Global Entry can be a godsend, saving you tons of time with a quick trip through customs and immigration when returning to the States and whisking through U.S. airport security thanks to TSA PreCheck benefits, too. Getting signed up, though, can be incredibly time-consuming – especially scheduling an in-person interview to finalize enrollment.
But now there’s a brand-new way to skip the headaches of tracking down an interview slot, simply walking in before heading off on an international trip. The federal government on Monday officially launched “Enrollment on Departure” at Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD), offering walk-in appointments to eligible travelers before boarding an international flight.
From 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. every day, travelers who have been conditionally approved for Global Entry can simply head to a new office near gate B41 at Dulles and knock out their interview. You need your passport, a document proving U.S. residency like a driver’s license or utility bill, and yes, a boarding pass for an international flight – travelers flying domestically in and out of Dulles won’t be allowed.
It’s only available at D.C.’s Dulles Airport currently. A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether this program could expand to additional U.S. airports.
But that’s a safe bet as federal officials continue finding ways to break the logjam of applicants trying to get Global Entry as international travel demand has surged. Customs and Border Protection processed a record 3.8 million Global Entry applications last year, according to the agency. And while some lucky travelers can get conditionally approved and snag an interview within a matter of weeks, others are left waiting in limbo for conditional approval for months, struggle to find any interview availability at a nearby airport, or both.
This new option should expedite the process, especially if it eventually expands to other U.S. airports. It goes hand in hand with the longstanding Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival, another popular way to bypass the hunt for elusive in-person appointments
Rather than scheduling an interview, you can simply wrap up your enrollment process when returning from an international trip – there’s typically a designated lane to walk up for a quick interview while clearing immigration. Best of all it’s available at nearly 70 airports, including a few international airports that have U.S. customs pre-clearance like Dublin (DUB) or a dozen airports in Canada.
Whether Enrollment on Departure will ever be that widely available remains to be seen. But it’s a big step in the right direction that could ease the enrollment process – and just the latest improvement to the popular trusted traveler program.
Last year, the federal government quietly launched a Global Entry mobile app that enrolled travelers can use to complete their arrival process. No need to wait to use a Global Entry kiosk: Just fire up the app, take a selfie, and head through customs and immigration. After initially launching at just seven U.S. airports, the app is now available at 22 airports – including a few abroad with Preclearance facilities.
Lead photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection