Global entry can seem like a long process, but it happens quicker than one would expect. Those of you new to the process like our family, might think to yourself there is no way this will be ready in time, however don’t be discouraged! This is the second part of our Global Entry review, check out part one here.
Our experience with Global Entry at Philadelphia International Airport was extremely quick and pleasant. To start, you set up your initial account online at CBP website; be sure to set your kids up with their own email addresses because they will need their own accounts. After you fill out the forms online, you pay your $100 fee and wait for the approval. Our family is big on travel cards, so Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve both reimburse you the $100 fee, other cards have similar benefits, but these are the two we use, feel free to send us an email and we will send you a referral.
Getting approval to set up the Global Entry interview took just a few days of waiting and setting up the interview can be a bit intimidating. Immediately upon receiving the email, you go to the CBP site, sign in, and search for time slots at the location nearest to you; basically, the closest international airport. At first, all the reservations were booked and we started to get nervous, so I called and was informed that you have to keep going on and checking, but they open up the interviews one month at a time, so they are not as booked up as it seems. Once September opened, we quickly picked time slots for the beginning of the month; now all we had to worry about was how long does it take after the interview?!
Instructions for getting to our interview location were on the CBP site when we picked the interview. Park at Terminal A West, go to the third floor, the International Arrivals Hall, and wait to be called….We arrived, parked, and took the elevators up to the third floor, walk just down the hallway and you are there! If you have ever flown into Philadelphia International Airport from an international flight, this is where you are after going through customs and the elevators we took are the same ones you would take down to baggage….A CBP officer came out and took all four of us back, to an office where there was another CBP officer and we did interviews two at a time…A few quick questions, a picture, and fingerprints, and we are done!
My appointment was at 7 pm, we arrived at 6:35 and were walking back to the car at 6:57 with all four interviews satisfied. The Global Entry was approved immediately and added to the passports, but it takes a few days to get the identification number and longer to get the cards, but you can just use your passport anyway. There didn’t seem to be any arriving flights at the moment, so I’m sure part of this timeline was just luck, but pleasant nonetheless! Here is our timeline….
Website account, application, and payment: August 9 (Amex reimbursed on 8/12)
Application approved email : August 13 (this is when you can start picking interviews)
Interview: September 12 (Approval instantly and useable)
Status change email: September 24
Global Entry Card: Received!
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