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Check Out The Global Entry Process, Part Two

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!

When planning your travels, check out our favorite planning site, Viator!

Happy travels!

13 responses to “Check Out The Global Entry Process, Part Two”

    • It’s an easy process, honestly surprising how fast it all happened. The key was paying close attention to the interview slots opening for the month. There are other programs that are similar depending on citizenship. Click on the link for the CBP in the post, you can even group them together if you require more than one.
      – B

  1. I recently completed this process and was surprised at how seamless and fast the experience was! I had to travel to a bit of a further airport but it was well worth it. In fact, I found out that I could have completed the interview when I arrived back from my trip to Mexico by alerting an agent when going through Customs!

    • We were told we could complete it on arrival from our next trip, but we felt that traveling with the kids it would be too much. Glad you also had a good experience.

  2. Glad it was such a good experience! My husband and I have been thinking of doing this for a while. We are closet to Newark but they are chaos. Will have to remember Philly! Thanks for the post!

  3. That’s great you could get reimbursed for the fee & the interviews went smoothly! It’s also good Global Entry is added to the passports immediately so you don’t have to wait to get the cards to travel

    • A bunch of travel cards cover you for the value, but some of these travel cards have high annual fees, so unless you maximize the benefits, its really just your money back. I didn’t know it would be added so fast! They send you a card as well (ours didn’t come yet), its similar to a passport card so you depending on where you’re traveling you, you might be able to just take the cards and leave the passport home.

      – B

  4. We did this pre-covid and it was an easy process for us also. It kid good to know that’s still the case.

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