We 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, it is clear that the average Global Entry processing time has drastically increased. I recently applied to renew my Global Entry so I am sharing my 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, 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 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to review your application and conditionally approve you; AND

2) How soon you can complete an interview after you are conditionally approved. (If you are applying for Global Entry for the first time you are required to complete an in-person interview. However 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 somewhat control the timing for scheduling an interview, you can’t 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?

global entry processing time

According to the CBP, they are currently receiving a high volume of applications and the average application processing time is 4-6 months.

However, many people have been waiting much longer than 6 months to be conditionally approved.

The average wait time for conditional approval has significantly increased in the last decade from a few weeks to a few months. COVID-19 further increased the delays in the processing time.

Our Personal Experience With the Global Entry Processing Time

I applied to renew my Global Entry on 1/22/2023 and was approved only a day later on 1/23/2023. My brother in law applied to renew his Global Entry December 2022 and was approved January 12, 2024 – 13 months later!

When my kids applied for Global Entry for the first time last summer they were conditionally approved in a few days but I would imagine young kids do not need an extensive background check.

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 spouse 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. Some people are conditionally approved within days while some people end up waiting for weeks or months to be conditionally approved. Obviously it takes longer to complete some people’s background checks, but I think the timing mostly depends on which office your application is sent to and 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 for other Global Entry applicants, see this thread on flyertalk for first time Global Entry applicants and this thread for Global Entry renewals.

Can You Expedite the Global Entry Approval Process?

Maybe. Some readers in the past have had success escalating their application by calling Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at (877) 227-5511 after waiting for 6 months but it is not clear if that will still help.

Please note that if you are applying to renew Global Entry, make sure to apply before your Global Entry expires. According to the CBP, If you submitted a renewal application before expiration of your current membership, then you can continue to use your benefits until the renewal is finalized. This way you will not be left without Global Entry while your renewal application is pending.

Unfortunately, it can take months to be approved for Global Entry. 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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