Applying for Global Entry? It could take more than three months

Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Deployments to the southern border are contributing to a backlog

Those applying for the trusted traveler program known as Global Entry for quicker Customs clearance should allow up to 100 days for processing.

That's because deployments to the southern border have contributed to "a substantial backlog" in applications and renewals for Global Entry and other U.S. Customs and Border Protection trusted traveler programs. The CBP website attributes the backlog to the deployments to the border as well as to the partial government shutdown earlier this year.

Applicants for Global Entry and other CBP trusted traveler programs SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST "should expect significant delays in application processing times and limited appointment availability" at enrollment centers, according to the agency's website.

It says Global Entry applicants should allow up to 100 days for processing, while applicants for U.S.-Canada trusted traveler program NEXUS should allow 3 to 5 months.

After the vetting process, if an application is conditionally approved, the applicant must then schedule an interview -- and some enrollment centers have a long wait for an interview.

The agency temporarily closed a Global Entry enrollment center on Trade Port Drive in Atlanta, though its enrollment center at Hartsfield-Jackson’s international terminal remains open.

An alternative option is to do a walk-up request for a Global Entry interview when returning on an international flight at Hartsfield-Jackson.  There is no advance appointment needed, according to CBP.

Customs and Border Protection officers have been deployed to the southwest border from more than 300 U.S. ports of entry, including airports, seaports and Northern border ports.

Some Transportation Security Administration staff were also deployed to the border.

The agency over the past several months reassigned 731 officers to support U.S. Border Patrol along the southwest border, according to a statement from a CBP spokesperson.

After reassignments earlier this year, Customs wait times exceeded two hours a few times a week, while wait times for non-U.S.citizens were often longer.

But the number of officers deployed has since been reduced to 400, according to CBP, which will help replenish some staffing at ports and airports.

It costs $100 to apply for a Global Entry membership valid for five years. Because Global Entry provides TSA PreCheck benefits for expedited TSA security screening and costs only $15 more than the $85 fee for TSA PreCheck, many travelers apply for Global Entry as a way to get quicker processing through both airport security and Customs when arriving on international flights.

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