The State of New York has recently reminded all of us that it is time to either get or renew your Global Entry… and a bit at their expense. No, this isn’t a call to be opportunistic. Well, maybe a little. Hear me out…
Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that New York residents are being cut off from Global Entry (both applications and renewals). “New York residents will no longer be eligible to apply for or renew membership in CBP Trusted Traveler Programs and CBP will cancel all pending Trusted Traveler Program applications submitted by residents of New York,”according to a February 6th CBP press release. “New York residents who are currently enrolled in Trusted Travel Programs will retain their benefits until their memberships expire.”
The CBP will not comment on the volume of enrollments by state, but it is safe to assume that the most populated city in the U.S., which also happens to be the world’s financial center, makes up a sizable chunk. With New York enrollment activity being placed on pause, due to political nonsense, now is the time to take advantage of short lines. Yes, this is an advantage to the rest of us. But by shifting our applications forward, we can clear the way for when New York is again approved. Short lines for us now, and a slightly better experience for our New York friends, when their pent-up demand rolls in. Win-win for everyone! Sort of… given the situation anyhow.
Why Global Entry? It’s better than TSA Pre✓™
Global Entry (GE) is one of a few trusted/known traveler programs which offers perks such as TSA Pre✓™. “But I already regularly get Pre✓™ without applying!” This is a totally valid argument: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? In 2014, I wrote about why applying for Pre✓™ is a waste of time and money. And I stand by that to this day. Pre✓™ is $85 for a five-year membership. GE is an extra $15 (just $3 more per year) and you get Pre✓™ plus expedited passage through U.S. customs. This expedited entry works not just at airports, but also border crossings, and sea ports of entry… if boats are your sort of thing (#BoatReporter).
Even if you don’t have plans to travel abroad, wouldn’t it be nice to have Global Entry setup in the event an opportunity presented itself? I mentioned above that Global Entry works for border crossings as well. I was surprised how often I ended up using my membership to re-enter the U.S. from quick trips to Canada and Mexico. For me, I’d pay $15 to skip the line with just one crossing, so the extra cost has more than paid for itself in my first four years of membership.
It’s REAL ID-compliant:
Global Entry comes with a government-issued REAL ID card, something Pre✓™ doesn’t offer. Don’t know what a REAL ID is? Take a moment to find your driver’s license or state-issued ID. Is there a star near the upper right-hand corner? If yes, you’re good. Washington state folks, you guys are special [gosh darn right we are –David]. If your license reads “Enhanced” you’ve made the cut. If neither applies, you’re going to need to use an alternate ID or obtain a REAL ID.
The TSA claims that travelers without a REAL ID will not be approved through screening starting October 1, 2020. The federal law requiring that states issue REAL IDs to “preserve national security” was passed in 2005. Amazingly, some states and territories have taken over fifteen years to comply.
And while most states are compliant today, that doesn’t mean already-issued licenses will work. My home state of Missouri, for example, only recently implemented a voluntary REAL ID license option. Here in the “Show-Me State,” anyone who received their license prior to March 25, 2019 has a non-compliant ID. And if they want to fly on a plane and don’t have an alternative, they will need to visit the DMV less than two years after renewing their six-year license to specifically request a REAL ID-compliant version.
SPOILER ALERT: Missourians (and others) are going to cause major headaches at airport screening points across the nation this October if TSA stands by their highly-delayed deadline.
Applying for Global Entry
So, have I convinced you? Great! Here’s the deal: Applicants fill out an online form, confirm a bunch of personal data, pay $100, consent to a rigorous multi-agency background check, willingly hand over their biometric data, and are subject to an in-person interview with a CBP agent. When reading it all together like that, it might seem a bit overwhelming, but trust me — it is not a difficult process. Once that’s done (and assuming you pass – most do) you’ll get a shiny new ID along with the coveted KTN or known traveler number.
Renewing Global Entry
Current Global Entry members can apply for renewal up to one year before their expiration date, and there is no penalty for applying early. If approved, five additional years are bolted onto your current expiration date. Remember your GOES login detail (or even what that is)? No? Good! That system is dead and you have to start from scratch. Click here, then click login and agree to the government’s crazy terms by clicking consent and continue. Here you’ll be informed that GOES is out, and Login.Gov is in. Create a new login and the process is familiar and intuitive from there out.
I applied for renewal and received my new card 8 days later
Apparently not all renewals require an in-person interview. How did I find out? I applied for renewal on a Friday night, received an approval e-mail Monday, and my new card was in my mailbox that Saturday. Cool!
If you travel even semi-regularly, Global Entry is the way to go, even if only to receive the Pre✓™ benefit. And the convenience of Global Entry when arriving back to The States even just once over five years is easily worth the extra $15. And with what happened in New York, who knows if it might happen elsewhere. Take advantage of the short lines now!
NOTE: This is not a promoted post, I just really believe this is such a great product. Additionally, some “premium” credit cards, the ones with crazy high annual fees, and names involving precious metals and gems often cover Global Entry fees. We don’t get any kickbacks from the cards either, just trying to save you a few bucks.