September 14, 2020 - Conde Nast
On September 9, U.S. Customs and Border Protection shared plans to implement changes to the Global Entry program. The proposed changes are intended to "harmonize the fees and application procedures" of three expedited entry programs, including Global Entry, the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection program (better known as SENTRI, it monitors the U.S.-Mexico border), and the NEXUS program (used at the U.S.-Canada border). And yes, these changes will have a direct impact on travelers.
Most notable among the proposed changes is a fee increase for the Global Entry program, which the CBP intends to raise from the current $100 for a five-year membership to $120, stating that "the current fees are no longer sufficient to recover CBP's costs to administer the programs." Meanwhile, the SENTRI fee would drop from the current $122.25 to $120, while NEXUS would increase from $50 to $120, so that each program is the same cost. These price changes would impact all new applicants, and existing members upon renewal.
The good news: Minors under the age of 18, who currently pay the same price as adults for a Global Entry membership, would be exempt from this fee if their parent or legal guardian has or concurrently applies for Global Entry. Minors will still be subject to the vetting and fingerprinting process. SENTRI will similarly be free for those under 18, and the currently available family plans will be eliminated.
It's unclear when these changes may take affect, so those who have a Trusted Traveler program expiring in the next year might want to consider renewing now. Public weigh-in and comments on the proposal, which is shared in detail on government website Regulations.gov, will be accepted through November 9, 2020. This comes just after Global Entry enrollment centers, which closed back in March due to the pandemic, began resuming interviews on September 8 in most centers throughout the country (find the full list of open centers on the Department of Homeland Security's website). As U.S. land borders with both Mexico and Canada remain closed, SENTRI and NEXUS interviews have yet to resume.
For travelers whose credit cards cover their Global Entry membership as a perk, there's no word yet on whether credit card companies will cover this difference. Typically, taking advantage of this benefit requires purchasing Global Entry on an eligible credit card, through which the card company offers a $100 reimbursement.
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