After several months of closure the U.S. Customs & Border Protection agency will reopen their enrollment centers for Trusted Traveler Programs that require an in person appearance such as Global Entry, TSA PreCheck and Nexus.
Enrollment center closing period will run out on on September 8, 2020 and the CBP has no announced any extension of this date as they have done in the past, leading to believe these offices will be open again very soon.
While the enrollment process is done exclusively online, Trusted Traveler Programs require an in person “interview” as the final step to complete the registration and for these purposes CBP has set up enrollment centers at all major U.S. airports and some remote locations.
Those seeking to enroll in programs such as Global Entry, TSA PreCheck and Nexus have mostly been stuck in the enrollment while waiting for their interview process.
This is the message on the CBP website concerning the enrollment:
Out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of minimizing exposure and controlling the spread of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak, all US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment Centers will suspend operations until at least September 8, 2020. This temporary closure includes all public access to Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST enrollment locations. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience through this process. Enrollment on Arrival remains operational at participating airports. For locations please visit https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/enrollment-arrival.
Despite the slowdown of travel in the past 6 months there is still a steady demand for the TTP’s last but not least because the membership comes complimentary with several premium credit cards that reimburse the enrollment fee.
The last time the period of closing the enrollment centers was extended was on July 20th so a month ago as published on the DHS website:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today that Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment centers will remain closed until at least September 8, 2020 to ensure the health and safety of program applicants and CBP personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made in consultation with CBP health and safety experts who continue to monitor the increase in COVID-19 cases across the United States. CBP’s highest priority is to ensure the health, safety and security of the American people.
Trusted Traveler Programs applicants who scheduled interviews at enrollment centers on or before September 7 must reschedule their appointments. To reschedule, applicants should log into their Trusted Traveler Programs account on or after September 8 and use the online scheduling tool.
In order to minimize the impact of the enrollment centers closure on Trusted Traveler Programs applicants, CBP further extended the period of time that applicants have to complete the enrollment process. Every applicant now has 545 days from the date that CBP conditionally approves his or her application 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.
CBP’s Enrollment on Arrival program remains operational. This program is the best option for conditionally approved Global Entry applicants to complete the enrollment process without pre-scheduling an interview at an enrollment center.
So far there hasn’t been any update regarding yet another extension of keeping these offices closed. That’s not to say there won’t be one within the next two weeks. We’re talking about the government after all and as everyone can attest governments approach to things is usually based on all sorts of factors but not customer service like a private enterprise.
Passengers arriving internationally to the U.S. can still avail themselves of the enrollment on arrival option but with international travel severely limited these days that’s a slim option. The best choice is to wait for SEP 8 and see what (if) rescheduling will be possible for a convenient location near you.
Right now TTP enrollment looks on schedule to proceed with interviews in early/mid September. As mentioned there is no guarantee this won’t be pushed back based on risk assessment by the DHS. They have now increased the grace period from the date of application approval to to point of where an in person interview has to take place to 1.5 years but that’s more administrative help than a genuine customer service approach (these programs cost good money after all).
It’s hard to say if it’s even worth signing up at the moment. Sure before your credit card allowance for these programs goes away I guess you can file an application and then just sit it out. Just don’t expect anything to come of it within the next 12 months or so given the backlog of cases. Your best shot would likely be enrollment upon arrival at customs. For airport security maybe CLEAR would be a decent alternative to PreCheck at the moment.