Renewing Global Entry

One of the best recommendations I can give for frequent travelers is TSA Pre-check. It’s $85 for five years and completely worth it for those flying domestically on a regular basis. If you also fly internationally then it’s an even better deal to get Global Entry which is $100 for five years and includes TSA Pre-check. (If you’re not too familiar with it check out some FAQs I answered–GE can save SO MUCH TIME.)

I’ve had Global Entry for 4.5 years, which means it’s almost time to renew. It expires in May, so I’ve been planning to start the renewal process in March. However, I recently heard from a friend who just renewed, and his experience was *not great*.

He realized in November is GE was about to expire, so logged onto the government website to renew. He filled out the application, then waited to get approval for an interview. And waited. And waited. They say it should take 30 days, but SEVEN WEEKS later he finally got approved to schedule an interview. He was actually able to get a same-day spot in our local Austin airport. Unfortunately, once he arrived they had no record of his appointment–luckily he had taken a screenshot. He spoke to some others who were waiting, and even though they had reserved their appointment several weeks ago there was no record of them either.

After waiting several hours he was able to speak to someone. When I did my GE interview five years ago it was a very polite, cordial conversation that lasted maybe ten minutes. Alas, that was not my friend’s experience yesterday. The CBP officer he spoke to grilled him for almost half an hour about all the trips he had taken in the past five years. Now, my friend travels regularly for work and he also loves to travel to interesting locations for fun. Off the top of my head I know he’s been to Iceland, Scotland, and Australia in the last few years but TBH I can’t keep up. So he got asked repeatedly about all of this trips, why he chose certain destinations, and what he did there. Eventually he was approved, and now he has Global Entry for another five years. So that’s great, but it was definitely not the seamless process both he and I experienced during our initial application.

Based on his experience, here is what I recommend people needing to renew do (and what I plan to do for my own renewal):

  • Check your status to know when your five years is up. There isn’t any kind of notification system in place, so you need to be clear on when your renewal is up.
  • Start super early to allow extra processing time. He was given no indication of why it took so long to get approved for an interview. I’m not taking any chances, and will start my renewal in February.
  • Print out or screenshot your appointment confirmation, just in case it gets lost.
  • Expect the interview to start late and take a long time.
  • Bonus: Check to see if any of your credit cards pay for Global Entry. My American Airlines Aviator Mastercard does!

Readers, have you renewed your Global Entry yet? What was your experience?

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Comments

  1. Hmmm. Strange you had to have another interview for the renewal?? My wife and 3 kids just renewed. I just did it online and they had NO need to have another appointment. They got their new cards in the mail with the extended 5 years. Their same photo was on it from the last one.

    I just had to activate them on the GOES website but no need for another interview. I travel to Canada a lot for work so I have a NEXUS card. I just put in the renewal and I’m hoping I just get a new card like my wife and kids.

  2. I renewed over the summer. I was not required to go in for another interview. One day my new card was waiting for me in the mail (I do wish I could replace my picture-its worse than my driver’s license!).
    My husband renewed and was required to go in for an interview. But the interview itself was pretty quick and uneventful.
    Beato advice-expect anything.

  3. Hey same positive experience for me. Took about 3 weeks and I received the approval notice. I have security clearance through DHS so that might have been a reason for the speed. Nevertheless I would recommend they share their experience with DHS because their entire file might have been affected by a glitch and treated as a new application. I am generally impressed by CBP and TSA as hard as that may be to believe but I know intimately about the bull they have to deal with both from users as well as some members of congress trying to be pompous asses grandstanding for their own benefit. Start 1 year out and you will have plenty of time and no problems whatsoever!! Thanks for the great article!!!

  4. You can renew up to 6 months in advance of your expiration. I got lucky and didn’t require an interview for my renewal. In total, it took me I think 4 days to get my renewal approval, and about 10 days to get my new Global Entry card in the mail.

  5. I am concerned now. I applied for my global entry renewal on Nov 31st and my application renewal is still pending. I did have a lot of trips over the past 5 years and even went to Russia. I hope I don’t have to go in for an interview but don’t mind cause I know it’s an easy process. I just need to get this entire process done before I go on an international trip in February when it expires during my birthday.

  6. I renewed a couple of months ago. It took several weeks for the conditional approval, and I had to re-interview. Since I had a trip to London returning through ATL, I thought I’d try the new Interview on Arrival. The whole process took about 30 min. It would have been quicker, but I was incorrectly told that I needed to see a “regular” CBP officer. Instead, go through the Global Entry line as usual (assuming yours hasn’t expired) and let the officer know that you’d like to complete your Interview on Arrival. There seemed to be a dedicated officer who was doing these interviews and there was one person in line before me. The interview itself was about ten minutes, including new pic and fingerprints.

  7. I renewed earlier this year, and it was very quick and easy. I did not need a new interview, and I had my new card within 10 days at the latest. I’m fairly boring travel-wise (only trips in the last 5 years were to Canada and the UK), but I don’t know if that had anything to do with it.

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