18 Month Global Entry Renewal Grace Period

Filed Under: Misc.

Remember when we used to travel, and when Trusted Traveler Programs like Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check were actually helpful? Well, if your Global Entry is up for renewal, there are some things to be aware of…

What is Global Entry?

First of all, for those of you not familiar with Global Entry, it’s offered as part of the US Trusted Traveler Program, through the US Department of Homeland Security.

Global Entry gets you expedited customs & immigration when returning to the US from abroad. You can use a kiosk at immigration, and just have to provide your fingerprints, have your picture taken, and answer a few questions, and you’ll be on your way.

At least that’s how it’s supposed to work, though for my two last international trips I was getting secondary screenings, due to having been in Asia a few months ago.

The dreaded Global Entry “X”

Global Entry is valid for five years

Applying for Global Entry costs $100, and it’s then valid for five years. The good news is that a renewal is typically easier than your first application:

  • You’ll want to start the process of renewing Global Entry well ahead of the expiration date of your membership, because it’s easier to get renewed rather than approved in the first case
  • Typically you won’t need to complete an in-person interview for renewal, while that is required when you first apply

See this post for everything you need to know about renewing Global Entry, and this post for which credit cards offer Global Entry fee credits. No savvy consumer should actually be paying for Global Entry, thanks to all the credit cards offering credits.

Global Entry renewal 18 month grace period

For quite a while (even pre-COVID-19) processing times for Global Entry renewals have been crazy long, often over six months. I don’t know how a renewal can take that long, but that’s how it has worked.

The backlog has gotten even worse in light of current circumstances, and as a result processing times have gotten worse as well.

As a result, the grace period has been increased for Global Entry renewals:

  • If you apply for your Global Entry renewal before it expires, there’s now an 18 month grace period where you’ll still be able to use Global Entry
  • You have to apply before the expiration date for this to apply, so you don’t want to apply after the expiration
  • It’s recommended that you print out a copy of your pending renewal to show Customs and Border Protection officers, if needed, though in practice it’s unlikely you’ll need it, since the kiosk should automatically recognize you as still being eligible

Unfortunately for New York residents, Global Entry renewals still aren’t possible.

Global Entry kiosks

Bottom line

While there’s not much value in Trusted Traveler Programs at the moment, you’ll definitely still want to renew your membership if the expiration date is coming up, since it’s easier to renew than apply outright.

In the case of Global Entry, as long as you apply before your membership expires, you’ll have an 18 month grace period for still being able to use it, as it sounds like approvals are taking close to a year at this point.

  1. @Conway, he wrote “Unfortunately for New York residents, Global Entry renewals still aren’t possible.”

  2. Hi Ben,

    Just to offer a (counter) data point on the duration of the renewal process, I received an email on 4/16 that, “Your Trusted Traveler membership will be expiring soon,” I submitted the renewal application later that same day, and on 4/17 I received an email that, “There has been a recent change to the status of your application.” I logged in and saw my status had changed to Conditional Approval pending an in person interview. Somehow, in my case, the renewal process took 24 hours.

  3. I renewed my son’s Global Entry a few weeks ago. Approval was received in approximately 12 hours.

  4. My wife and I applied for Global Entry for the first time in January, because I have started to travel for work internationally of late. We were “pre-approved” within a few days, and needed to set up the appointment for the interview.

    We live in rural Northern California, about 45 minutes from SJC and 1:15 from SFO. The only airport in the general vicinity that could handle Global Entry appointments is SFO (the next closest is LAX), and they had no appointments at all for all of 2020.

    We decided that Global Entry was enough that we were willing to take a day trip on an airplane for it, and there were appointments in SEA as early as March, so we decided to book two appointments and fly there, handle the appointments, and then spend a few hours in the new Alaska lounge.

    The night before our appointment, all appointments in Seattle were cancelled due to the coronavirus (but not everywhere else yet: Washington was hit first). I began looking on the website to figure out where we could get this done, sensing that it might become quite difficult. I was planning to spend miles to go somewhere like Fairbanks or Boise where there there are fewer people and likely to be more appointments. (Both of those had appointments within the next week.)

