People Are Messing Up Their Global Entry Interviews By Making One Simple Mistake

Global Entry lets you skip immigration and customs queues when you return to the U.S. It also gets you TSA PreCheck. It costs $100 and lasts five years. When you renew you may be asked to show up in person. Getting an in-person interview has been nearly impossible.

The government has rolled out Zoom interviews for renewals. A reader shares what that’s like:

When I scheduled, I got a Zoom appointment less than one month out.

It took less than 5 minutes. The officer was incredible friendly and he was based at O’Hare. He said he works 10 hours a day and 4 additional hours conducting online interviews to clear the backlog of applications. No questions what so ever were asked and said the renewal card will be in the mail in two weeks.

Boom. Done. And yet people are still messing up their Zoom interviews for Global Entry because they are simply missing the interviews. The government’s process is causing confusion about what time zone the interview is scheduled for. People just assume the time assigned to them is in their own time zone when it’s the time zone that the government officer is in.

My appointment said 11:45 AM Chicago and that was it. No reminders. I logged in 15 minutes early per their instructions and the officer joined right away. …The main call out is observing the time and the city name to determine the time zone.

I don’t know. When I schedule a meeting in a Google calendar, Google handles the conversion for me and for the other party.

Since I more or less live ‘on East Coast time’ for work since my office is in DC and the business news cycle is mostly East Coast-driven in the U.S. I’m used to converting time zones. I schedule most meetings in Eastern time even though I’m based in Central. Still, I can easily see missing this – assuming times presented to me are in my local time zone, especially since it’s online and the government has my address.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. When I renewed mine this year, a interview wasn’t even required. Are they now requiring interviews for all renewals or still a select few like before?

  2. My in-person took 5 minutes for me and i was out the door. One clown showed up without his passport!!! They asked him can he go home and come back he laughed at them. They told him the next appointment for him was in sept 24! We all were shocked but not surprised. I did my application in jan and couldn’t get an appointment till july 12. What a fool that’s all they really ask for is your passport

  3. With the app and the new machines, global entry just isn’t worth it anymore. Doesn’t save any time.

  4. Did my renewal interview last night on Zoom… Took all of 2 minutes to confirm my passport number and say “no arrests in the last 5 years”. Simple if you ain’t dumb.

  5. I don’t see any Zoom appointments available when I try to schedule one. Is it just me or is everyone seeing the same?

  6. For someone who needs global entry to not be used to local time zones, no sympathy here.

    Treat you global entry interview time as a flight taking off in that city.
    If you can’t get that right…well there’s one born every minute.

  7. @ Jorge, the agent and I talked about travel and NBA basketball. It took less than five minutes.

  8. Yes this. My Zoom interview was scheduled for 11:30 am Eastern and the confirmation printed out as 10:30 am Chicago. Same for my wife one hour later. Can also confirm barely five minutes for each Zoom interview. They asked us about travel to Mexico and Canada since it wasn’t picked up by the form and what I did in Bali and Qatar.

  9. I went through the entire applications process, no problem. However, then came “name of employer” I tried “none” I tried “retired” I literally did everything…it would not let me get past that page. I gave up. It would have been nice to have, but the time I wasted applying I now use standing in line. Sigh.

  10. Had a similar experience with last interview. Big tough , scary looking officer. Surprisingly really friendly and good natured. A positive experience. Easy interview too.

  11. I renewed my Global Entry a year early for fear of delays. In person interview the same week at DFW. EASY
    OH, They renew 5 years from original expiration, so I am good for 6 years

  12. Tom what do you mean Global Entry is no longer worth it. Just came back from Spain. Breezed thru immigration/ customs in 5 minutes with my wife and daughter. The other line was probably an hour long? Same was true coming back from Costa Rica in June.

  13. Yeah, people who are based in the Eastern Time Zone seem to assume that this is the only time zone there is (or that matters) – and this can lead to quite a bit of confusion sometimes. Another example of why proper communication is vital.

  14. I came back from Zurich July 8th 4pm. Thank god for GE,,,5 minutes. Never saw a bigger line for regular. Worth every penny and time.

  15. @Cmorgan and @Scott – Were those lines for Americans or foreigners who needed to get approved from an agency? Over the last few years, Americans have been able to use kiosks for entries a la Global Entry so I don’t see it as a great benefit like it used to be. Even at customs, it’s turned more into a European-style “Nothing to Declare” vs “Something to Declare” lanes so even there there is not great time savings.

  16. A big advantage is avoiding the Chamber of Horrors or (in my case) having to request a free massage that I grin through as the officer humiliates himself. Avoiding all that is worth it. Kiosks don’t always work, but they’re worth a try and can save some time.

  17. Global Entry paid off with first use. LHR to ORD. I swear there were a 1000 people in line. We needed to clear customs/immigration, take a tram to the other terminal, recheck luggage and board our next flight in about 70 minutes. Waiting in line we wouldn’t have stood a chance to make our connection home. As it was we followed the signs, bypassed the teeming hordes and were on our way in five minutes. One of those rare times when I am thinking “It can’t be this easy! After all we’re dealing with the government”

  18. My wife and I renewed our Global Entry cards about 4 months ago in Las Vegas. She had an in-person appointment and I completed the renewal application but was trying to coordinate an appointment. I went with her to her appointment and the agent was cool and also interviewed me. We both used Global Entry last Saturday at JFK airport, flying back from Greece via London. We both used the machines and went to the front of the line to see an agent (apparently because of Covid testing). The agent waved her right through but there was a big X on my slip, so he escorted me to another room where I had to wait for about 15 minutes. An agent finally called me up and asked if I had dual citizenship or more than one passport. The answer was no to both. He couldn’t figure out why the system didn’t like me. He was cool and “released” me.

  19. For the renewal. It helps if you have all your information available when you register online. It will time out if you walk away. Then for the interview. I needed to reschedule my appointment due to a business meeting. I was able to change the appointment online. You do need to set up their Zoom account prior to the interview. For the interview have your passport by your computer. The agent allowed me to step away and grab it out of the drawer. I did not read the fine print for documents to have for the interview online. It took a few minutes. I did not need to take an additional photo. I did have to repeat my birthday to him. That was it. I received my new Global Entry Pass in the mail. I updated my new ID number on the Global Entry website. I also had to update the ID number on my frequent flier airlines partners. Other than that…it sure beats the first time I went to the Airport for the interview.

  20. How do you specifically schedule a remote interview? My renewal has been ‘conditionally approved’ but on my TTP Dashboard the only option I can find is “Schedule Interview.” I tried going through that process for an available location somewhere in the country and it would confirm an appointment but nowhere in the process was a remote or Zoom interview shown as an option.

  21. I couldn’t find an open in person spot. I signed up for a zoom Appt in 13 months! Hopefully, I will be on a Viking River Cruise this winter and do an interview when I enter back in the United States.

  22. Zoom tried to update during interview and crashed interview. I had showed docs and answered some questions. I tried to resign in but it shows host is in another meeting — and now after 15 minutes to wait for host to start this meeting. I cannot get in touch with interviewer. What do I do?

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