Federal regulators are pushing to raise Global Entry membership fees from $100 to $120 for a five-year enrollment, the first increase for the popular traveler program since it launched in 2008.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) laid out their plan to increase fees in a regulatory filing this week first reported by View from the Wing. It would apply to both new applications and Global Entry renewals. It’s a marked increase for one of the most popular travel programs: Global Entry allows travelers to quickly clear customs and immigration and also comes with TSA PreCheck benefits.
But families with young travelers could benefit from the change.
Currently, all travelers have to pay $100 to get Global Entry no matter their age – and a parent’s Global Entry membership won’t pass down to their children. Federal regulators’ proposal would allow all minors under 18 to register for Global Entry for free so long as their parents are also applying or already have Global Entry.
The same changes are on tap for other trusted traveler programs like SENTRI (for U.S.-Mexico border crossings) and NEXUS (for traveling between the U.S. and Canada). That means SENTRI fees would decrease slightly, while the cost of NEXUS would rise substantially from $50 to $120. Minors can already get NEXUS free.
The push to increase Global Entry fees comes just days after enrollment resumed after a six-month pause due to coronavirus. But it’s unclear exactly when fees may go up. They likely can’t increase until after the mandatory comment period closes on Nov. 9, 2020.
In the filing, CBP said the current $100 enrollment fee isn’t enough to cover the costs of administering the program. As of 2019, more than 6 million travelers had enrolled in Global Entry.
On the bright side, CBP is also pushing to bring Global Entry to U.S. territories as well as overseas preclearance facilities. Those facilities allow returning travelers to clear customs and immigration before departing from a handful of destinations including throughout Canada, Aruba (AUA), Dublin (DUB) and Abu Dhabi (AUH).
What About Credit Cards with Credits for Global Entry Membership Fees?
If Global Entry membership costs do increase, it brings up a massive question: Will top travel rewards credit cards still cover the full cost?
A growing number of top travel credit cards come with a $100 credit that will cover either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment. You can typically use these credits once every four (or five) years, covering the entire cost of signing up for Global Entry.
That includes top-dollar cards like the Platinum Card from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve but also entry-level credit cards like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the United Explorer Card.
But if Global Entry increases to $120, will these credit cards cover that full amount? Or will they leave you to pay the remaining $20?
Representatives from Chase, American Express, and Capital One did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It seems all but certain that Global Entry costs will rise from $100 to $120 for a five-year membership. But exactly when that increase will take place – and what it means for credit cards that come with application credits – is up in the air.