do your Global Entry interview.  I recently did this when returning from Toronto.

In major airports in Canada and a few other countries (Aruba, Bermuda, Ireland, The Bahamas, and the UAE), the United States handles passport control in the foreign country.  In all other cases, you’ll clear passport control after arriving at an airport in the United States.  Either way, at a large number of airports it’s possible to do your interview right there when returning from traveling internationally.  You can find a full list of eligible airports here.

In my case, since my old Global Entry was still valid, I cleared security then went to one of the Global Entry kiosks to scan my passport (note that at some locations the kiosks now just take a picture of your face), then I proceeded to the final step where agents in booths welcome you to the United States.  In this case, though, before going to an open booth, I asked someone if I could do an interview on arrival.  I was told to wait a minute while they checked if the guy who did this was currently available.  He was.  I was directed to his booth and he asked me a few simple questions.  Apparently my answers were adequate because he then took a new set of fingerprints with the scanner and took my photo so that they could make a new Global Entry card for me.  And I was on my way.  I honestly think that the entire process took only about 2 or 3 minutes longer than if I didn’t do the interview at all.  The process definitely won’t be that quick for everyone (see comments for examples).  In my case, very few people were going through passport control at that time. If you go through at a busy time I expect that they wait will be much longer and/or you might even be told that they cannot do the interview when they’re overcrowded.

Bottom Line

If you’re struggling to get an interview for Global Entry enrollment or renewal, consider doing the interview on arrival when returning to the United States.  I can’t promise it will work as smoothly for you, but for me it was a breeze.

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PaulaO

I was conditionally approved for Global Entry renewal but couldn’t find an appointment date at a nearby airport within the next two years—until I subscribed to Appointment Scanner ($30 for 30 days). I started receiving text notifications of appointments that week; most became available due to cancellations. The only difficult part was trying to log in to my TSA account in time to be the first to snag a time slot! In a few days, I had successfully reserved an appointment for one week later.

Lonnie

Mine lapsed before I could renew it. We’d ordered a new car, and we’re waiting for it to arrive and to get its licence plate so we could add it for $0 to SENTRI ($42 I think if you add it after renewing). I’d started the renewal process before it expired, but their site went down before I finished, we both forgot about it for a few days, and it was too late.

First local interview was March 2023. We considered doing interview on arrival, but it seemed like quite a hassle to make happen (we didn’t have any travel plans to tack it onto).

Then I started looking at airports that were fairly close that scheduled interviews. SFO had an opening in a few weeks, so booked flights up and back that day. Worked out great, they got me in ahead of schedule. Only downside there were no earlier flights back home, but the awesome beer list and Cuban sandwich at SF Uncork’d helped the time pass.

So there’s another option.

Thomas

I read on the TTP FAQ that failing to attend your interview may result in cancellation of your application — were there no consequences for your remote interview that never took place? Were you marked as a “no show” of some sort?

I had a scheduled Zoom interview today but missed it (silly error on my end, I didn’t realize the time zone was in CST when I had thought I booked in PST…). I caught it an hour too late and missed my interview. I tried to reschedule it but there were none available so I will also opt in completing the interview upon arrival in a few weeks.

JeffJ

I wish I could just get approved. For some unknown reason, i keep getting denied. Can you recommend how to overcome this?

Windycityf

I am on my 2nd full renewal, I’ve had to do the interview 3 times. I managed to mine in person in LAX upon arrival, there was no line. My photo is beyond terrible

Rad Anzulovic

In my limited experience, the digital passport app allows you to skip the long lines for very short lines. It is free to use, easy to set up. There is also a paid version that stores your data. My girlfriend has Global Entry and the two times we’ve entered the US together, my time passing through passport control wasn’t markedly difference from hers. Perhaps this is airport dependent? At least in my small sample size, Global Entry doesn’t seem worth it.

Last edited 22 days ago by Rad Anzulovic
Nick Reyes

I’ve been saying this for years. I use Mobile Passport also and I think I’ve only once had a wait of more than one person in front of me in line (and that time it was like 3 people). It’s always very fast and as you said it is free and easy.

Matt K

I was in the same boat last month arriving internationally at ORD. The interview on arrival line was 30+ people deep, and after watching 3 people get through in 20 minutes I had to bail to get my bag, clear customs, transit concourses, and make my connection home.

It’s a good idea, but it looks like staffing issues and demand can make interview on arrival just as difficult without a large amount of time and flexibility.

Katherine

My husband recently was approved for his second renewal. An interview required, but a remote interview was an option. We weren’t able to find any time slots. We gave up, and now need to tackle it again. The first renewal, the card was just mailed. Anyone have any advice on how to find a time slot, or different experiences? We aren’t traveling internationally at moment, so interview on arrival won’t work for us, but it worked nicely for our son in August at RDU.

