While EU announces an entry ban for US citizens due to the rising Coronavirus infection rate, the three prominent travel services in the United States – US Passport Services, Global Entry and TRS PreCheck – have resumed its operations.
US Passport Services
Having been suspended since mid-March, the US Department of State is going to resume US passport services in a phased manner. So far due to limited staffing onsite, only emergent requests like life and death scenarios were being considered.
According to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, all important documents that come with a passport application should to be vetted in person at a government facility.
Before the pandemic, 18 million US passports were processed annually.
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What To Expect
- Phase 1: 14 passport agencies have resumed operations
- Phase II: All US passport applications received since March will be processed first. 200,000 passports to be processed each week
- Phase III: The remaining staff comes onboard and begin offering expedited application processes.
- With a backlog of 1.7 million US passport applications pending due to the Covid lockdown, a 2-month processing delay should be expected as they catch up on pending applications.
The Global Entry program that allows for expedited airport exits will resume its operations on July 6, 2020.
For a $100 fee, conditionally approved applicants for Global Entry applicants will be able to complete in-person interviews in Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers again.
What to Expect
- Always make an appointment in advance before an in-person interview.
- You are advised to first apply for conditional approval online and complete the enrollment process upon arrival from abroad at a participating airport.
- Everyone is expected to wear protective masks at all times. Everyone should approach the personnel from behind protective plexi-glass barriers at the service counter.
- Sign-in sheets and other touch points have been eliminated and seating has been reduced in the waiting area as part of social distancing measures.
- While biometrics continue, fingerprinting devices will be cleaned frequently.
- Global Entry applicants who are conditionally approved have a grace period of 485 days to complete an interview for their enrollment.
- Members who apply for renewal before their expiration is up will have an 18-month extension to their benefits, instead of the usual six months.
- After July 6, applicants should expect a 3/5-month processing delay.
- Residents of New York state still aren’t eligible
Trusted Traveler Programs
What’s the difference between each
Run by the Transportation Security Administration, PreCheck also expedites your airport security. You are exempt from removing your shoes, belt and laptop.
What To Expect
- Due to Covid Lockdown, some enrollment centers have closed or modified their hours of operations. Please call to confirm before scheduling an appointment.
- If a previously scheduled interview appointment is canceled, you’ll be notified and given a chance to rebook.
- At some airports, PreCheck lanes may be temporarily closed because of low passenger numbers.
- The lockdown did not create any backlog, and approval process is under 3 weeks
- For any cancellations, T.S.A. is not offering refunds or extensions.
- Membership continues to cost $85 for five years.