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Global Entry is a US customs screening program that allows low-risk, pre-approved, international travelers expedited entry into the United States. Since US Customs and Border Protection runs the program, it also allows members to use TSA Pre✓ lines when traveling domestically. It’s an excellent tool for frequent travelers and easy to obtain for free through various travel rewards credit cards.
I first joined Global Entry in October 2013 after opening The Platinum Card® from American Express. Fast forward five years and I realized it was time to renew. I wanted to avoid any lapse in my membership since I use it to access the TSA Pre✓ lanes on a weekly basis. It turns out your membership lasts slightly longer than the five years advertised. For example, I applied in August 2013, but my expiration date was March 14, 2019. CBP sets the expiration date as your birth date immediately following your five-year anniversary and they allow you to renew your membership a full year in advance. However, this does not reset the clock or cause you to lose a year of membership should you choose to renew early.
If you were an early adopter and joined around that time, you’ll notice that the website is entirely different now. You’ll need to create a new account for Login.gov. Don’t worry; your information will still be there when you transition. Fortunately, I was aware of this new system when I updated my Global Entry membership after changing my last name.
Once you’re logged in, you just click “Renew Membership.” Then select Global Entry. If you plan to travel by car between Canada or Mexico, then also consider applying for NEXUS or SENTRI at the same time. Keep in mind that you can always use your Global Entry Trusted Traveler card to re-enter the United States in the expedited lanes, but you must have NEXUS or SENTRI to use the expedited lanes going into Canada or Mexico.
Next, you either confirm or update all your personal information; a piece of cake if you haven’t moved residences in the past five years. After that, you're prompted to select which countries you’ve visited since your last application. This was the most time-consuming part of my application, picking the 33 individual countries.
After submitting the application, it will prompt you to input a method of payment. Make sure to use a card that will provide a $100 statement credit for this expense.
Once your payment is processed, it will return to the main menu which displays your current application status. There are reported rare occasions in which applicants must appear for another interview for a renewal. Luckily, my application did not require another interview and approval took about five weeks.
For reference, here was my timeline:
- August 15th – Application Submitted
- August 18th – $100 statement credit posted to my Amex Platinum
- September 21st – Application status changed to “Approved”
- September 28th – Received renewed Trusted Traveler card in the mail
- New expiration date March 14, 2024
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)
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