DaveS

Just like them to require an interview and make it so hard to get one. I will be flying home through MIA in a few weeks and hope this works. The system is a mess.

Lczar

Still pending review after 2 months. They should not charge your cc until you are approved.

GUWonder

Some of these conditional renewal approvals are less about needing to ask questions than wanting to recapture the facial and fingerprint biometrics. At some point before the pandemic, they instituted some kind of age/years-related threshold trigger for biometrics recapture (and thus sending some renewal applicants to “conditional approval” just for that), but not sure if they have continued to keep that after initially putting in that trigger.

Cavedweller

Do your biometrics change when u get older ??

Rdover1

Yes. Fingerprints especially. Width of lines as skin stretches, scars and cuts etc. Eyes can change too with age based clouding.
At the human level we look at nothing changes, but at the resolution of biometrics, there can be changes.

Cavedweller

I bet Fat too HaHa I dropped 40lbs needed new shoes .

Cavedweller

I think that’s a Good thing redo every 5 years.I never had a Driving Test or written test since 1972 HaHa.. But I redid my photo BECAUSE I didn’t look like the young me anymore for an ID.
CHEERs

DCjoe

You are the first person I have read about doing their 2nd renewal. Makes sense that an interview is required if you didn’t need one on the first renewal. They probably have a rule that a new picture is required after 10 years- my assumption is t will have to do the interview on the second renewal for this reason, after not needing it on the first renewal.

Nuno

Decided to renew well before my Global Entry expired. When I requested renewal 14 months ago I was given the option to move from Global Entry to SENTRI. I had a Canada trip coming up so decided that would be a better option as it includes Global Entry. Payment was made but my “renewal” has now been Pending online for over 14 months!!
Sent several emails to them and all I get back is “there are delays and it could take up to 12months, but your Global Entry will remain active…”
Only problem is no airline recognizes that I still have an active Global Entry so now I cannot use TSA at airports!

Also tried to sort out the “renewal” at the airport on arrival in the US, but the agent apologized and said he can see my Pending status but there is nothing he can do. I was however able to use the Global Entry line to enter the country.

And the saga continues as my status is still the same. At this rate I may have to go pay for TSA on its own as my Global Entry still works to get into the US, but I’m refused access to TSA line at airports

On the flip side, my wife applied to renew several months after he Le Global Entry expired. Got immediate telephone appointment for the next week, and approved immediately after 10min call. Guess I should have been less proactive LOL.

Do you suggest I get CLEAR vs paying for TSA while I continue waiting?

Nun

I’ve haven’t heard of being given this option at renewal. If you hadn’t planned a Canada trip could you still do it? Would you then have to complete the sentri at a Canadian port? Thanks

Nuno

It was an option when I logged in and clicked renewal. But based on my experience I’d play it safe and only renew the Global Entry

The process was exactly the same so I was expecting to do a regular Global Entry interview in the US as per options mentioned in this post.

SENTRI was done online by listing all vehicles I wanted included when I was “renewing”

Nun

Thanks a lot. I think I mixed up sentri and nexus. I drive to Canada a few times each year and might look into nexus.

Daniel

You can’t renew 14 months before – only one year before.

Nuno

I never said I applied 14 months before my Global Entry expired. What I said was that I have been waiting 14 months since I applied.
I applied 11 months before it expired, and another 5 months have gone by since the expiry date

Last edited 22 days ago by Nuno
paul

I did on arrival. The only problem was waiting an hour at SFO for one of the customs people.

Joe

I’m wondering why you chose global entry over nexus? I keep trying to discover what the advantage is for global entry, which I have now and need to renew over nexus.

Thanks

GUWonder

NEXUS is not commonly sought after by US citizens as much as GE because for many US citizens NEXUS application is considered an extra hassle to get to a CBSA NEXUS-processing place in Canada. And also NEXUS renewals may be more of hassle than GE. Yes, NEXUS is still much cheaper than GE, but CBP is also in a fuss with CBSA/Canada at this time over NEXUS.

Daniel

And because most cards reimburse GE, the cost benefit of Nexus are moot.

GUWonder

NEXUS membership is fee-free for children under 18 years of age who have a parent with NEXUS.

I suspect that GE members probably don’t have even one credit/charge card that covers the GE membership fee for all persons in their household.

Even many of my FT-reading acquaintances don’t have more than one such bank card reimbursing US DHS’s fees for trusted traveler program membership.

GUWonder

I suspect that a majority of GE members probably don’t have even one credit/charge card that covers the GE membership fee for all persons in their household.

Vivian

Did my renewal interview at LAX. There were three dedicated interview agents and a line of about 10 people ahead of me with many more after. This was after what I thought was their close of business.

