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If you need a Global Entry appointment, expand your search and make a trip of it

Each Friday, we feature a reader-submitted tip as our Travel Tip of the Day. This week’s tip comes from reader Anita B., who sent in a great piece of advice during the partial government shutdown earlier this year:

“I wanted to relate our experience with making Global Entry interview appointments. It was at the high (low?) point of the backups in TSA. Everyone wanted PreCheck or Global Entry to avoid the lines. We were planning on traveling within a month or two.

“We live in Chicago. There was nothing, nothing in the area. Most of them were so backlogged they weren’t even making appointments, so I started casting a wider net. I found a Global Entry interview site in Port Clinton, Ohio. It would be about four hours away. We booked it. We left early, had our interviews, then found a great little restaurant right on the shore of Lake Erie. After lunch I dipped my toes in Lake Erie—which meant I had touched every Great Lake (lifetime achievement!). We bought some T-shirts in a tourist shop, sent some postcards—made a mini vacation out of it—and drove back over northern Indiana. We were home for dinner.

“Point being: Look for locations off the beaten path and make a fun trip out of the appointment.”

This is a great idea. Global Entry, of course, is a great way to simplify your international travels, and you can get the application fee covered with certain travel credit cards. Getting an appointment is often the most difficult part of the process. Thanks, Anita!

 

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5 Comments On "If You Need a Global Entry Appointment, Expand Your Search and Make a Trip of It"
  1. Sandra|

    Had a similar experience a few years ago. All San Francisco appointments were at least six months out. Kept checking San Francisco when I realized I would be in Hawaii in a month. Got an appointment in Honolulu with plenty of availability.

  2. Susan Athey|

    We did the same thing – made a weekend out of Global Entry. This was when Global Entry had just started and there were very few places to have an interview. We ended up flying to Las Vegas, having the interview, and spending the weekend.

  3. Nancy DeWitt|

    You can also do your interview (for new and renewing applicants) when you come through customs at many airports, no appointment necessary but you have to have submitted your on-line application in advance. I just renewed my GOES card in San Francisco on our return trip from Panama. It did add about 30 minutes to my time getting through customs, but our luggage still hadn’t arrived at the carousel so it didn’t slow us down at all.

  4. Amy|

    We did this as well! Hopefully it’s not as necessary now, but at the time we couldn’t get appointments in Portland for at least 8 months. I read another tip that someone shared at that time and checked out Seattle. They had much earlier appointments AND had Saturday appointments! My sister and I made the 3-hour road trip. We go to Seattle fairly frequently, so checked out the opportunities. We attended a free Shakespeare in the Park performance the evening before our appointment, then headed straight from our appointment to a ferry to Bainbridge Island for the day before driving back to Portland. It ended up feeling like a mini-vacation instead of a chore. At the time, we did it just for our international travel. What we didn’t know is that shortly after we got our Global Entry we both would be traveling almost monthly as our mother who lives in another state became very ill. The TSA precheck component of Global Entry was completely invaluable for the next several years. We were so glad we made that little Global Entry road trip!

  5. Lorna Allenbrand|

    We live in SoCal but have family in British Columbia, Canada. We wanted to get our Global appointments in Vancouver, BC but it was very difficult to find an opening on short notice. So we flew to Seattle, Washington, drove to Bellingham to stay overnight. The next morning we had our Global interviews in a small Immigration office at Blaine, Washington, then drove 30 minutes to cross the border into Canada. At that was on Thanksgiving Day: it was open. We got our cards in the mail the following Tuesday !

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