Renewing your Global Entry? CBP is allowing select travelers to schedule remote interviews
The Global Entry program has been severely hampered during the pandemic, but the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is trying out a new innovative approach to alleviate the backlog of renewals for Trusted Traveler Program members. The agency is launching a remote interview pilot that allows eligible TTP members to complete their enrollment renewal interviews with a CBP officer through video teleconferencing.
"Remote interviews will benefit all TTP applicants by reducing the number of applicants waiting for an interview at a traditional enrollment center," A CBP spokesperson told us when we reached out for comment.
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As people resume taking vacations and flying for business, much of the infrastructure that helps shore up the travel industry is having a bit of trouble getting back up to speed after more than a year of inactivity due to the pandemic. One of the things they are having trouble catching up on is the renewal process for those all-important travel documents.
For example, passport processing is so backed up because of the "unprecedented backlog" in appointments caused by COVID-19 that the U.S. government is allowing American citizens overseas to return home with expired passports. Plus, Global Entry was already struggling to keep up with demand before COVID-19 brought the global travel industry to a halt. Therefore, this new approach should come as quite a relief to those lucky enough to take part.
The CBP notes that the remote interview process will have high security and privacy standards to protect members. This is a pilot program, so participation will be limited for the time being. According to the CBP's official website, only renewing Global Entry members who are conditionally approved are eligible to take part in the pilot.
Related: Top credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck
Here are the criteria TTP members must meet to be eligible to participate:
- Be conditionally approved for a TTP renewal;
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Have a photo on file with CBP that was taken (1) within the past 10 years, and (2) after the applicant was 14 years of age;
- Have previously submitted fingerprints to CBP.
Renewing NEXUS, FAST and SENTRI members will be phased into the pilot over the next several weeks. First-time TTP applicants are not yet eligible to participate.
Due to the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel at U.S. land borders, NEXUS and FAST-North interviews at U.S. and Canadian enrollment centers also remain suspended until further notice.
CBP will use Zoom as the teleconferencing platform, so you'll want to make sure your computer or smartphone has the app if you hope to participate in this pilot program. You can find more details on eligibility and document requirements on the CBP's website.
When asked if this program could become a permanent option in the future, the agency spokesperson would only say, "CBP will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the program, and its impact on the enrollment process."
It should be noted that TTP centers around the country are still booking in-person interviews. But keep in mind it could take a while to schedule an appointment.