Arguably the best thing to happen to international travel is Global Entry. The program, created by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service, allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance upon arrival into the United States so you can clear customs/immigration within minutes instead of sometimes hours. Seriously, I can go from the plane to the curb in five minutes so it’s well worth the $100 for five years.

Well, a reader just sent me this email asking: “What’s the deal with getting new GOES interviews. Mine expired during Covid and I’m screwed.”

Just to be sure, I emailed U.S. Customs and Border Protection and they responded in less than an hour.

Their response was so detailed and filled with important information so I decided to make a post out of it for everyone’s benefit. What’s funny is that just a few hours before the question came in, I had started writing notes down about my own experience with CBP to finalize my 18-month old daughter’s application; she was conditionally approved just before the pandemic began and her original deadline to get an interview was this April. As you will see, she and others have been granted an extension as long as they met the requirements.

Here’s what you need to know:

“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security replaced the GOES system with a new Trusted Traveler Programs website (https://ttp.dhs.gov) in 2017. Instructions for migrating account information from GOES to the TTP website can be found here.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to process Trusted Traveler Program applications. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment Centers, CBP increased  membership in Trusted Traveler Programs to 9.6 million individuals in Fiscal Year 2020.

Eligible travelers may apply for or renew membership in Global Entry and other DHS Trusted Traveler Programs by submitting an application at https://ttp.dhs.gov and paying the requisite application fee. The fees cover the cost of processing the application and are not refundable.

After Trusted Traveler Program applicants are conditionally approved for membership, they must complete an in-person interview with a CBP Officer to complete the enrollment process. Those interviews may be completed in one of two ways depending on the program for which the applicant applied. The first option is to schedule an appointment at an enrollment center using the online scheduling tool. The demand for pre-scheduled enrollment appointments remains high following the nearly six-month closure of enrollment centers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Appointment availability varies by location depending upon local demand and COVID-19 engineering controls implemented at the enrollment centers.

Alternatively, Global Entry applicants may participate in Enrollment on Arrival. This program allows conditionally-approved Global Entry applicants to complete the enrollment process after returning to a participating airport following international travel. To date, Enrollment on Arrival has allowed more than 426,000 Global Entry applicants to complete the enrollment process, and CBP has expanded the program to more than 60 airports.

CBP has extended the Trusted Traveler Program application period to minimize the impact of the enrollment centers closure on applicants. Each applicant now has a total of 730 days from the date their application was conditionally approved to complete the enrollment process. In addition, CBP will extend for up to 18 months the program benefits of members who apply for renewal before their current membership expires.

Please see this press release for additional information about the operating status of Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers.

Please visit this FAQ for answers to common questions about CBP Trusted Traveler Programs.

In short: If your reader did not apply for renewal before his/her Global Entry membership expired, then his/her membership is no longer valid. (S)He may re-apply to Global Entry, but will not receive program benefits until or unless (s)he completes the enrollment process.”

This is great information to have. I would just like to add two things:

1. If you use certain premium credit cards to pay the $100 Global Entry fee, you will get it reimbursed.

2. If you travel to Canada often like we do (my wife is Canadian), then apply for NEXUS because it’s Canada’s version of Global Entry and comes with Global Entry and TSA PreCheck and only costs $50 for five years.

Johnny Jet
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7 Comments On "Everything You Need To Know About Global Entry During COVID-19"
  1. Earl B.|

    It’s worth passing along that in some cases, renewal applications are being renewed with an interview being required. My daughter and her husband (they live in Boston) just renewed their Global Entry, and neither was required to interview. My wife and I (we live in Southern California) just renewed, and I was approved without interview, while my wife did have to interview. We lucked out and found an interview slot for her at LAX just a few days after her conditional approval. (After that available slot, the calendar was showing nothing for two months). She was in and out in less than 20 minutes, including fingerprinting and a photo. I’m not sure what the criteria are, or if it is luck of the draw, but it was nice for three out of four in our family to skip the interview. Now we’re just hoping the world opens up soon!

  2. Earl B.|

    Your readers should know, in at least some cases, Global Entry renewals are being approved without the need for an interview. Four in our family recently applied for renewal, and three were approved with no interview. Such a nice surprise! (For three of us).

  3. Earl B.|

    Please edit – “without” the need for an interview. Sorry.

    1. Johnny Jet
      Johnny Jet|

      Done! Thanks

  4. Elizabeth Santana|

    I did Enrollment on Arrival when I renewed. Can’t remember which airport… It was easy and quick, and I’m glad I took care of it pre-COVID.

  5. Marie|

    My husband and I recently applied for Global Entry renewal. We were approved the next day with no interviews required. We received our Trusted Traveler cards in the mail about a week after we were approved.

  6. CHRISTINE SHERRILL|

    We renewed online for Global Entry we are set for an interview, no surprise as we visite over 28 countries in the past five years. Looking forward to traveling again. The process is easy. Lucky those who don’t need to interview. We live close to the LAX office so no big deal.

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