The U.S. Customs and Border Protection runs a program called Global Entry, allowing low-risk travelers to complete an application, submit to a background check and interview, and eventually be approved for a "fast lane" through immigration and customs when arriving in the US from a foreign destination.

What steps are involved in the application and approval process? And, specifically, about how long on average do applicants have to wait from the time of their application to the time of their final approval?

3 Answers 3


Although they say "The process may take 4-6 weeks", when I did it, it only took a couple of weeks after submitting my application.

At that point I had to make an appointment to go down to the airport for an interview. I was able to find an appointment date easily. The process at the airport took about half an hour and then I was good to go right away.

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    I completed the application and got conditional approval just 1-2 days later. However, appointments slots at the nearest airport were fully booked until almost a month later.
    – jrdioko
    Dec 26, 2011 at 5:11

My application was approved in what seems to be the standard time, about two weeks. The next step is to schedule an interview and from what I read on blogs this is what takes most time. Indeed so: I live in Phoenix and next available interview was two months ahead. Looking for alternatives I noticed that there was a selection, called SEMA October 2012 where they had openings in one week. Doing some research I found out that this was a conference in Las Vegas. I could find a flight for about $150, I said – what the heck! Got my interview scheduled and my airline tickets and I was ready to go. One last detail was to have the exact information with the location of SEMA show in Las Vegas. And then I discovered: you could not get admitted to the conference without a pass. Cost of the pass: $75. The attempt to talk to the show organizers or representatives of Global Entry, were – as you may imagine – futile. I was trapped. So pay attention when you make the selection of the interview location and don’t forget like I did the pertaining line from The Three American Lies.


My approval was very fast. I did the application on a Tuesday and in 6 days I got my pre-approved letter.

But I have a cousin that has been waiting for the approval/denial answer for more than 4 months. So basically there is not an exact waiting time.

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