Let’s be clear about one thing: You generally should not need to display a physical Global Entry card when going through customs at an airport.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has made clear that the card is not required for members to access the expedited customs lanes for air travel. Generally, the cards are meant for crossing land borders into the U.S.
Yet, over the course of this year, we’ve heard from a number of travelers who have run into various situations where they’ve been asked to display their physical card. In fact, this summer TPG identified four different scenarios where you might want to have your card handy.
Add in the fact that a Global Entry card can be a backup form of identification at the TSA checkpoint — not to mention a form of ID you can still use if you don’t get a Real ID by the federal deadline in May — and that makes it a handy card to have in your wallet.
When we’ve talked about these cards in the past, though, we’ve heard from quite a few travelers who either never got a physical Global Entry card, or have no clue, at this point, where their card is.
If you’re so inclined, and a current member of the program, here’s what you can do to get a new or replacement card to document your Global Entry membership.
Tip: How to get a replacement Global Entry card
To get your hands on a new or replacement Global Entry card, you’ll want to log onto the U.S. Department of Homeland Security portal where you manage Trusted Traveler Program memberships — ttp.dhs.gov.
There, you’ll log in. If it’s been a few years since you’ve accessed your account online and can’t remember your password (I know I couldn’t remember mine) you should be able to click “forgot my password” and do a password recovery using the email address you used to create your account.
Once you’re logged into your portal, you should be able to see your active memberships — in your case and mine, Global Entry.
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The box should include your membership expiration date and number, as well as the earliest possible date on which you can renew your membership.
On your member information display, there’s also a button that reads “Replace Card.”
Once you click on that, it will take you to a page where you’ll be asked to give your reason for a card replacement.
Again, on this page, CBP reiterates that a Global Entry card is not required for air travel. However, as mentioned, there may still be reasons you’d want a card.
There are a few reasons you can give for needing a new card, whether it’s a change in your personal information, never receiving a card or having a card that was damaged, lost or stolen.
It will prompt you to answer a few additional questions, after which you can submit your application for a new card.
As the information on the page points out, this is strictly for replacement cards and is not the same as a card renewal. You’ll have to go through an entire renewal of your Global Entry program membership to actually do a renewal.
Thus, “if your card replacement request is approved,” the CBP says, “your program membership’s expiration date remains the same.”
In other words, all you’re doing here is getting yourself a new physical card, not a re-upped Global Entry membership.
Generally, Global Entry members should not have to display any physical card to access the expedited lines at customs. In fact, Global Entry has increasingly gone paper- and document-free with the help of biometrics.
However, considering the isolated cases we’ve heard about from members who have been asked to display a card, as well as how the card can help you at the TSA checkpoint if you’re not able to get a Real ID from now through May 2023, it’s a handy card to have in your wallet.
If yours seems to have disappeared (or you never saw one) this could be a quick and easy way to get a new one.