How to make it through the Global Entry process

I finally got my Global Entry application finished today. Here are some thoughts if you want to do the same.

Global Entry machines at an airport

  • It’s going to be tough if you don’t have a Global Entry office in your city. San Francisco is the only office in Northern California, it would suck to be in Sacramento and beyond.
  • The application process is fairly simple, but they will tell you there are 30 days to do the final interview and the next appointment is in 6 months.
  • You can do a walk-in, but there’s no guarantee you will be seen. I sat for 6 1/2 hours and was sent away at 8 pm. There were people waiting from Davis and other areas, so I was lucky enough to be local.
  • Get there at 7:00 am, don’t even bother walking in after noon. Today I only waited 3 1/2 hours and got it done.
  • Bring your laptop and charging cables. It’s a long time to wait and you’re going to kill your phone’s battery playing games and checking Facebook.
  • It’s probably not worth the effort if you only fly international once a year or so. It took me 10 hours of waiting to save 30-40 minutes in customs on each trip.
  • The folks running the office are working as hard as they can, don’t throw shade at them. They blast through the interviews and try to get as many people out the door as possible. It’s a popular program that is not getting the support it needs from higher above.
  • Bring the following items
    • Your passport. To be safe, make sure there are more than 6 months left before it expires.
    • Your driver’s license. Or something else that proves you live at the current address
    • Your Global Entry id number. This will be on the letter you receive or go to the web site and look for the number that starts with 9