My agent told me she had given me a pending approval at the end of the interview. The only questions were what is my address and do I travel for business.

She had given me a short time estimate for receiving my new card. Weeks went by. I went on their website to check and was shocked to see that it still said that an interview was required.

A week later I got an email from them saying I should log in to see a change in my status. I was officially approved (3.5 weeks after interview).

Kent Michitsch

The whole Global Entry process is a joke. Recently applied, conditionally approved with an 11 month from now interview. Makes no sense. If you have a US passport, a US Drivers license, what does the interview accomplish?

DCjoe

Main reason is fingerprinting. They also take a picture, but of course have that from your passport.

Joseph

They need an interview with you to take your picture and fingerprints.

J J

I agree. I tried applying about 4-5 years ago and was denied at the interview because I had an OWI in college 20+ years prior. Didn’t matter that I work for the government and have a security clearance and traveled without issue countless times in the two decades since my poor mistake in my younger years.

GUWonder

I recently ran into someone using GE who had an FBI raid on their home because of a fake ID business aimed at college students perhaps around the same time as your college-era OWI. The person has had GE for nearly as many years as the program has been around.

Jed

I did a zoom interview for my renewal. It was super easy and was done in less than five minutes. He asked me to confirm my DOB, address, and employer, and to hold my passport up to the camera so he could confirm a few details. Then he said he would approve and asked if I had any questions.

Nun

With a zoom interview, did they also take a new photo like Greg’s in person renewal?

Weird that they took new fingerprints unless it was really just a comparison against old prints for confirmation.

fab

I just renewed (online approved in 2 days). Do I need to request a new card? Mine expires September 2023 but on the website there is no option to request a new one, just a replacement for the current one.

Cavedweller

Yes they sent me a new one I forgot how long ? But keep old one before u get new one then burn it.

Cavedweller

Ask Greg but they may change (I forgot) ur number like they did on my new $160 Passport. V Bernie

Last edited 22 days ago by Cavedweller
GUWonder

The KTN number for a GE member remains consistent across GE cards for the approved GE renewal member.

Mike

To supplement my comment, I should also mention that the fingerprint scanner was not functioning properly. I had to wait while it was rebooted several times.

Mike

Hey Greg, I did it in Chicago last month, returning from AMS. Four people in front of me and it took 45 minutes to get to the front. Then they not only took a new picture but also a fresh set of fingerprints. Just pointing out of it may not be a quick process for everyone

JJQQ

Thx for the timely info. I also need an interview. What paperwork is needed for the GE Interview on Arrival renewal?

Cavedweller

Greg

U travel a lot so they think ur a Drug dealer..I got mine in June online No Troubles…My bags were always checked 2x by TSA the worse was Grand Cayman (yes not TSA)..I had one of the first flts on SW 15 minutes before take off they called my name as in the Only One Called. I knew the deal so I slammed my 21′ on the counter and said Keep the Gxd Dxm Thing !! I got back to ORD the same Thing.. I went to Israel the next year just for 4 nites Never again ANY looks or Anything !!!
V Bernie

CHEERs

Last edited 23 days ago by Cavedweller
Cavedweller

I got a Renewal in 72 hours Insane..CHEERS

loungeabuser

I don’t think the agents are there to “welcome you into the United States.”

Cavedweller

Ask the Delta person who got a $500 fine for a Delta Apple. As in Let’s make some Money while here for the Gov.. V Bernie

ssss

Hi, I paid and I haven’t received a follow-up email. Do you know what I should do? Thanks!

Rick b

I have the same question, I applied for renewal online back in July it’s still stuck in pending stage with no updates. do they have any kind of phone support to contact them and ask what’s going on?

Suek

Similar. My renewal has been in pending review status for over a month. Amazed some people clear that a day or two, and others take months..

rick b

Normally I wouldn’t worry but my expiration is coming up and I need to travel in mid December. Somewhere on the website it seems to indicate they’ll keep the account active even while it’s pending renewal, but we’ll see how that works out.

Cavedweller

If u don’t get it So What u can still come back in but do u Really want to ?? V Bernie

Sco

I’m in a similar boat. I applied for renewal back in March so I’ve been “pending review” for 8 months now.

The grace period after expiry is now 24 months as long as you applied before it would have expired. Mine would have expired 3 months ago now, but next week will be the first time I’ve tried to use it since the original expiration date.

Nuno

Problem is the Global Entry remains active even though the membership expired, but your TSA status is no longer recognized when you get your boarding pass so you screwed and have to use the non-TSA lines! That’s what’s happened to me the past 6months as my renewal has begun pending 14 months now. The Global Entry works when coming back into the country, but the missing TSA status is a real pain