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One of the biggest frustrations with Global Entry is completing the final step of the process, which involves an interview with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Though there is another way to complete the interview, even while traveling. It’s called the Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival program.
What is Enrollment on Arrival?
In our Global Entry video/post, I recommended that folks constantly scan for new appointment times on the CBP website. I know a lot of people, including myself, were surprised when they received their conditional approval and tried to schedule the interview. The earliest available interview slot was four months away when I applied. Plus, the open appointments are often at an inconvenient time. And getting to the airport during a workday can be tough, especially in a sprawling city like Los Angeles.
Last summer, CBP started piloting an option called Enrollment on Arrival at five airports. It’s now grown to 39 locations. The program allows you to complete your interview when you return from an international trip once you receive your conditional approval for Global Entry. Conditional approval means that your application and background check are approved, and you just need to complete the interview.
How to Use Enrollment on Arrival?
To take advantage of the program, you just need to follow the “Enrollment on Arrival” signs when returning from an international flight. The CBP officer will then complete the interview as you go through the normal customs and entry process. It’s that simple! You don’t need anything other than your passport and one other form of official ID when going through the interview. Your conditional approval for Global Entry should be recorded with your passport number.
For those of you on the fence about getting Global Entry, I highly suggest enrolling even if you don’t travel internationally very often. That’s because Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck, which makes going through the security line on both domestic and international flights so much easier. In fact, TSA PreCheck costs $85 as a standalone service, and Global Entry costs $100. For only $15 extra, you’re getting the ability to expedite your entry back into the US. Also, if you have a premium travel credit card, you can often get reimbursed for the enrollment fee.
Other Options (e.g., Mobile Passport)
If you’re looking for a free way to expedite the entry process from an international trip, check out the Mobile Passport program. I still think Global Entry is better, but there are some compelling situations where the Mobile Passport app may work better for you. Perhaps you’re traveling with a group that does not have Global Entry. This is often the case with families traveling together who can’t use Global Entry because their kids are not enrolled.
Tips & Considerations
Below are some tips to keep in mind for those of you interested in the Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival program.
1. You don’t need to make an appointment:
This program is meant to be used on a walk-in basis. This means that no appointment is necessary or even allowed. It’s really as simple as just finding the right lane at customs.
2. You have one year to complete your interview once you are conditionally approved:
You’ll obviously want to get your interview completed sooner so you can take advantage of the benefit, but keep in mind that you have up to 365 days after your conditional approval to complete the interview. This is helpful to know in case you want to time your interview with an upcoming international trip.
3. Give yourself extra time if processing through Canada:
You’ll notice that there are six airports in Canada that can complete the Enrollment on Arrival interview. That’s because you go through US Customs on the Canadian side rather than in the US. This means that if you’re traveling from Canada to the US and you want to complete your interview, give yourself plenty of extra time. You’ll need to board your flight after you go through the process. In fact, this goes for any flights from Canada to the US. I’ve only missed a flight once in my entire life, and it was from Montreal to Los Angeles. The customs and immigration control line was extremely long, and I didn’t make it to the gate in time. Learn from my mistake and give yourself enough time!
Have you tried the Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival program? If so, please share your experience below.