Good news for Global Entry travelers: Your membership will now work for a full year after its expiration date—as long as you renew it before it expires.
Previously, Global Entry access would stay valid for six months after the expiration date while travelers waited for their renewal. But last year’s government shutdown, as well as the ongoing humanitarian crisis at America’s southern border, have led to delays in renewals. A spokesperson told USA Today that agents who typically work on approving and renewing Global Entry applications have been reallocated to manage these issues.
The staff shortage has resulted in between 30 and 35 percent of renewals (and new applications) taking more than three months to complete. One applicant, Steve Levy, told USA Today he’d been waiting since early May for the reactivation of his membership, all because he hadn’t renewed before the expiration date.
The easiest way to avoid a long period without Global Entry and TSA PreCheck access is by renewing within the right time frame. Global Entry memberships can be renewed up to a year before the expiration date. As long as the application is submitted before that date, travelers will have up to a year afterward to enjoy all the benefits of the program, from expedited passage through U.S. customs to a fast-track through domestic security, even if that renewal takes an extended amount of time to process.
If you’ve missed your renewal cut-off date and are stuck waiting, considering signing up for a free two-month trial of Clear. The expedited biometric screening process typically costs $179 per year, but is available for free or at a discounted price depending on your airline elite status. Clear can help you skip the security line for departing flights, but it won’t save you any time on what’s often the longest, most tiring part of travel: the wait in the customs line upon returning to America from an international getaway.
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