    I knew about New York being cut off from the program (from reading this website) and checked JFK. Appointment availability was wide open the very next day. I switched our flights to SEA the next morning for the red-eye to JFK, and we picked up and left for the airport. Incidentally, JFK was a ghost town: I took pictures of the AirTrain with no people. We had our appointments, hung out in the JFK lounge instead, and flew back. Upgrades were, as expected, trivial. Five days later we had our Global Entry cards. Two days later, they suspended all interviews everywhere. We got in just under the wire.

    We decided to press our luck and renew our passports the next day (mine expired in about 16 months). We sent our passports off to expedited processing two days before *that* shut down, and had them back in under a week.

    Now we are good to go for the next few years. 🙂

  5. I applied for my renewal as soon as possible, April 9th, because I had been reading about delays. And it only took me 36 hours to get the email saying it had been approved and my card showed up last week.

  6. You guys are very lucky. I applied
    For renewal on dec 30 and it’s been crickets. FlyerTalk has a thread. Seems you can go into one of two buckets with little rationale. One that gets approved in hrs or days and the other which takes 6-8 months. I’m in the latter. And no, nothing has changed since my renewal. From what I have researched, it’s the luck of the draw.

  7. I applied to renew my Global Entry back in August (expiration date was in Feb 2020), I finally received a ‘change in status’ email on Apr 15th…turns out my application was denied! When I click on the “denial”, it just opens a new tab with a blank form (but with the USCBP heading)…has this happened to anyone else? When I’ve looked at the “reconsideration process” it always refers to the “reason”, but as far as I know I don’t have one. I’m a US citizen who moved to Europe (Belgium) in early 2019, could that be why?

  8. Is there a pattern based on state of residence (other than NY State residents not being able to apply at all)?

  9. Is it me that believes Global Entry will become an old relic.
    Trusted travelers might not just be because of their background checks, but looking forward, will be health checks and points of origins.

    If @Lucky and many people got X from their virus risk, then most benefits of traditional GE will disappear.

  10. I sent in my daughter’s application for GE back in early December, and it is still pending. Guess they really need to do some extensive checks into my 3-year-old’s background.

  11. Kneemuh’s situation matches mine. Now the challenge is safely interviewing. Wish our govt was capable of doing web-video interviews or using some other metric to avoid the interview all together.

  12. Hoping they offer extensions for new applicants to do the interviews.

    A friend of mine and I in Singapore been struggling to get it done with no appts open at the Singapore US Embassy and flying to the US is not on the cards for a while.

    Sept 2020 will be the 1-year point since the application was approved, and also the deadline to get it done, or we loose the fee.

  13. I’m one of the unfortunate New Yorkers who can’t even apply, but having grown up in Washington, DC what would I need to present in order to get it there? If I need to use my former address to prove residency what type of mail would they accept? Where there’s a will there’s a way.

  14. Ben, when I check my status — and I am one of the unlucky ones, I guess, because my renewal application is still pending months later — the site says the grace period has been extended to a year. Where are you seeing that it is 18 months? Thanks.

  15. I’m the perfect storm and will, probably, have little recourse. My passport just expired and GE is up in June, I have no ability to renew my passport in the 8-12 weeks as usual so I’ll not be able to start my GE renewal. Yikes.

    As for airports to visit to renew/sign up for GE, we had tremendous luck at ABQ, tons of open appointments 4 years ago when we flew in to interview. Find a cheap ticket to ABQ and be done fast.

  16. My GE was set to expire in April of 2021 but based on the delays I heard about I didn’t want to delay. I submitted my renewal info on 4/24 and I had the new card with an expiration date of 2026 in my wallet on 5/1. Crazy fast…I’m grateful!

  17. Data point: I received my NEXUS renewal approval this week, just under 8 months after applying. I assume some of the delay was because US & Canada both have to approve. This is my second renewal and I had visited about 30 countries in the preceding 5 years. No interview will be required.

    Also: My passport number changed while I was pending and I passed my expiration date as well; neither was an issue in using the card for TSA ID but I did not have an international trip to test Global Entry.

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