How to Get an Earlier Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check Interview

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

I’ve written a lot in the past about Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check. I figured I should share a quick post about how to get an earlier Global Entry interview (or TSA Pre-Check).

When you’re initially thru the Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check application, you then have to have an in-person interview with a TSA agent at a participating airport. However, when I went to schedule my in-person interview, the waiting period was ~2 months. Plus, I didn’t even have a flight on the day of my newly scheduled interview! So, I would have to drive 30 minutes to the airport and 30 minutes back home. There has to be a better way, I thought.

Especially having an international flight and a couple domestic flights prior to my scheduled interview, it sure would be useful to have these perks.

Signage in O'Hare Airport

Signage in O’Hare Airport

So, prior to a domestic flight of mine, I arrived at the airport a bit early and walked into the TSA interview office right when they opened. There were about 5 people inside of the small 8-foot by 8-foot  white-walled room that all had their interviews scheduled. The woman that was checking the order asked me what my time was and I said that I was hoping for a drop-in interview since I happened to have a flight that day. She said that there would be no guarantees of an interview, but if someone didn’t show up or they finished early, I could possibly get in.

Just about 45 minutes of waiting went by and I was nearly ready to call it quits and head thru security to my gate, a stocky, male TSA agent with a mustache and scruff invited me into the backroom to chat with him. That’s exactly what it was – a chat. Just about all of the countries I have been to, why I wanted Global Entry privileges, and so on. All-in-all this took about 15 minutes and I was able to use TSA Pre-Check that same day.

Global Entry Card

Global Entry Card

I now had a Known Traveler ID Number that I could put into my bookings to receive TSA Pre-Check on participating airlines. Score!

As I write this on a flight to Vietnam, I am relieved knowing that when I get back to the States, I can breeze thru customs with Global Entry.

Just note that this was at the Pittsburgh International Airport. I’m sure that as long as you’re polite and arrive an hour or two earlier than you normally would, you can interview way ahead of your interview date.

Let me know in the comments if you were able to get an earlier global entry interview date (or TSA Pre-Check interview date).


Life-Long Learner, Explorer, & Web Developer. Currently a Software Engineer at Jazz.

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