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  • Writer's pictureJulie Prusak

Travel Tip: How to Apply for or Renew a Global Entry Membership

If you're a frequent traveler, you know the value of saving time and avoiding long lines at immigration when returning to the U.S. Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that can make your travel experience hassle-free. However, the application and renewal process can be a bit complicated. Here's what you need to know about applying for or renewing your Global Entry membership.

Applying for the First Time

To apply for Global Entry, the first step is to create a Trusted Traveler account online.

This includes providing personal information and undergoing a background check. Once you're conditionally approved, which can take around 90 days or more, you'll need to schedule an in-person interview. The challenge lies in the fact that interview slots can be difficult to secure and often have long wait times.

However, there's a more convenient option available now called "Enrollment on Arrival." This allows you to have your interview when you arrive in the U.S. after a trip abroad, without needing to schedule an appointment. To utilize this option, go through the regular immigration line, and after that, head to the Global Entry counter for your interview. Not all airports offer Enrollment on Arrival, so check the list of airports that do before planning your trip.

Renewing an Active or Expired Global Entry Membership

If your Global Entry membership is still active or has expired, you have the option to renew it. Log into your Trusted Traveler account and click on the "Renew" button. You may need to reset your password as the website has recently changed. Follow the instructions, answer the renewal questions (regarding countries you've traveled to since your initial application, any changes to contact information, etc.), and pay the renewal fee. In most cases, renewals do not require another in-person interview.

There's no need to renew your membership early. As long as you submit the renewal application before the expiration date, your membership will remain active for up to two more years after the application is processed.

Global Entry vs. TSA PreCheck

If you're only traveling domestically and don't see the need for Global Entry, consider this: A five-year TSA PreCheck membership costs $78, while five years of Global Entry, which includes TSA PreCheck, costs just $22 more. For the extra $22, you'll get the convenience of expedited screening both domestically and internationally.

In summary, Global Entry is a worthwhile investment for frequent travelers. Whether you're applying for the first time or renewing your membership, be prepared for the process and take advantage of convenient options like Enrollment on Arrival. With Global Entry, you'll experience a seamless and efficient return to the U.S., saving you precious time for your future travels.

You can find more info in the Homeland Security Department’s FAQ.

Safe and happy travels!

If you’re the kind of traveler who wants to avoid lines, not just for U.S. Customs and Border protection but throughout your trip, Ethos Luxury Travel can make that happen. Skip-the-line tickets, pre-arranged private transfers, after-hours access to iconic sights...avoid the crowds and enjoy your vacation.

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