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Global Entry Approval Times: Some Very Long, While Others Almost Instant

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Thinking of enrolling in Global Entry? (Assuming your state isn’t blacklisted, of course.)

Settle in: you may wait a long time for your application to be approved. (And that’s before the in-person interview.)

Or you may be approved within a day.

Global Entry application approval times are all sorts of wonky right now.

Here are some data points for you to consider.

Last Summer: CBP Closed Offices

A friend of mine applied for Global Entry last summer. She used the Global Entry application fee credit from my IHG Premier Rewards Club MasterCard.

She was conditionally approved — meaning the only step left was to interview at a Global Entry office. She was so excited to get Global Entry before leaving on a couple of international trips.

Then she received this email.

That seems like when everything started to go downhill with Global Entry applications.

(She texted me last night: “I’ve scheduled about 5 or 6 appointments but they have cancelled every single one.”)

–> RELATED: Travel Credit Cards with Global Entry Application Fee Credit

Global Entry logo

Three Applications, Two Different Results

Because my wife and I have Global Entry credit available across several cards, we gift the perk to friends and family. Here are some recent data points.

Rick

I gifted my Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s Global Entry credit to my friend Rick. He applied for Global Entry on November 9, 2019.

As of today, he still hasn’t received conditional approval.

Mallory

Family member Mallory used the credit from my personal Delta Reserve card.

She applied on February 4, 2020 — and received conditional approval on February 10. However, the soonest available appointment at her home airport isn’t until August.

Julio

Mallory’s husband, Julio, also applied for Global Entry on February 4. He paid the fee with my personal Delta Platinum Amex card. As of today, he hasn’t been approved.

Frustrated businesswoman banging head against the desktop in front of a pc in her workplace
“What do you mean ‘still pending’?” (©iStock.com/AntonioGuillem)

Other Applicants’ Wait Times

FlyerTalk has a thread devoted to Global Entry approval times.

This user’s waited for five months. Their husband, meanwhile, was approved in 12 hours.

Hechi Sun says, “I applied on 08/21/19 and still pending to date 03/06/20. However, my wife applied on 01/30/20 and got [conditionally approved] in two days on 02/01/20.”

This user applied in late July — and received conditional approval last week.

But then here’s another two-day success story.

User Kelly Burton suggests sexism is at play, writing “my spouse and I applied same night his was approved in days and here I am a month later still waiting as well.” I don’t think that’s the case. Remember that in my above examples, Mallory was conditionally approved — and both dudes are still waiting.

A businessman contemplates a lesson learned.
(©iStock.com/fizkes)

Here’s What Happened When We Asked a CBP Officer

Rick and I returned to LAX a couple of weeks ago, following a mileage run to London.

We asked the CBP officer manning the “Global Entry Interview Upon Arrival” cubicle at the Tom Bradley International Terminal if he could check on Rick’s application.

“Your application is still very new,” the officer explained.

“Even though he applied in November and it’s March?” I asked.

“Yep,” said the officer. “Wait another three or four months or so.”

Renewal Data Points

FWIW, both my wife and I applied for Global Entry renewals last year and paid with our Platinum Card from American Express. Our approvals were successfully processed within about four weeks each.

What’s Your Experience?

Did you recently apply for Global Entry? Or know someone who did? How about renewals? Please share your experience in the below Comments section!

— Chris

Featured image: Global Entry and APC Kiosks, located at international airports across the nation, streamline the passenger’s entry into the United States. Photo by James Tourtellotte

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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10 Comments

  1. My recent renewal, my second, was fully approved within two days of submission of the application. Curiously, the approving center was the location where I last had an in-person interview for my prior renewal five years ago.

  2. I applied for renewal for NEXUS last July 20th. (Expiration was 10/31/2019) I just received the conditional approval on Friday. It took them 9 months to review and now they are making me go to an interview for the renewal to get final approval.

  3. My recent renewal was fully approved within 2 days, and I received the new card within a week. No complaints.

  4. I submitted my renewal (before it expired) in July 2019 and it took 2 months to get approved.
    My wife submitted her renewal (one day after it expired) in July 2019 and it took 7 months to get approved. Even though it expired, it didn’t require an interview.

  5. I applied almost a year before expiration. Submitted application on Thursday, approved on Tuesday. New card arrived the following week.

  6. My Global Entry renewal took 7 months (from August 2019 until March 2020). Luckily I did not need to go info another interview.

  7. I had GE for years. Then one day it was cancelled, due to a DUI many years prior.
    (Apparently they think I was going to fly the airplane?) Not sure what that had to do with aviation security. It also suspended my pre-check. Weird.

    Anyway: I find with the new electronic check-in and kiosks GE doesn’t have the value it once had. I certainly wouldn’t pay for it.

    Pre-check is still nice, but if you can’t get it, CLEAR is a reasonable option. (Or just get to the airport early)

  8. Chris,
    The four of us used the AmEx Plat GE rebate. I got preapproved within 6 weeks, last spring. Interviewed and got my card early February. My son got preapproved within weeks, January 2020. Will schedule his interview for end of April. My daughter got preapproved within weeks back in the fall, interviewed and got her GE card before Thanksgiving.
    My wife is the outlier. She applied back around Thanksgiving, we’re still waiting for her pre-approval. No idea why.

  9. HuntingtonGuy Reply

    I live outside the wire in NY. My application for renewal was accepted and my fee collected and then I received an email saying that as a NY resident my renewal would be no bueno and about a week later my fee was credited back. Sadly, we are the victims of politics here and I very much miss the convenience that GE provided.
    Clear helps a bit but having to return to the no shoes, belt, remove laptop bla, bla, bla security line is disappointing.
    Hopefully we residents will not remain pawns in this silly power struggle.

  10. I had set a calendar reminder to myself to renew at the 1 year mark I went for my renewal this week, and got approval in 1 day. That was a nice surprise.

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