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In the summer of 2014, I signed up for Global Entry. It didn’t take long before the time savings — in TSA PreCheck security lines in the US and immigration lines re-entering the country — convinced me to never let my membership lapse.
Recently, Global Entry saved me hours re-entering the country in San Francisco. That served as a good reminder to check when my Global Entry membership was up for renewal. I still have more than nine months before expiration, but I went through the renewal process now.
Here’s what I learned about the process and tips for a quick renewal.
You can renew your Global Entry membership up to a year before it expires, and there’s no penalty for renewing early. Once your renewal is approved, a five-year period is added onto your current membership period.
If you’re selected for an interview, it might take some time to arrange it. To avoid missing out on TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, I recommend starting the renewal process as soon as you can. I just set a calendar reminder for myself one year out from my new expiration date.
What You Should Have
Before you start the renewal process, it’s helpful to have on hand the following documents and information that you’ll need to enter or confirm before you start:
- Drivers license
- Work history — including address and phone number for each place you worked since you first enrolled as a Trusted Traveler
- The countries that you’ve traveled to since you first enrolled as a Trusted Traveler
- Vehicle make, model, year, color, VIN and license plate — only if you plan to drive across the US/Mexico border
You should also set aside about 45 minutes to complete the process. It may go significantly faster if you haven’t moved, changed jobs or traveled overseas much since originally applying. Using a draft of this article as a guide, it took Katie about 40 minutes complete her application — but she’s visited more than 40 countries since registering in 2014 and added a second passport.
How to Renew
First, you’ll need to log into your Trusted Traveler Profile. Hopefully, you already have a profile set up from back when it launched in October 2017. If not, I have a step-by-step guide to creating a new TTP profile. That’s going to add around 10-15 minutes to your renewal process.
Once you’re logged in, scroll down to the Program Memberships section. If your membership is eligible for renewal, you’ll be able to click Renew Membership to get started.
After confirming that you’re a US citizen, you’ll be given an option of which program you want to (re)join. The Department of Homeland Security gives the following brief descriptions of the programs:
For most travelers, Global Entry is going to make the most sense — especially if you have a credit card that will reimburse up to a $100 membership. More about that below. Next, you’ll need to acknowledge that there will be a background check and that “an interview is required,” although some applicants will be approved without an interview.
Then comes a series of personal information questions/confirmations. You’ll need to enter or confirm your:
- Passport information
- Drivers license information
- Vehicle information — if you plan to drive across the Mexico border
- Past and current address(es) since registering as a Trusted Traveler
- Employment history since registering as a Trusted Traveler
- Countries visited since registering as a Trusted Traveler
- Criminal history
After reviewing and certifying that all information is correct, the final step is to submit payment with your application. Then you wait to see if you will be approved without an interview or if you’ll need to schedule an interview to complete the process. You might be able to take care of this interview during an international arrival into one of these 49 US airports.
Use the Right Credit Card
There’s a $100 fee for renewing your Global Entry membership, but there’s no reason that you should be paying it out of pocket. Hopefully you have — or can sign up for — a credit card that will reimburse this expense.
While historically only premium credit cards — like the Chase Sapphire Reserve — offered this benefit, there are now a number of credit cards with annual fees under $100 that will reimburse the Global Entry application fee. These include:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year)
- United Explorer Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year)
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card ($89 annual fee)
- Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card ($95 annual fee)
In addition to these low-annual-fee cards, there are several premium cards that you may already have in your wallet which offer this benefit, including:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee)
- Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard ($450 annual fee)
- The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee, see rates & fees)
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express ($595 annual fee, see rates & fees)
- Citi Prestige ($495 annual fee)
If you are starting the renewal process even a couple of months in advance, you can still get a credit card that will reimburse the fee. DHS provides a month grace period between completing your application and paying the fee before your application is purged. That means you have the option of saving your application, applying for a credit card and getting the card in the mail before you have to submit payment.
Know before you go.
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