That time is upon us – the Global Entry Trusted Traveler program has been around for over 5 years so many people are up for renewal. At $100 for a 5 year period (or, in my case, 5 1/2 years), it is really a cheap price to pay for the easy access it gives eligible travelers upon re-entry to the US. Not only does it really speed up the border entry process at airports, but it also confers TSA Pre status as well. So, even for a flyer who only does occasional foreign trips, if speed through our national airports’ security checkpoints is a priority, than it can be a good deal as well.
Read More: Guide To International Travel – Global Entry
How To Renew Your Global Entry Membership
The renewal process is really quite an easy one. To start, you can opt to renew your membership a full 365 days before it expires! There is one big reason that is great – free enrollment!
Through various programs and cards(see below for those methods), it is possible to get your Global Entry fee waived. For people that have that status or one of the cards that provides reimbursement, that can very much by a time-limited benefit. For instance, many of us took advantage of requesting our Global Entry codes from United Airlines before they ceased the program earlier this year. My code listed the expiration date as May 31, which I assume may be similar for most people.
Step 1 – Login
The first step is to login to the GOES website (Global Online Enrollment System) – link. If you are like us, you may have not entered this website since enrollment or since you last updated your travel documents. If that is the case and you do not remember what your username and password are, no problem. On your Trusted Traveler card that you would have received after acceptance into the program, you can find your Known Traveler Number. That is your membership number you can enter, along with your birthdate information, to retrieve your GOES ID and password. The ID will be sent to your e-mail and the password will be reset.
Step 2 – Manage Membership
One thing to remember (I had made this mistake) if you go to renew exactly 365 days out – next year is a leap year, so you will need to wait one more day than you actually think! But, once you are in your account, select Manage Membership.
Step 3 – Renew Application
If you are within the 365 day window of your expiration, you will see the option to Renew Application. If you are outside of that window, that option will not be there.
Step 4 – Verify Information
After you have selected for which program you are making application, you will be taken to the form you filled out about 5 years ago. And, it is pre-populated with all of your previous information. Go through and make any additions or changes needed.
One thing it will ask you for and not include previous answers for is the list of countries (outside of Canada and Mexico) that you have visited in the last 5 years. Make sure you grab your passport (and second passport, if you have one) so that you don’t forget any! I had heard that, even though it says you will need to schedule an appointment after approval, many people were approved and did not need to have another interview. Since I am outside of the US at this time, I really did not want to have to do an interview. However, when I had to put Iran in the list of countries visited, I thought there might be a chance they may want to interview me again. 🙂
Step 5 – Confirmation and Payment
After completing the form, you will need to enter your method of payment. This is important. If you are paying as a result of a voucher as an elite (which United used to do for their elites and Delta does for their Platinum and Diamond members), you will need to enter the payment information given to you from the airline. This is not a reimbursement for the charge but handles the charge itself. If you pay with a different form of payment, you will not be reimbursed after the fact by the airline.
If you are paying to receive reimbursement from a particular card, make sure you use that card for payment.
Step 6 – Wait For Approval/Notification
Even though the website says to check back for the status of your application, I received an e-mail 4 days after submitting my application that my application had been approved. The best part? No interview needed! Now, my Global Entry is good through the end of March 2021 (since my membership does not expire until 2016, it adds the 5 years on to that date – not the date from which I applied).
If you are required to have an interview, go ahead and make an appointment. You only have 30 days in which to make the appointment, but you can make the appointment as far out as it will allow. The “trick,” if you need more time, is to cancel the appointment (outside of 24 hours from the time of the interview) and make a new appointment. As long as your interview takes place before your current membership expires, you are ok.
Getting Your Global Entry Renewal (or first-time) Application For Free
As I mentioned, there are ways for you to get your payment completely taken care of by an airline, provided you are a high enough elite. With United, that level used to be for Platinum, 1K, or Global Services but they stopped offering that as of January 31, 2015. If you had requested that voucher before then, it will be good through July 31, 2015 at the latest (the vouchers are good for 6 months after they have been requested ). With Delta, if you are a Platinum member, you can choose one Global Entry voucher as a Choice Benefit. As a Diamond member, you would receive two vouchers if you select that as a Choice Benefit.
Then there are credit cards that provide fee reimbursement for Global Entry (I do not receive a commission for these cards).
- American Express Platinum
- American Express Business Platinum
- American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum
- Citi Prestige
The cool thing about the Platinum cards is that, even though it is a one-time benefit of the card, any additional cardholders also receive the fee reimbursement. So, if you paid the $175 for the personal card to receive 3 additional cardholders, you would essentially be getting $300 ($100 per application) of value out of those cards if you were planning on applying for Global Entry.
Another thing about the cards is that the cardholder does not need to be the one to apply for Global Entry. The fee reimbursement is based on the payee, not a name on the application (the card issuer does not see information like that).
Global Entry, in my estimation, is one of the best programs that the government has rolled out and it has saved me some major time. For a per-year-cost of $20, this program makes perfect sense for a traveler who likes to not waste time at immigration and customs. Even you only travel internationally once per year, that $20 could be the difference between you being able to book a connecting flight home that leaves 1 hour after you land in the US or having to wait 4 or 5 hours for the next flight. Global Entry is available for people of all ages so by all means get your family enrolled as well. If you do that, getting the additional cards on the personal American Express Platinum can help to alleviate that cost as well.
If it is time for renewal, hopefully this post will help you to get it done in short order!