Is it worth it to travel for a Global Entry interview?

Global EntrySometimes your local airport won’t have a spot available for a Global Entry interview for months. Is it worth it to travel somewhere just for the interview? Reader A asks….

I’ve been researching Global Entry and decided to go for it since I plan on going overseas at least once a year for the next while.  I’ve read where getting an interview after obtaining conditional approval can take months. I thought, no problem, my next trip isn’t for months. Boy, howdy! Folks weren’t kidding.

My appointment is in OCTOBER. 6 months. I’ll be long back by then. The delay in my appointment will just push out the expiration date of my GE card and I’ll (if I have to) live with that.

My question: In your opinion, do think it would be worth flying to another airport just to have my interview there, earlier (before my spring trip?). I don’t fly domestically on a regular basis, and internationally just to visit friends. So I would be making a special 1 day trip just for the 15 min interview.

Unfortunately Global Entry interviews are sometimes booked up far in advance. When I joined a few years ago my home airport didn’t have anything available for months, so I drove to Houston. Yes, it was 2.5 hours each way for about 30 minutes in the airport. But ohmergerd it has saved me soooo much time since then.

A few things to consider about Global Entry.

  • Sometimes appointments open up at the last minute, so check back often.
  • There may be appointments available somewhere within driving distance, which somehow feels like less of a burden than flying somewhere.
  • On your trip, GE could save you fifteen minutes or it could save you two-three hours. There is just no way to know what the queue at customs will be like at any given time.
  • Do you currently have TSA Pre-check? If not, it may be worth it to fly somewhere just for the interview. Pre-check is seriously amazing.
  • It also may be worth it to go somewhere fun for a couple of days as part of your trip, rather than just fly in for the interview.

If I had to choose, if it’s not super expensive and it’s an easy direct flight, I would probably do it. If it’s a full day of connections and super expensive, I wouldn’t. I hope that helps!

Read some more of my thoughts about why Global Entry is worth it here.

Readers, did you have to travel for your Global Entry interview? What would you recommend to Reader A?

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  1. […] Is it worth it to travel for a Global Entry interview? – I would incorporate the interview in with planned travel.  Not sure that I would travel specifically for the Global Entry interview unless I was just looking for an excuse to visit that city.  Getting a Global Entry appointment isn’t always easy.  But both Timmy and Scarlett have their GE cards.  Here are some cards that can get you Global Entry for free. […]

Comments

  1. I may be too late, but I did this all backwards. I paid for PreCheck and interviewed at a secretary of state office in NW Indiana (I live in downtown Chicago – so this was easy). Then I went for GE – $100? Did my interview at ORD before a flight. It was quick and easy. Then I started going to Canada a lot and decided to get NEXUS (GE isn’t recognized by Canada, but if you drive to Canada you can use the NEXUS lanes but not at the airport – it’s tricky)…. The difference? NEXUS is only $60 – still good for 5 years( I think) and includes GE which includes PreCheck. Interviews are conducted by American and Canadian border patrol and it involves a retina scan, but you are set – even if you don’t frequent Canada it’s great to have and completely covers you. I, of course, did it the wrong way and they even pointed that out to me during my interview and said everyone makes the same mistake.

  2. I flew out to Miami for the weekend when processing GE. Well worth it. And It saved me 5 months waiting for spot in my local airport.
    Make a weekend of it or a mileage run.

  3. I would incorporate the interview in with planned travel. Not sure that I would travel specifically for the Global Entry interview unless I was just looking for an excuse to visit that city.

  4. I went to Doha, Qatar for my GE interview from Saudi Arabia. It’s the closest venue to us that offers these interviews. I thought my half hour flight was a big deal until I met another guy there who had traveled from Seoul, South Korea to do his GE interview because Los Angeles was so backed up!

    Obviously, many people, including myself think the Global Entry program is worth all the trouble.

  5. I did the exact same thing, Sean! Got my PreCheck (4 hour driving round trip), then a year later decided to start traveling internationally and got my GE (which was at my local airport and very quick.) So bummed there was no ‘upgrade’ plan but what can ya do. The customs agent even said to me, “You like paying for stuff, don’t you?” Thanks buddy – lol!

  6. Walk-ins in dc are the fastest way. I waited zero minutes and was taken immediately, the “interview” was less than five. So wait months? Or wait no more than 45 minutes? Obviously they don’t announce this as it would be chaos.

  7. I did Nexus which is only $50 and includes precheck and GE. My husband and I had to drive to a Canadian border crossing. The closest is 3 hours away so we made a weekend of it – did the interviews at the tunnel in Detroit and then went to a football game at Michigan State. Six years later and it was totally worth it. We didn’t have to interview for our renewal – just reapply for it and pay the $50 again.

  8. Our GE appointments were for 4 and 6 months out, so spouse and I walked in 5 months ahead, were done in 5 minutes. Except for 2 agents, no one was there. Give it a shot.

  9. The advice to “check back often” is key: people cancel appointments all the time, so check the GOES website several times a day, I’m sure you’ll get something before your trip. My original appointment was also 6 months out, but I had several opportunities to move it closer, eventually getting one just a couple weeks after the conditional approval.

    @Joe Bob recommends doing a walk in, but check with your location first: most now have a zero-walk-in rule.

  10. I’m taking my family on a weekend getaway to TX, DC and Chicago, I already have GE for years but I scheduled their appointments back to back on the day we leave ORD! pizza and GE done and done!

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