Renew your Global Entry now before the price goes up

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The price of avoiding long airport lines is going up.

Customs and Border Protection announced this week that fees are increasing for expedited security programs including Global Entry, which gives users faster clearance when entering the country and lets them use expedited lanes at security checkpoints. The cost will increase from $100 to $120 on Oct. 1.

The agency said in a news release that the price has not changed in some 15 years and that the new fee is “better reflecting the program costs.”

“As these programs have matured and expanded, updating the fee structures is critical to the continuation and management of the programs,” the news release says.

Last fiscal year saw a record number of applications, 3.2 million. This year, demand is on track to reach as many as 4 million applications. The agency said it has enrolled an average of 300,000 applicants every month compared with 252,000 a month last fiscal year.

Customs and Border Protection says on its website that it can take “several months” to get an application processed. Customers need to fill out an application online, await conditional approval, then take the final step of doing an in-person interview. That can happen at an enrollment center ahead of travel or upon arriving in the country at participating airports.

According to the agency, half of Global Entry applicants were approved within 105 days of applying last year. Three-quarters of applicants were approved within 285 days.

The changes come with one perk for families: Those under 18 who apply for Global Entry with a parent or legal guardian who is already a member or is also applying will no longer have to pay a fee. They have been required to pay $100 with their application.

For those who find the new price too steep — or the uncertain wait time too onerous — the agency suggests another option: Mobile Passport Control.

The app, which some call the “best-kept secret in air travel,” lets travelers submit their photo, customs declaration and passport to streamline their return to the country at approved airports. There’s often a separate line for MPC at airports.

“Travelers who successfully use the MPC app will no longer have to complete a paper form and may be provided a designated queue,” the Customs and Border Protection website says. “As a result, travelers may experience shorter wait times, less congestion and efficient processing.”

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