This is the 5th anniversary of my first newsletter. For those of you that have been loyal readers for years, know I am a big proponent of Global Entry and recommend that over TSAPreCheck. For those of you that are not familiar with Global Entry, it is the Trusted Traveler Program, that not only gives you TSAPreCheck but also expedited return, through passport control, when you return from an international flight. Click here to learn all about it.
For a $100 fee, you have the benefits and privileges for 5 years. Several credit cards will even reimburse you for the fee, when you pay for it with that card. It’s a bit of an inconvenience to get approved, since you do have to go to an airport office for your interview. But that’s a one-time inconvenience for all the benefits you receive over 5 years.
Okay, so why am I telling you this again? Well I just went through my first 5-year renewal and I want to share some things, so you can avoid problems.
First, they say they will notify you of when your Global Entry is ready to expire. I don’t know how close to the expiration date that might be. I did not receive a notice. I happened to be curious as to when mine was. I went online in January, to see when mine was expiring. Surprise, it was on my birthday in June 2019. I immediately began the renewal process.
You may remember, we had a government shutdown in January. My renewal application got caught in the middle of all that. Then for months, it was pending, with a big notice across the page, that applications were backed up due to the shutdown. It wasn’t until late April, that my renewal was approved, to book my in-person appointment.
Luckily, I had to be picking someone up at the airport, on June 1st and was able to book my appointment at a convenient time, before the pick-up. The interviews are taken as booked. It goes quickly, you get your new picture taken and fingerprints again. Your number remains the same (you don’t have to update all your airline passenger info with a new number, like you have to with your passport) and you will get your new card in the mail in a few weeks.
What to be aware of:
Check your expiration date. It’s always 5 years, on your birthday, after you get your card. As an example, if you get your card in February and your birthday is in July, your card will expire five years on your birthday, not in February. You get a few extra months from when you were approved/renewed.
Don’t miss your renewal. Your card is canceled and you will have to apply for a new card.
Don’t cut it close. Government shutdowns have become frequent, don’t get caught up in needing to renew and you are delayed. The good news is, once you have your application pending, they do allow you extra time, past your birthday expiration date, to complete the renewal process. You must apply to renew before it expires.
What is Enrollment on Arrival? “With Enrollment on Arrival, Global Entry applicants who are conditionally approved can complete their interview, the last step of the Global Entry process, while they are clearing through United States Customs and Border Protection or Pre-clearance.” You can do this at most major international airports in the US and several in Canada.
Fingerprints This has always been a problem for me, my entire life. I have light prints. Every time I need to be fingerprinted, it takes several times and never great results. Well this time they had some wax in a can that helped; first time great prints. The agent told me when I return from a trip, to put hand lotion on, before I place my fingers on the pad. That will help. Just a tip for those of you that may have the same issue.
Sometimes you may get lucky. Some people, I know, were not required to go for an in-person interview and got their renewal in the mail. I asked the agent why that is. She said it’s just random.
Update your passport. If your passport expires during the 5-year period, you must go online and update your Global Entry account with your new passport number.
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