Years ago, when we were still living in the US, we were approved for Global Entry. Recently, it was time to renew our Global Entry (you need to renew every 5 years or so).  But, now that we’re living in Mexico – would that be a problem?

What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.

The primary benefit to Global Entry is being able to skip the long lines at airport passport control when entering the United States—you’re given priority access via separate queues.

Global Entry also includes TSA Precheck, which gives you access to security lanes with lighter screening: You can leave your belt and shoes on, your laptop can stay in its case, and you don’t have to take the liquids and gels out of your carry-on. Most of the time, that means a quicker line. 

To apply for Global Entry, you first submit an application online, and then you have an in-person interview at a Global Entry office (typically in a major airport). Once approved, it’s good for about 5 years.

When renewing, you become eligible to renew your membership one year prior to program expiration. 

Global Entry Renewal

Currently, there’s a large backlog for Global Entry, so it can take quite a while to receive the outcome of your application. 

If you submit a renewal application before your membership expires, you will be able to continue to use benefits up to 1 year after your membership expiration date, if your renewal does not get processed in time.

Renewal application, and place of residence

When I filled out my renewal application, I listed my address as my actual address in Mexico. We do have a US mailing address (using TravelingMailbox.com). I briefly considered using that, but then smartly corrected myself. No way I was going to be anything but 100% correct with CBP and TSA. 

So I provided our Mexico address, and all of the other requested information (such as all of the countries we’ve visited in the past 5 years).

Waiting…

I submitted my renewal application on August 2, 2019
I checked on it every month or so, but it was always in a Pending Approval status. Finally, this week, I received an email with a subject of “TTP Application Status Change“. I logged on, and my renewal had been approved! 

I was just approved this week (February 27, 2020). That’s almost 7 months since I submitted the application!

So, to the question of Can I obtain Global Entry while living in Mexico? – from my experience, the answer is a definitive Yes!

Eligibility for Global Entry

Are You Eligible? From the Global Entry website:

U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and citizens of the following countries are eligible for Global Entry membership:

  • Citizens of Argentina
  • Citizens of India
  • Citizens of Colombia
  • Citizens of United Kingdom
  • Citizens of Germany
  • Citizens of Panama
  • Citizens of Singapore
  • Citizens of South Korea
  • Citizens of Switzerland
  • Citizens of Taiwan
  • Mexican nationals

Can I join Global Entry if I am not a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident?

From the Global Entry Frequently Asked Questions:

Global Entry is also available to citizens of the Netherlands who are enrolled in FLUX and Korean Smart Entry Service members. Citizens of Germany, Panama, and Mexico may also apply for Global Entry. Canadian NEXUS members have Global Entry benefits, but are not eligible to join.

What about the Mexican Viajero Confiable program?

U.S. Citizens may apply for the Mexican Viajero Confiable program for expedited entry into Mexico. This is Mexico’s version of Global Entry. I’ll leave details about the Viajero Confiable program for a future post.

Is it worth it?

For us, it has been absolutely worth it. Every time we flew back into the US (typically into DFW, IAH, or AUS) – we were able to use the short Global Entry lines, which greatly cut down on the amount of time it took to get through immigration. Sometimes the normal immigration lines can be super long!

In addition, with TSA Precheck, this allows use of the quicker TSA Precheck lines in the US. Over the last few years a lot more people in the US have gotten Precheck, so the Precheck lines aren’t always shorter, but they do tend to move quicker (since everyone leaves their shoes and belts on and can leave laptops and toiletries in their bag). 

Your credit card may give you Global Entry for free!

The application fee for Global Entry is $100. But, many credit cards will automatically reimburse you for this fee. You can typically get this credit every 4 years. 

These are some of the credit cards that will reimburse your Global Entry fee:

  • IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • The Platinum Card from American Express
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • United Explorer Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express® Card
  • Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa credit card
  • Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and I did receive the $100 credit. 
So, before applying or renewing, check your credit card benefits, and if possible, use a card that reimburses you for this fee.

Wrap Up

We were unsure what would happen if we needed to renew Global Entry while living in Mexico – now we know. No problem at all. Now we get to enjoy the expedited screening process for another 5 years. Sweet!