I read on https://millionmilesecrets.com/guides/get-a-same-day-walk-in-appointment-at-these-global-entry-enrollment-centers/ (mirror):

It may be hard to get an interview, but some enrollment centers accept walk-ins when you are arriving from an international flight.

Why are walk-ins for Global Entry interview typically only accepted when arriving from an international flight (and not a domestic flight, or simply walk into the airport without taking a flight)?

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    One anecdotal experience: In February i had an appointment in JFK the day after my arrival. I tried to do Enrollment on Arrival nonetheless, but would have needed to wait 1 hour for the officer. So i just walked over to the enrollment office in T4 to check if walk-ins were possible, and sure thing, i just had to wait around 15 - 20 minutes, without them checking on what flight i arrived. That article also mentions Enrollment on arrival, which i wouldn't call "walk-in" since they don't happen in the regular enrollment centers, but directly at the immigration booth. – dunni Sep 8 '19 at 21:22

Adding this now as an answer instead of a comment: The article refers to Enrollment on Arrival as "walk-in". However, the enrollment on arrivals don't happen at the regular enrollment centers, but rather directly at the immigration booths which you only can reach by arriving on an international flight.

Example: In JFK the enrollment center where you can make appointments, is in terminal 4. However, enrollment on arrival is possible in terminals 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8.

Independent of EoA, you can of course just stop by the enrollment center to check if they have capacity for a walk-in (e.g. because of short notice cancellations), and nobody there asks if you had an international flight (source: own experience in February 2019).

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  • Thank you, this is good to know, I wasn't aware that the enrollment on arrivals happen at a different place from the enrollment centers. – Franck Dernoncourt Sep 8 '19 at 21:28
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    It might not be the case at all airports, but for the few i checked, the EoA and enrollment center locations were different (JFK, SFO, LAX) – dunni Sep 8 '19 at 21:30

To qualify for a walk-in interview, according to the same website you need to arrive from an international flight:

Here is how you qualify for an interview on arrival:

  • You must already have received conditional approval
    • You must be returning from an international trip
    • You’ll need to bring your passport, documents providing evidence of residency: a driver’s license with your current address, mortgage statement, rental payment statement, utility bill and a permanent resident card (if applicable)

That is one of the requirements for a walk-in, although domestic flights are also available for Global Entry:

All Global Entry members are eligible for TSA PreCheck.

(GOV Website)

But to have a walk-in appointment for some reason you need to be on an international flight.

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  • @FranckDernoncourt Sorry, no idea, maybe domestic lines are shorter anyway? – Daniil Sep 8 '19 at 21:14

You can walk in to any Global Entry interview location and hope to get a walk-in interview once you are pre-qualified for Global Entry. (source: I walked in for my interview without a flight instead of waiting a month for my scheduled interview. If they have the capacity or an opening they will conduct your interview then.) The particular mechanism which you are referring to guarantees a walk-in interview, which is why they are hesitant to say that you can get a walk-in anytime by just showing up at the location.

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    Thanks, when you walked in for your interview, did the staff seem surprised or used to it? – Franck Dernoncourt Sep 9 '19 at 7:07
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    @FranckDernoncourt They weren't surprised. IIRC for the particular location I went to, there was a sign in sheet in the waiting area, only for people who had appointments. The only workers were behind a closed door that said not to open, so I waited until someone came out to call someone with an appointment to let them know I was waiting as a walk-in. She said it could be a while in the typical gruff TSA type way, but it ended up being no more than 45 min. – spacetyper Sep 9 '19 at 7:11
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    @FranckDernoncourt Happy to help. This was about 3 years ago FYI, but I know people who did walk-ins like this as recently as last year. – spacetyper Sep 9 '19 at 7:18

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