There are currently long waits for Global Entry interviews. But there is a secret way to cut the line.
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→ Participation: Appointment Checker, $29 for one month of alerts,
Airport security and customs lines can be long and disconcerting – but if you think waiting an hour to get to the departure hall is too much, try waiting for your Global Entry appointment.
With airports crowded again, TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are in great demand, two excellent ways to bypass a lot of airport security and customs lines. PreCheck saves you time at the initial TSA security check, while Global Entry also works through customs after you return to the United States from abroad. PreCheck is $85 while Global Entry will set you back $100 (but it also includes TSA PreCheck) and both are valid for five years. (There’s also Clear, which works with biometrics.)
However, for Global Entry or PreCheck membership, you cannot apply online only. You also need to come, with some documents including a passport and another form of identification, for a physical interview at a registration center where the CBP officer will take your photo, check your fingerprints, and ask a few questions.
I recently signed up and had my money handed over, which is the option I was given in June 2022 to make an appointment in Los Angeles.
I was able to make an appointment to attend the travel conference earlier this month, but frustratedly attended without the required passport. Once I was completely done kicking myself, I went to see the person who Will be processing my request.
Tell me about Appointment Scanner, a service for people who have filled out their online application, paid the fee, got conditional approval, and need to find an in-person appointment. It constantly scans the Trusted Traveler site for canceled and rescheduled appointments for Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI programs (the latter two also provide quick clearance for pre-screened travelers).
The service will then send you texts and emails alerting you when a slot opens at your chosen location (for 100+ registration centers). At this point, you can go to the Trusted Traveler Programs website and try to get that desired appointment. The service costs $29, which is a one-time payment for one month of alerts. If you have not booked an appointment at that time, you will need to register again.
But the site adds that “the average user receives between 10 and 25 appointment alerts per day, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get a convenient appointment at any given time.”
You can request a refund within 30 days if you are unsuccessful, and opt out of the alerts if you are.
Personally, I’ve found quite a few alerts coming in during the day when I’m chained to my laptop, but I get a lot more in the evening. Once I find the perfect time and be close to my computer, I hope to find a place much sooner than June 2023.
Even if you don’t want to pay $29, it pays to be consistent. Updating your browser and dedicating just a few hours to monitor the TFP website can pay off. That day you saw a date in June 2023? I later checked and it was showing December 2022.
And AFAR’s senior e-commerce editor, Lindsey Matthews, was fortunate to recently renew Global Entry, which was due in July.
Good luck out there, folks.
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