You may need to prepare for a delay if you're about to submit an application for Global Entry membership. Officials speaking on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) are warning that the application process is taking 90 days or more for roughly 35 percent of all applications. The remaining applications are being processed within 15 days. However, a statement posted on the CPB website is urging travelers to be prepared to wait up to 100 days for approval. Both new applications and renewals are being impacted by delays.

Why are applications for Global Entry being delayed? It turns out that applications are still backed up from the 35-day government shutdown that ended back in January of this year. In addition, the security crisis at the border is siphoning CPB resources from Global Entry enrollment centers around the country.

Popularity is another factor that is contributing to long processing times for Global Entry applications. The popularity of the program is partly to blame for the backlog that CPB officials are facing. You may already know that Global Entry membership is good for five years. The fact that the program saw a huge spike in membership in late 2013 means that 2019 has turned into a huge year for renewals.

What can you do to avoid losing all of the benefits that go along with Global Entry? It is important to be proactive. Don't wait until your membership is about to expire to begin the renewal process. In fact, you should be starting the renewal process today if your membership is a year away from expiring. You will actually be able to use your benefits up until your renewal is finalized, or up to one year past the expiration date (whichever comes first), as long as your renewal application is pending.

Scott Dylan is a contributing writer at GET.com and has been to (almost) every country in North, Central and South America with nothing more than a backpack, a laptop and the desire to explore. He speaks Spanish fluently and has logged enough time in planes, trains, rideshares, buses, taxis and rickshaws to know how to rack up rewards and points to get anywhere his heart desires for pennies on the dollar. Email: scott.dylan@get.com.