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Whether you’re applying for access to the US Global Entry program for the first time or if you’re renewing your membership, you’re usually required to attend an interview at a Global Entry processing center (usually an airport or an embassy) before your membership is approved or renewed. Right now, however, some memberships are being renewed without the need for an interview.
Global Entry is the US CBP program that’s open to US citizens, legal residents of the US, and citizens of select nations around the world. The program gives members expedited entry into the United States via kiosks stationed at major points of entry (and at some preclearance centers) and removes the need for passengers to stand in seemingly endless immigration lines as they wait to enter the country.
Travelers who qualify for the Global Entry program are automatically enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program which offers expedited screening at domestic US TSA checkpoints. Passengers using the TSA PreCheck lanes don’t need to remove laptops or toiletries from their bags as they pass through airport security, nor do they need to remove shoes, belts, or lightweight jackets as they pass through the body scanners.
The program currently costs $100 for a five-year membership (a fee which is rebated by a number of credit cards) and having had membership of the Global Entry program for almost a decade, I can confirm that it’s worth every penny.
My Renewal Experience
My Global Entry membership is due to expire in a little under a year so with the program experiencing a well-documented backlog of applications, I got my renewal application in as soon as I was allowed to.
I filled in the Global Entry renewal forms online (the most time-consuming part was checking that I had listed all the countries that I’ve visited in the past 5 years correctly), I paid the processing fee with my Amex Platinum Card (review), and then waited patiently for ‘conditional approval’ to come through so that I could then go ahead and book my interview.
Yesterday, I got an email notification to let me know that my Global Entry application status had changed…
…and when I logged in to the Trusted Traveler Program website I was surprised to see a screen that suggested that my renewal was complete.
At this point I had never heard of anyone having Global Entry membership renewed without the need for an interview (a subsequent Google search has revealed that I’m definitely not unique) so I was more than a little confused and unsure as to what had happened.
There was no visible option to book an interview, my screen was showing “no application in progress”…
….and my Global Entry expiration year showed as 2026, but I was still finding it hard to believe that there wasn’t something that I was missing.
Fortunately, I noticed that I had a message waiting for me in the “notifications” area of the Trusted Traveler website, and this confirmed the good news.
I’ve had my Global Entry renewed for another 5 years and thanks to my Amex Platinum Card, it didn’t cost me a dime. Yesterday was a good day.
If you’re wondering how long the renewal process took and if the well-documented backlog is still causing issues, I have good news for you. Things appear to be flowing well.
I know that I applied to renew my Global Entry membership on 3 February – because that’s when the fee posted to my Platinum Card account (the Platinum Card’s rebate posted just two days later).
So as the email confirming that my application status had changed arrived on 24 March, the renewal process took a total of 49 days (for someone who was not called to an interview).
As with a lot of things, people’s experiences will vary, but if you’re fortunate enough not to be called for an interview there’s no reason to suppose that your renewal process will take any longer than mine.
For anyone required to attend an interview, I’d guess that conditional approval is now being given after a similar length of time (any datapoints from readers would be welcome), but then applicants will be at the mercy of their local Global Entry centers – some will have a lot more interview slots than others.
I have no idea why I was selected to be one of the lucky ones who aren’t required to attend an interview to get their Global Entry membership renewed (perhaps it’s a combination of being a US citizen and the fact that this is my second renewal) but I’m very happy not to have to play the interview lottery at LAX or, worse yet, at the US Embassy in London.
Before yesterday I had no idea that it was possible to get a Global Entry membership renewed without having to attend some kind of interview (it looks like remote interviews are being performed now as well as in-person interviews), so this definitely ranks as one of the higher points in the last 12 months of my life 😁
Have you had your Global Entry memberships renewed without the need for an interview?
Featured image courtesy of CBP