A Global Entry membership is a must for any international traveler to get through immigration fast on your return trip to the United States. Once you have a membership, it lasts for five years.
But what about when those five years run out?
I enrolled in the Global Entry program back in December 2015, meaning my membership was set to expire in December. I recently went through the Global Entry renewal process and found it pretty simple and fast. And better yet, I got it for free thanks to a credit card that offers Global Entry reimbursement.
Here’s a walkthrough on how to know when your Global Entry membership expires, how to apply for Global Entry renewal, and get your interview scheduled.
How Do You Know If It's Time For Global Entry Renewal?
All United States Trusted Traveler program memberships like Global Entry & TSA PreCheck are good for five years from the date your membership is issued. And if you aren't exactly sure when you received your membership in Global Entry, there are two quick and easy ways to figure this out.
First, you can check your Global Entry membership card which is issued to each Global Entry member. Your membership expiration date will be printed just below your birth date.
Thrifty Tip: This card also will also work as an alternative to Real ID for domestic flights starting in October.
You can also log in to your Trusted Traveler Program account on the Department of Homeland Security website. Once logged in, there will be a box on the dashboard that lists your program membership number, your program expiration date, and the date at which you are allowed to renew your membership.
You can start the renewal process up to a year before your Global Entry membership expires.
And an important note: If your renewal is in process, Global Entry members can continue using both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck for up to another year after the expiration date. That's a generous grace period, and it's up from the previous window of six months.
How to Renew Your Global Entry Membership
Once you are logged into your account on the Department of Homeland Security website, you will need to click on the blue “Renew Membership” button underneath your Global Entry program information shown above. And once you do that, you'll come to a screen that allows you to select the Trusted Traveler Program you need to renew.
Select the Global Entry option to proceed.
Read our guide on Global Entry vs. NEXUS: Which Should You Choose?
From here, you will need to acknowledge the Global Entry program requirements and acknowledge that once your application is conditionally approved, you'll need to schedule an interview to finalize your renewal.
And since we are renewing our Global Entry membership and not applying as a new applicant, Customs and Border Protection should have most of your data on file from your original application. Because of this, you'll just need to update any information that has changed in the past five years.
Most of this is pretty basic. If your address has changed, you have a new passport, or your employment info has changed, that information can be updated during the renewal process. You can also update your travel history for any new countries you have visited in the last five years.
After submitting your application and paying the $100 membership fee with Customs and Border Protection (CPB), you will come to a confirmation screen. Now it's time to wait for conditional approval – just as with a new Global Entry application.
But be warned, there is a major backlog with unapproved applications. As of December, Customs and Border Protection – the federal agency that runs Global Entry – is dealing with a backlog of 350,000 applications awaiting conditional approval. That’s up from 300,000 at the beginning of last year.
What’s happening? For starters, Global Entry has become insanely popular. The agency receives up to 7,000 applications a day.
And this major backlog started with the federal government shutdown in December of 2018 and continued as agents were shifted to tend to the humanitarian crisis at the southern border with Mexico. Those issues have combined to create a shortage of agents to process applications and conduct interviews. The federal government specifically warns that Global Entry applicants “should expect significant delays in application processing times.”
In the past, getting conditionally approved could take just a week or so. But we’ve heard from many readers who have waited three to six months or more to receive conditional approval. And unfortunately, that delay can also hamper your Global Entry renewal, too.
Read our guide on What To Do When You're Waiting on Global Entry Enrollment.
Getting Conditionally Approved & Scheduling an Interview
As luck would have it, my application was conditionally approved three days after I submitted my Global Entry renewal application. I received an email from Customs and Border Protection informing me that there had been a change to my application status. When I logged in, my account indicated that I had been conditionally approved and that I needed to schedule an interview.
You will have one year from the conditional approval date to schedule your interview. If you miss that window, your application will be deleted from the system – and your $100 fee won't be refunded.
To schedule your interview, click on the blue “Schedule Interview” button and find the enrollment center nearest you. Have an upcoming international trip? You can complete your Global Entry renewal interview on arrival.
Once your interview is completed, your membership should be fully approved within a week or two and it will be good for another five years. Critically, it will be good for another five years from your previous expiration date – not the date your renewal clears. That means there's no reason to wait to start the renewal process once that option opens a year before your membership expires.
Having trouble getting your interview scheduled? Read our 5 Tips to Get Your Global Entry Interview Scheduled Faster
How to Pay for Global Entry Membership Renewal
Whether you're applying for Global Entry for the first time or renewing your membership, the application will cost $100 and your membership will be valid for five years. But if you hold the right travel rewards credit card, you don't have to pay that $100 at all.
There is a growing list of credit cards that offer up to a $100 reimbursement credit for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. And that benefit can be used every four years to pay for your membership. If you already have a membership, you can use your card to pay for a friend or family member's application.
Our favorite option is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. The card has a $95 annual fee, but that is completely waived for the first year of card membership. That means you can get your Global Entry membership for five years before having to commit to the card long term.
On top of that, it offers 50,000 Venture Miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. These miles can be redeemed for up to $500 towards any travel expense.
Global Entry renewal is a relatively painless process. Simply check your membership card or your Trusted Traveler Program account on the Department of Homeland Security website to find your expiration date. Use the right travel rewards credit card to pay for your application fee, and start the process early to allow plenty of time for the renewal to process.
As long as your personal information hasn't drastically changed, the application process should only take about 20 minutes of your time. Then just cross your fingers that you can get approved and slide in for an interview quickly.