Going for a Global Entry Interview at SFO

a group of blue machines

I recently went with a friend for their Global Entry interview at San Francisco and it was not at all what I’d expected

They’d applied in March, the first interview date was in November. They tried to get an earlier interview at other airports they were flying through or go out of the country to do Enrollment on Arrival, but it just never worked out.

So Sunday morning we showed up at San Francisco airport about 30 minutes early for the interview.

The office is located in the International Terminal on the Arrivals level. If driving there, you’ll want to park in International Garage G, preferably on the 2nd level. Note it’s $2 per 15 minutes, so you might not want to get there too early.

Taking the walkway on level 2 we came around the corner and saw a closed currency booth and a handful of people sitting in chairs along a frosted glass wall with a door. A small sign above and on the door proclaimed that was the Global Entry office! Not what I was expecting. My interview at JFK had taken place in a modest space, but at least it had a waiting room and a place to check in.

a blue sign with white text
In retrospect, cutting off most of office picture on the website makes more sense…

So after double checking with those waiting that this was where we were supposed to be, we took a seat. About 10 minutes later someone popped out with a clipboard and started checking off names for the people who were there. When it was time for the next round of appointments, the same person came out and called names. Although many of the interviews went quickly, it didn’t seem like they were taking anyone before their appointment time even if an agent was free.

IMPORTANT TIP: They say they take walk-ins but don’t make a special trip. When people stopped by to enquire, they were told people the day before had waited almost 10 hours for an interview!

My friend had never been out of the country so the interview was quick — mostly just confirming their identity, taking their picture, and getting biometrics data.

What Do You Need to Bring to the Global Entry Interview?

This is another reason you’ll want to be deliberate about a walk-in appointment. They request you bring a copy of your conditional approval letter, or your PASSID number and a copy of your interview confirmation. I’m guessing for spontaneous walk-ins just your PASSID number might be sufficient, but if you don’t want risk wasted time, make sure you have the approval letter.

  • Copy of conditional approval letter or PASSID number and interview confirmation
  • Passport
  • Proof of residence — driver’s license, utility bill, mortage/rent statement, etc
  • Permanent Resident card (if applicable)
  • Court disposition papers for any prior arrests or convictions


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One Comment

  1. The route to lobby and GE office is located on the 3rd instead of the 2nd. Please correct the information and don’t mislead other people. I was following this article and almost missed my interview!

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