We recently have had a few readers ask us how long does it take to get Global Entry because they applied months ago and have still not been conditionally approved. While the answer varies from person to person, there are a few factors that affect the timing including the government shutdown. We both recently applied to renew our Global Entry so we are sharing our personal experience with the Global Entry processing time as well.

How Long Does It Take To Get Global Entry?

If you are applying for Global Entry for the first time, the timing of how long it takes to be approved for Global Entry depends on how long it takes for each of the 2 steps:

1) For CBP to review your application and conditionally approve you  AND

2) How long it takes you to schedule an interview after you are conditionally approved.  (If you are applying to renew your Global Entry, you might be approved instead of conditionally approved and not have to complete an interview.)

The focus of this post is on Step #1: the Global Entry conditional approval time. While you can control the timing for scheduling an interview, you can’t really change how long it takes to be conditionally approved. See related post Scheduling Your Global Entry Interview Faster on how to schedule your Global Entry interview ASAP even if there are no appointments at your closest Global Entry enrollment center.

How Long Does Global Entry Conditional Approval Take?

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), processing times vary by applicant but on average it can take 3 to 5 weeks to be conditionally approved for Global Entry. (See this CBP page and this page both updated on December, 2018).

However, on the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) website at https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov/ there is a new alert in a red banner at the top that states the following:

The extended partial government shutdown has resulted in a substantial backlog of CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) applications and renewals.
Applicants for Global Entry (GE), SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST should expect significant delays in application processing times and limited appointment availability at TTP enrollment centers.
Conditionally approved GE members should seek to complete their GE interviews without an appointment upon arrival from an international flight at any of the 49 airports participating in CBP’s Enrollment on Arrival (EoA) program.

CBP does not state the new average times, but it seems according to this alert it is taking CBP longer than 3-5 weeks on average to be conditionally approved because of the government shutdown.

Our Personal Experience With the Global Entry Processing Time

We both recently applied to renew our Global Entry.  I applied to renew my Global Entry on 12/18/2018 and was approved on 12/23/2018 just 5 days later. My sister Matilda applied to renew her Global Entry on January 28, 2019 (the Monday when employees went back to work after the US government shutdown ended) and is still waiting to be conditionally approved more than 5 weeks later. (We will update this post when she is approved).

By comparison when we originally applied for Global Entry five years ago on the same day it took about 2-3 weeks for Patti’s application to be conditionally approved but Matilda’s took only about a week.

Other Data Points

According to online forums, the amount of time it is taking to be conditionally approved for Global Entry really does vary from person to person. There are spouses that apply for Global Entry the same day and one is conditionally approved in days while the other ends up waiting for weeks or months.

After reading other data points, it seems like Global Entry processing wait time is random and it is NOT a first in, first out process. There are people that applied after the government shutdown ended that have been conditionally approved while some people that applied before or during the shutdown are still waiting to be conditionally approved. Obviously it takes longer to complete some people’s background checks but I think the timing mostly depends on the speed of the employee assigned to review your application.

If you want to get an idea about how long the current Global Entry processing time is, see this thread on flyertalk for first time Global Entry applicants and this thread for Global Entry renewals.

For anyone that has recently applied for Global Entry how long did it take to be conditionally approved (or approved if renewing)?


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