Thursday, September24, 2020
Well, this turned out to be quite a week! Totally unexpected. This should be a week of leisure because it turned out to be a “found week”. We were expecting to attend a military reunion in Colorado Springs this week. When that cancelled because of the pandemic, we thought it would be a “do nothing” kind of week. But hey, it’s amazing how other things will pop up to fill a void, even in these Covid times!!! So, without getting into the year-long history of this epic tale, let us simply tell you about our interesting experience completing the renewal of our Global Entry membership in the Trusted Traveler Program.
The Global Entry Program is part of the Trusted Traveler Program of U.S. Customs and Border Protection that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon their arrival in the United States. Members, arriving at certain select airports, proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their identification and fingerprints, and complete a customs declaration. They are then cleared to baggage claim and the exit. Now, it is required that all members of the Global Entry Program will undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interviews prior to their acceptance in the program. And then, they must repeat the process every 5 years.
So, our renewal was coming up this year. If you’ve followed our blog for any length of time, you know we strive to be well prepared and try to plan ahead. When the renewal window opened, we submitted the necessary info and made an appointment to complete the process. Ah but then, the pandemic struck. Interview centers were closed due to Covid. All appointments were cancelled. We booked another appointment for a later date; you guessed it—the closures were extended. So, we tried different locations to conduct the interview. And as the closures spread; our appointments were cancelled, and our rebooks fanned further away. But finally, offices re-opened and we managed to snag an appointment at an airport not usually visited by airline passengers: The Treasure Coast International Airport is primarily a business hub, small, compact and unhurried. It’s in Ft. Pierce, FL. Now that’s a bit of a drive for us, but mostly along the Interstate so the traffic moved speedily. Arriving at the airport, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office was easy to find—it’s adjacent to the terminal. Parking was convenient and free. We arrived a little early but were seen quickly. Less than half an hour later, we were both interviewed, fingerprinted, and the renewal was completed. Quick. Efficient. Easy peasy!!!