I Forgot to Update My Global Entry After Getting a New Passport — Here’s What Not to Do

Jul 27, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Today’s mistake story comes courtesy of yours truly, in an event that occurred mere hours ago (as I write). I was fresh-off Cathay Pacific’s tremendously-long flight from Hong Kong (HKG) Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), and I was beat, looking forward to getting to my hotel and already wishing I was asleep.

I had just renewed my passport last month, and this was my first trip out of the country since, so coming back through immigration with a different passport wasn’t something I’d done before.

It wasn’t until I was anxiously plodding through the aircraft on my way out that the thought suddenly struck me: Did I need to update my Global Entry? My mind flashed back to the dozen different GE kiosks I’ve been to, all of which (obviously) required that I insert my passport and give my fingerprints.

Frantic searching revealed that, yes, you do need to update your information after receiving a new passport.

Well, shoot.

At that point it was too late for me to do anything, and I trudged along miserably, resigned to my fate in the regular queue (which was growing exponentially, like always). However, as a last ditch effort, I thought “Well, may as well give it a shot,” thinking that in the worst-case scenario, someone might be able to help me. I headed over to the Global Entry kiosk with trepidation.

RELATED: Best credit cards for Global Entry and PreCheck

To my shock and intense gratitude, my passport was accepted, my fingers were scanned and my photo was taken — with my jaw dropped and face stunned.

Later research showed that there are anecdotal reports of this working, though the Customs and Border Patrol website specifically states this about renewed passports:

Your Trusted Traveler Program membership date is not dependent on the passport expiration date. Membership will remain valid and active, even if the passport expires. However, you will not be able to use your membership at kiosks and land crossings until you update your new passport in the system.

If you are an approved Trusted Traveler (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST) member, you may update certain documents through the TTP website. Once logged in to the TTP website, click on Update Documents on the right hand side of the Dashboard page. Please note this option will not be available if you have a pending application. Follow the prompts to update your document.

If you are not a member yet, this information can be updated at your enrollment interview. Please be sure to inform the CBP officer of the changes that need to be made.

So while it worked for me this trip, it may have also been a one-time fluke. Don’t be like me — here’s what to do if you’re caught in the same situation.

Really though, what are you waiting for? Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Really though, what are you waiting for? (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Had I been thinking just a little bit more clearly, there are a few different steps I could have taken to make certain that I could get through immigration without a hitch.

Option 1

First, I could have just stepped off to the side and updated my account right then and there. The process to do so is easy, though the website to access your account changed in 2017, so if you need to re-register, you can check out our guide on how to do so here.

Otherwise, head over to the Trusted Traveler Program website, log in and navigate to the right-hand side, where it says ‘Update Documents.’ You’ll need to change the passport number, issuance date and expiration date, but that’s it. Simply save and voilà! You should be good to go.

Option 2

If, like me, you have also conveniently forgotten all your log-in information (or never had any in the first place), there’s another option available. If you happen to be flying into one of the 49 airports that currently offer enrollment on arrival services (excluding LAX), you should be able to head there instead to have your information updated.

It might take a few extra minutes, but luckily this is a once-per-passport event. In any case, it’s a much better option than crossing your fingers and hoping no one at passport control notices your information is incorrect.

A Better Solution

Instead of sweating this, consider putting a reminder in your calendar. As soon as you start the process for getting a new passport, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you have a new Trusted Traveler Profile set up. Follow these steps if you haven’t set one up.
  2. Copy the link to the Trusted Traveler Profile.
  3. Open up your favorite calendar program, create a new calendar invite (“CHANGE PASSPORT IN TTP” works as an event name) and paste the above link you copied.
  4. Set the reminder for 1-2 months out.

If you still don’t have the new passport by then, snooze it for a week, and continue doing so until you have the new passport in hand. Then simply login and follow Option 1 above.

Bottom Line

Though I lucked out this time and managed to make it through without issue, if things had gone awry I would have been in serious trouble (or at least seriously delayed). Do yourself a favor and take care of your information before you fly- or if you don’t, at least before you hit the kiosks.

Featured photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.