How long does it take to get Global Entry?

When coming to the U.S. from an international trip, you’ll have to go through customs. But customs lines can take a while. Frequent international travelers could save time by enrolling in Global Entry.

Global Entry is a program offered through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to help you get through customs faster when you reenter the U.S. after traveling abroad. CBP says it can take four to six months on average to process a Global Entry application. Learn more about the steps to becoming a Global Entry member.

Key takeaways

  • Global Entry helps members move through customs more quickly when reentering the U.S.

  • To become a Global Entry member, you’ll need to fill out an application, pay a fee and schedule an in-person interview.

  • CBP says it typically takes four to six months to get approved for Global Entry after applying.

  • Some travel cards, like Capital One’s Venture, Venture X, Spark Miles and Venture X Business cards, will reimburse cardholders for the Global Entry application fee.*

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What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) run by CBP that speeds up the U.S. customs process. Global Entry members can skip the line and use a Global Entry customs kiosk at more than 75 U.S. airports when returning from traveling internationally.

Global Entry memberships last for five years. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Use of automated kiosks to bypass customs lines

  • Less paperwork

  • Expedited entry at major U.S. airports

  • Shorter airport line wait times

  • Access to TSA PreCheck® at no additional cost

  • Access to NEXUS and SENTRI lanes when entering the U.S. from Canada or Mexico by land or sea

Keep in mind that expedited entry isn’t guaranteed with Global Entry. Members may still be chosen for additional screening.

Global Entry application process explained

There are a few steps to applying for a Global Entry membership:

  1. Create a TTP account online.

  2. Complete the Global Entry application.

  3. Pay the $100 nonrefundable application fee.

  4. Schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center if the application is conditionally approved.

  5. Attend the interview and bring the necessary documents, like your passport and an additional form of ID.

How long it takes to get Global Entry

The time it takes to apply for Global Entry can vary, but here’s the typical timeline:

Global Entry application

After creating a TTP account, you can begin to fill out the online Global Entry application. You’ll provide your personal information and history and answer questions like where you’ve lived and what countries you’ve visited in the past five years.

After you pay the nonrefundable $100 fee, CBP will review the application.

Global Entry interview

If your application is conditionally approved, you can schedule a Global Entry interview at an Enrollment Center. According to CBP, “availability for appointments varies, and there can be a long wait, depending on the location.” 

You have up to 730 days to schedule and complete the interview. If you can’t find an appointment time that works for you, CBP recommends checking your TTP account often for cancellations.

If you already have a trip planned, you may be able to take advantage of the Enrollment on Arrival program. This lets you interview at the airport when returning to the U.S. Just make sure to bring the right paperwork.

Global Entry processing time

You can view the status of your application by logging in to your TTP account. If the application status says “Pending Review,” then CBP has received and is processing your application.

While times can vary, CBP says it’s typical for a Global Entry application to be processed in four to six months. Note that the processing time can’t be expedited. If there’s a change in status, you can expect an email notification.

Receiving the Global Entry card

CBP says it can take two to four weeks to receive a Global Entry card after being approved. You can activate the card by signing in to your TTP account and clicking on “Activate Membership Card.” A Global Entry card can get you through NEXUS and SENTRI checkpoints, but you’ll still need a passport or permanent resident card for Global Entry at the airport.

Your Global Entry Known Traveler Number, or PASS ID, will be listed on the back of the card and on your TTP account. You can add your PASS ID to flight reservations to access Global Entry when traveling.

Renewing Global Entry

A Global Entry membership is valid for five years, and it’s possible to renew one year before it expires. If you submit a renewal application before the current membership expires, you can still access Global Entry benefits for up to 24 months after the expiration date.

Time frame to get Global Entry in a nutshell

Global Entry can help make your international travel more efficient when reentering the U.S. It may take four to six months to be approved for Global Entry after applying, paying the $100 fee and interviewing. Some travel credit cards will reimburse cardholders’ Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee.

Capital One’s Venture, Venture X, Spark Miles and Venture X Business cards offer up to a $100 statement credit for the Global Entry application fee. Compare Capital One travel cards and get rewarded for the way you travel.

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