Enrollment in Global Entry and other federal traveler programs has been on hold since March, as federal officials shut down enrollment centers to guard against coronavirus. Despite plans last month to resume enrollment over the summer, that has changed: Enrollment won’t restart until at least September.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced earlier this month that it was delaying the reopening of enrollment centers until Aug. 10. And on Monday, the agency announced it would delay reopening enrollment centers until at least Sept. 8, 2020, citing the recent rise in coronavirus cases in several states across the nation.
Anyone with an interview scheduled in July, August, or early September will need to reschedule. This delay also affects registration for other trusted traveler programs like NEXUS and SENTRI.
“The decision was made in consultation with CBP health and safety experts who continue to monitor the increase in COVID-19 cases across the United States,” the agency said in a statement. “CBP’s highest priority is to ensure the health, safety and security of the American people.”
If you’re trying to renew an existing Global Entry membership, there’s a silver lining. The program recently extended the grace period for applicants awaiting renewal, giving you 18 months to continue using your Global Entry benefits (including TSA PreCheck) so long as you’ve started the renewal process.
Travelers who have been conditionally approved but can’t get an interview have more time, too. Conditionally approved applicants previously needed to finalize their enrollment with an interview within 12 months – or else risk losing their application fee altogether. Now, that has also been extended to 18 months, the agency said Monday.
Global Entry is a must-have for any international traveler. It gets you a quick trip through airport security with a TSA PreCheck membership and a fast pass through customs and immigration when returning to the U.S. from abroad, too. But in-person interviews at enrollment centers are the final step in signing up for Global Entry.
There’s still another way to finalize your Global Entry registration: Enrollment on Arrival. This allows you to quickly knock out that final interview as you’re going through customs and immigration when re-entering the country from abroad.
But with most international travel on hold, that’s not a realistic option for most travelers.
Travelers trying to get Global Entry just cannot catch a break. Enrollment has been essentially shut down for months, and this delay is just the latest blow.