My Global Entry Interview

So yesterday, I travelled to Denver International Airport to conduct my Global Entry interview.

For those of you who don’t know, Global Entry is a trusted traveller programme administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is a way for low-risk travellers to be able to quickly clear customs and immigration when arriving in the United States. Since it also includes TSA Precheck, it is an invaluable programme that can save a traveller a lot of time.

Or, as CBP would tell it…

So, what was it like?

The airport could improve their wayfinding, as the offices for enrolling in Global Entry can be tough to find. In Denver, the offices are to your right when you’re facing the doors to greet international arrivals. When you get to the door, you have to pick up a phone and dial an extension to let them know you’re there and to come get you.

When I was in the waiting area, I was asked a few questions. Basically, what I do for work, why I want to join Global Entry, have I ever been fingerprinted before, etc. I was also asked to read a note that was pasted at eye level in order to understand that:

  1. I have to follow the guidelines of the programme.
  2. I’m still obligated to declare stuff I bring to the United States to CBP.
  3. That I need to supply airlines my known traveller number in order to actually receive the TSA Precheck benefit.

I was then fingerprinted and a photo was taken. Basically, I was in and out within 15 minutes or so. Ten minutes after that, I received e-mail notification that I was in the programme. It was quite cordial, but the interviewers are CBP officers with guns, so there is still an air of officiousness.

How long did it take me to get Global Entry?

It took me seventeen days to get from application to accepted into Global Entry. And I think it was mostly due to interview availability. If I was able to get an interview the day after I got my conditional approval, it would have been just eight days. This was my timeline:

  • Submitted my application: 20 February
  • Received conditional approval: 27 February
  • Interview: 8 March
  • Acceptance: 8 March

I’ve heard rumours that once you receive your conditional approval, you are basically in the programme. While I cannot speak to the veracity of that claim, it seems to pan out in my case.

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