Reps. Williams, Crockett, and Lawler Lead Bipartisan Letter Calling for Answers on Delays in Processing for Global Entry Program

Feb 28, 2024
Press

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), and Congressman Mike Lawler (NY-17) led a bipartisan letter with 14 other members to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to address concerns over delayed processing times impacting applicants to the Global Entry Program. This letter comes after a noticeable increase in Global Entry-related casework in congressional offices and complaints from constituents over extended wait times to process applications over the past several months.  

The members write:

“Every day, more and more of our constituents are contacting our district offices for help regarding wait times and are seeking additional information regarding the status and processing of their Global Entry applications. One Texas resident reported that ‘he’s waited nearly a year for word on his Global Entry renewal application.’” 

The members continue:

“When seeking clarity as to the average wait time, however, CBP appears to be providing conflicting messaging. On one [of the agency’s] websites, [CBP] claim[s] that processing time for Global Entry may take between four to six months—on another it states it can take up to a year.  For the majority of our constituents, this seems to be an unreasonable length of processing time.  As a result, Congressional offices are forced to dedicate additional time and resources that could otherwise be devoted to different constituent service demands and needs.”

The members conclude the letter with a series of questions pertaining to issues impacting the Global Entry Program’s processing of applications and ask U.S. Customs and Border Protection to respond by May 31, 2024.  

The full letter is available here, with letter text below.


The Honorable Troy A. Miller 

Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner 

U.S. Customs & Border Protection

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, 

Room 3.5A

Washington, DC 20229

The Honorable Peter R. Flores 

Acting Deputy Commissioner

U.S. Customs & Border Protection

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.

Room 3.5A

Washington, DC 20229 

Dear Acting Commissioner Miller and Acting Deputy Commissioner Flores:

We write to express our concerns regarding processing and wait times associated with the Department of Homeland Security, (“DHS”) U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (“CBP”) Global Entry Program.  Given the program’s impact on business and personal travel for our constituents, we ask that you respond to this letter no later than Friday, May 31 2024.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel to and from the United States has significantly increased.  For instance, the United States National Travel and Tourism Office reported in October 2023 that international travel to the U.S. and its economic impact showed significant growth—with international air travelers spending roughly $18.9 billion in the United States during the second quarter, up 33% from the same period in 2022.[1]  Additionally, over 720,000 air travelers came from Mexico, spending roughly $1,271.00 in the United States per trip.[2]  This is to say nothing of the number of American citizens traveling in and back to the United States.

Due to increased desire for air travel, there has been a significant rise in the number of individuals applying for Global Entry status. As you know, Global Entry is a program that permits expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival into the United States.  Members enter the United States by accessing the Global Entry processing technology at select airports, including some of the country’s busiest—Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport,  and Los Angeles International Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York.[3]  To receive Global Entry status, U.S. citizens as well as citizens from select other countries[4] must submit an application and pay a $100 fee.[5] If approved, they receive access to expedited entry benefits in other countries, reduced wait times at security checkpoints, as well as Transportation Security Administration Pre-Check eligibility.[6]

Axios reported that CBP was on track to receive over 3.2 million Global Entry applications for Fiscal Year 2023—an increase of over 2 million from the prior year.[7]   However, our offices need not read news reports to understand the impact this increase has had on our constituents.  Every day, more and more of our constituents are contacting our district offices for help regarding wait times and are seeking additional information regarding the status and processing of their Global Entry applications.  One Texas resident reported that “he’s waited nearly a year for word on his Global Entry renewal application.”[8]  When seeking clarity as to the average wait time, however, CBP appears to be providing conflicting messaging.  On one of your websites, you claim that processing time for Global Entry may take between four to six months[9]—on another it states it can take up to a year.[10]  For the majority of our constituents, this seems to be an unreasonable length of processing time.  As a result, Congressional offices are forced to dedicate additional time and resources that could otherwise be devoted to different constituent service demands and needs.

In order to provide members with the necessary information to resolve these issues for our constituents, we request that you provide answers to the following questions no later than Friday, May 31 2024:

1.       How many new Global Entry applications has CBP received since January 1, 2024?

2.       How many Global Entry renewal applications has CBP received since January 1, 2024?

3.       How many new Global Entry applications has CBP processed since January 1, 2024?

4.       How many new Global Entry applications and renewal applications are currently awaiting review by officers?

5.       How many officers are currently assigned to review Global Entry applications, and what, if any, changes have there been regarding these officer staffing levels over the last year?

6.       What steps has CBP taken to expedite application processes for individuals seeking renewal of their Global Entry status, and is CBP considering any additional initiatives?  

7.       How does CBP determine what information it shares with the general public about Global Entry application delays and backlogs?

8.       Does CBP provide information and materials to the public about what Congressional Offices can do in assisting their constituents with issues associated with their Global Entry Applications?  If so, please provide such materials.   

9.       Please provide a timeline for the return of Global Entry Applications processing times to pre-pandemic levels.

10.    Please identify specific resources, authorities, or support Congress can provide that could alleviate the current backlog of Global Entry applications and prevent backlogs in the future.  

*     *     *     *     *     *

[1]     U.S. Dep’t of Commerce, Survey of International Air Travelers Inbound Survey Monitor, www.trade.gov/data-visualization/siat-inbound-survey-monitor (last accessed Dec. 30, 2023).

[2]     Id.

[3]     U.S. Customs & Border Prot. Agency, Airports with Global Entry, www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/airports-with-global-entry (last accessed Dec. 30, 2023).

[4]     Foreign eligibility is available for citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Bahrain, Columbia, India, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, as well as for Mexican Nationals. 

[5]     U.S. Customs & Border Prot. Agency, Airports with Global Entry, www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/how-apply (last accessed Dec. 30, 2023).

[6]     U.S. Customs & Border Prot. Agency, How to Apply for Global Entry, www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/benefits (last accessed Dec. 30, 2023).

[7]     Kelly Tyko, Travel Boom Fuels Record Global Entry Applications and Long Wait Times, Axios (Aug. 1, 2023), www.axios.com/2023/08/01/global-entry-appointment-interview-delays

[8]     Diana Zoga, Waiting for Travel Program Status? Here’s How to Find Answers, NBC Dallas Forth-Worth, (Aug. 29, 2023), www.nbcdfw.com/news/nbc-5-responds/waiting-for-travel-program-status-heres-how-to-find-answers/3326032/

[9]     U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., Trusted Traveler Program, https://ttp.dhs.gov/ (last accessed Jan. 4, 2024).

[10]    U.S. Customs & Border Prot. Agency, How Long Does it Take to Apply for Global Entry, SENTRI, NEXUS or FAST?, https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Article-1885?language=en_US (last accessed Jan. 22, 2024). 

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov 

Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the exclusive Financial Services Committee. She is a champion of voting rights and builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams is committed to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of your ZIP code or bank account.

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