Global Entry is by far one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I travel out of the country quite a bit, and having it shaves off not only a ton of time when I’m entering the country (sometimes I’m as much as an hour and a half faster than my travel companions that don’t have it) but a ton when I’ve leaving as well thanks to the included TSA Pre.
Before I was able to get it; however, I had to cross one massive hurtle: the in-person interview.
Even though Global Entry has been a thing for quite a while now, depending on where you live you might have to wait quite a long time in order to get your in-person interview after you’ve been preliminarily approved. Just because the first scheduled interview isn’t for another four months doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use the service for your trip next week.
A number of US airports have started offering the ability to do your in-person interview after you land. When you land at a participating airport you’ll go through customs like you’ve already been all the way approved and then do your in-person interview in a customs line. It can expedite your interview by months, and can allow you to use the service immediately.
The TSA started doing Global Entry interviews at customs in a few airports last year but has expanded the list to a pretty solid number since. Check out the full (massive) list here.
And if your travels aren’t taking you though any of these airports, consider trying to just do a walk-in interview at your local Global Entry interview site. I did that for mine, and the whole process from arrival to departure took less than 10 minutes.