Backlog of Global Entry applicants appears to be fading

Jan 15, 2022

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Like many things in the past two years (and counting), securing access to expedited airport security programs like Global Entry has resulted in long wait times among users, creating yet another travel-related pandemic casualty.

As previously reported, delays in processing applications for both new applicants and renewals for Global Entry had become the norm. While TSA PreCheck applicants can be approved in as little as a week thanks to the 400-plus enrollment centers across the country, there are far fewer locations for Global Entry enrollment, fueling a large backlog exacerbated by lack of appointment availability due to COVID-19-closures.

Perhaps due to time, luck or a combination of both, TPG readers have recently begun receiving their Global Entry in a timely fashion, some as soon as the next day after submitting their application.

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Faster turnaround time for Global Entry applications

Nearly 200 TPG readers responded to a request in the TPG Lounge on Facebook and on Instagram sharing their experiences related to applying for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck and Nexus, three of the five government-operated Trusted Traveler Programs I’ve written about extensively.

Of the Global Entry applicants that responded, most said their applications were approved in 24-48 hours, some in as little as an hour, while those who waited longer still heard back within three weeks.

One TPG reader (and a friend of mine), Bre Revell, was pleasantly surprised to renew her Global Entry for another five years in less than 48 hours as she had anticipated traveling without it for at least a bit.

Depending on when you last applied for a TTP, you may have to create a new account to submit an application as the website to do so has changed. I’ll briefly outline how she navigated those steps below, which are also applicable to first-time applicants.

Read more: Answering your questions about TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Clear

How Bre renewed her Global Entry online

Since I first joined Global Entry before the new Trusted Traveler Program website was launched, I had to create a Login.gov account before I could proceed with the application.

For the renewal, you need your passport and driver’s license information. You also have to include your full address and employment history since your last application. For most people, that’s probably a quicker process than a wandering millennial like myself.

On Friday evening, Jan. 7, Bre went to the Department of Homeland Security’s TTP website to create a new Login.gov account since previous accounts no longer work for the process.

(Screenshot courtesy of U.S. government)

She created an account by entering her email address and language preference.

(Screenshot courtesy of U.S. government)

Next, she clicked “Submit,” which directed her to a home page with a personalized dashboard detailing notifications, applications in progress and program memberships, under which she found Global Entry. Since Bre was renewing her Global Entry, she clicked “renew.”

(Screenshot courtesy of U.S. government)

After submitting her application, she received a notice that it was “pending review” and a message warning of a “significant increase in application volume.” Don’t be discouraged though.

Read more: Round 2: Answering more questions about TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Clear

(Screenshot courtesy of U.S. government)

Bre went about her weekend only to receive approval on Sunday morning, approximately 40 hours later.

Related: Round 3: Answering more questions about TSA PreCheck and Global Entry

Schedule an online appointment if necessary

When renewing TTPs, an interview may or may not be required.

“This is determined by the vetting center,” says Customs and Border Patrol. “Once you submit your renewal application and fee, and your application is processed, check your TTP account periodically for updates on what actions are necessary to complete the renewal process.”

This was the case for Bre, who is now waiting for her card in the mail.

If you are told to schedule an interview, note that CBP has extended the grace period due to the increased volume of applications from 18 months after the expiration date to 24 months if you have applied for renewal.

“I didn’t remember this from last time, but you have to check back to see once the application has been conditionally approved before you can try to schedule your interview,” she said, while also noting that she set a recurring reminder on her phone to check back so she didn’t forget.

Depending on where you live, you might still face a lack of timely appointments at your nearest renewal center. Consider “Enrollment upon Arrival,” which allows online candidates who have received conditional approval to set up an in-person appointment upon returning home from abroad at select U.S. airports.

Read more: More answers about the French health pass and trusted traveler programs

Use a credit card for reimbursement

Thanks to the knowledge amassed as a TPG reader, Bre used a credit card for her application that offered a $100 reimbursement for application fees.

“Make sure to use the credit card with the traveler benefit,” said Bre. “I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve because I get up to $100 credit reimbursement every four years for Global Entry.”

Many credit cards offer fee credits every four or five years for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck when the card is used to pay for membership (worth up to $100). Just make sure the application fee is charged to one of the cards below:

The credit should be automatically applied to your next statement.

Bottom line

A few readers have been unable to schedule interviews in their areas or are still waiting to hear back about their applications.

 

Overall though, it seems that applications are back to being processed in a more timely manner, which is good news for travelers across the board.

Related: Learn from my experience: How to avoid a 7-week passport renewal saga

Featured photo by beijingstory via Getty Images.

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