If you have a Global Entry membership, which allows you to skip some of the airport lines, lucky you. But you might want to check your expiration date.
A majority of Global Entry members who joined the program in 2012 to 2014 are applying for renewal now, according to Pete Acosta, Trusted Traveler Programs director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Factor in the coming summer travel season and this year’s partial government shutdown, and you have all the makings of a possible delay in your membership renewal.
Global Entry gives expedited customs clearance to pre-approved, low-risk travelers arriving in the United States and grants them TSA PreCheck status. It can shave minutes, if not hours, from your transit times. Understandably, Global Entry is wildly popular. It has grown from fewer than 15,000 members in 2009 to more than 6 million in 2019, Acosta says.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about renewing Global Entry:
Q: How do I find out when my Global Entry membership expires?
A: You can find your Global Entry expiration date by logging into your Trusted Traveler Programs account. If it’s going to expire within one year, select the blue “Renew Application” button under “Program Membership” and proceed accordingly.
There’s no penalty for renewing early. Your membership will be valid for five years from the date your current Global Entry membership expires.
Q: Will Global Entry notify me if my membership is about to expire?
A: CBP sends you an email notification when your membership status changes. Acosta says that its systems send out notifications but that they sometimes end up in spam or junk folders. He adds, “We have no control over your email, and we highly recommend that you periodically log into your TTP account to check for updates.”
Within a year, Global Entry members will begin receiving a reminder each time they use the kiosk upon arrival in the United States, alerting them of the number of days before their membership expires.
Q: My Global Entry lasts longer than five years. Am I special?
A: Yes you are (kind of). Technically, Global Entry expires five years after your next birthday. If you apply shortly after your birthday, you’ll have almost six years of eligibility.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: It costs $100. However, some credit cards, such as American Express, will reimburse you for your membership. Check your card to see whether it offers this benefit.
Q: Do I really have to fill out that form all over again?
A: Yes. CBP changed its online systems in the last five years, so you will need to create a new account when you submit a request for renewal.
Q: Do I need to schedule another interview?
A: An interview for membership renewal “may not be necessary,” according to CBP. Once you submit your renewal application and fee, periodically check your TTP account for updates to learn whether you are required to go to a Global Entry enrollment site for an interview. You’ll receive an email when your membership status changes. CBP declined to say how many members would need a new interview.
Q: What if I can’t find a convenient interview location?
A: Instead of scheduling an appointment at a CBP Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment center, conditionally approved Global Entry members can have their interviews without an appointment when they arrive on an international flight at any of the 49 airports participating in CBP’s Enrollment on Arrival program.
Q: How do I know if Global Entry received my renewal application?
A: You can check the status of your application from your TTP website dashboard, which is displayed after you log in. If your application status is “Pending Review,” then your application has been received and is being processed.
Q: How long does it take to renew Global Entry?
A: Processing times vary by applicant. The extended partial government shutdown substantially added to the backlog of CBP’s TTP applications and renewals.
Q: Is there a grace period?
A: Yes. If you submit your renewal application before your five-year membership ends, CBP will give you a six-month grace period to complete and submit your renewal.
Q: When will I get my new Global Entry card?
A: It typically takes about one to two weeks, but some members say they’ve received their cards within a week.
Q: What if I’m rejected?
A: CBP says it “may” send you a written notification with the reason for your denial. Also, you can check your TTP account for a revocation letter. Contact the CBP Trusted Traveler ombudsman and request reconsideration. You can also send an email to the CBP Trusted Traveler ombudsman at email@example.com, Attention: CBP Ombudsman. There are no special provisions other than reconsideration by the ombudsman for Global Entry members who have been denied a renewal, according to CBP.
Keeping your Global Entry membership may not be quite as difficult as getting it, but nothing is automatic. If your membership is about to expire and you want to remain a trusted traveler for the next five years, start planning now.
Christopher Elliott is a consumer advocate, journalist and co-founder of the advocacy group Travelers United. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.