Nearly every truly frequent international traveler now enjoys the magic of the Global Entry program. Those who enroll submit to a background check, and once approved, can re-enter the U.S. via a special kiosk lane at customs & immigration that takes seconds instead of minutes (or in some cases, hours).
What makes Global Entry even better is that once approved, you automatically get into the TSA’s essential PreCheck program, which speeds you through airport security.
At $100 for five years, you get two proven line-busters at the airport. That’s just $20 per year. That’s a no-brainer, right?
Well, the problem with Global Entry is that it might have become TOO popular. Especially after all the recent falderal about long airport lines. That popularity means that the wait to get your Global Entry status has swollen to unacceptable levels.
For example here’s one of several emails we’ve received recently at TravelSkills:
Wondering if you can discuss the ridiculous long waits for the Global Entry appointments at SFO? The wait is now six months! Luckily I managed to get a cancelled time slot, so I only needed to wait two months. My “interview” took less than five minutes, even though each interview is allotted 15 minutes. There were three agents there at the enrollment office. So instead of handling just 12 people in that hour, they clearly could have handled 24-36 people in that one hour, at least halving the wait times.
Well, that frustration might be ameliorated soon at San Francisco International and elsewhere. According to SFO, US Customs & Border Protection has announced a pilot program to expand the hours of the Global Entry enrollment office to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The pilot is set to begin on June 12 and run for 60 days, at which time the program will be evaluated.
“Due to the overwhelming success of the Global Entry program and the subsequent increase in applications, CBP clearly recognizes the need for additional interview opportunities,” said Brian J. Humphrey, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in San Francisco.
A CBP spokesperson told TravelSkills that currently the the 24/7 pilot program will be tested at SFO only.
The Global Entry Enrollment Center at SFO is located pre-security on the arrivals level of the International Terminal. The facility already offers permanent hours of 7:00am-11:00pm, and will expand to 24/7 on June 12, 2016 for the 60-day pilot program. The expanded hours will offer an additional 826 appointment slots for travelers to enroll. For more information, visit: www.globalentry.gov.
Do you have Global Entry? Or are you in the queue waiting to get your membership? Please leave your comments below.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: United’s newest, longest flight + Tipping Uber drivers + Qantas 747 Trip Report + Confusion over PreCheck policies + No-fee earlier flights