Global Entry Travelers Now Have a 24-Month Renewal Grace Period

U.S. Customs and Border Protection extended the Global Entry renewal period because of delays due to COVID-19.
Jan 19, 2022

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection is giving international travelers more time to use their current Global Entry membership while they wait for a renewal. Global Entry is a program that allows preapproved travelers to use automatic kiosks at select airports to speed through customs when they arrive in the U.S. It also includes TSA PreCheck benefits when flying domestically.

Previously, there was an automatic six-month extension if Global Entry members had reapplied but hadn't yet been approved by their expiration date. That grace period has now been extended to 24 months because of the volume of applications.The extension of Global Entry benefits may give people more peace of mind that they can still travel without the hassle of waiting in long lines.

Here’s what you should know about Global Entry right now.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the extension

The process of being approved for Global Entry can be very slow. It requires completing an online application and scheduling an in-person interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. CBP says prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was processing 80% of incoming Global Entry applications within 16 days. The remaining applications that required additional review generally took 90 days or more to complete.

But during the first few months of the pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security closed all Global Entry Enrollment Centers to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The centers didn’t reopen until September 2020, which caused a huge backup in processing applicants and scheduling interviews.

You might be able to schedule a Zoom interview

Some renewing applicants might need another interview if there are any major changes to your account, like a name change. At this point, certain Global Entry Enrollment Centers don’t have any available appointments until next year, so renewing applicants might have to wait months before completing the in-person interview step of the process. There is also an option to schedule a Zoom interview for renewing applicants.

New and renewing applicants who have to complete an interview may also be able to use Enrollment on Arrival. Conditionally approved Global Entry applicants can do their in-person interview when returning to the U.S. on an international flight at any of the 60 airports that participate in the program. New applicants now have more than a year (485 days) from the date of their application to complete the enrollment process, including the interview.

How to qualify for the 24-month grace period

First, you must already be a current Global Entry member. You’ll become eligible to renew one year prior to your membership expiration date. (Membership lasts five years after you're approved.)

It’s imperative to submit a renewal application before your current membership expires to take advantage of the extended grace period. Travelers arriving in the U.S. during this grace period don't need to show any special documents to use Global Entry lanes.

New Yorkers can now apply to Global Entry

The ban that prevented New York residents from applying to Global Entry was lifted last year. Now, New Yorkers will be able to apply for the first time or for renewal. From February to July 2020, the DHS stopped allowing New Yorkers to participate in this Trusted Traveler program due to a dispute over state laws that prohibited federal access to Department of Motor Vehicles records.

Some credit cards cover the Global Entry application fee

If it’s about time to renew, check your wallet. You may not have to spend your own cash to pay for the application. Several of the best travel cards offer statement credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry. Here’s a list of some of those cards:

GENERAL TRAVEL CARDS

How often does the credit renew?

Every 4 years.

Every 4 years.

Every 4 years.

Every 4 years.

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Every 5 years.

Every 4 years.

Every 5 years.

Every 5 years.

Every 4 years when used for a Global Entry application fee; every 4.5 years when used for a TSA PreCheck application fee. Terms apply (see rates and fees).

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card (this offer isn't currently available through NerdWallet)

Every 4 years.

AIRLINE CARDS

How often does the credit renew?

Every 5 years.

Every 4 years.

HOTEL CARDS

How often does the credit renew?

Every 4 years.

Every 4 years when used for a Global Entry application fee; every 4.5 years when used for a TSA PreCheck application fee. Terms apply (see rates and fees).

Current as of September 2021.

You shouldn't wait to renew

The bottom line is there’s a huge backlog to get or renew membership for Global Entry. You might have to wait months to get an appointment for an interview. As long as you reapply before your membership expires, you can continue to use the benefits for another 24 months while your renewal application is processed.

Traveling internationally requires a lot more preparation than it did before the pandemic. You should not only renew your Global Entry, but also renew your passport at least six months in advance (the U.S. Department of State is backed up, too) and check COVID-19-related entry requirements at your destination. After all, you should be excited to travel again, not anxious that government delays will stop you from getting the documents you need for your next trip.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, you can start the renewal process and pay the application processing fee online. A subsequent interview may be required, so check your application status for updates.

Renewing Global Entry can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Currently, CBP is offering a 24-month grace period to those who start the renewal process before their existing status expires. This should be plenty of time to keep your benefits active while your renewal is pending.

According to CBP, you may be required to complete another interview when you renew your Global Entry. To find out, keep a close eye on your online application status once you’ve started the renewal process.

The renewal fee for Global Entry is $100 (the same cost as your original application). Many travel credit cards offer reimbursement for the Global Entry application fee if you use these cards to pay it.

The Global Entry grace period means you can continue using Global Entry benefits for up to 24 months if you apply for renewal before your existing membership expires. If you miss this deadline to begin the renewal process, you won’t get the benefit of the grace period.

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