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How Trump's Immigration Ban May Impact Your Airport Wait Time

A primer on President Donald Trump's ban may affect your next trip.

U.S. News & World Report

How Trump's Immigration Ban May Impact Your Airport Wait Time

Plan ahead before your next flight by knowing what to expect. Getty Images

You may be wondering how President Trump's travel ban, which was put in place on Jan. 27, and immediately prohibited citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country for 90 days – and was blocked nationwide by a federal judge soon thereafter – may affect you. Three federal judges are expected to reach a decision this week on the immigration ban, and while the outcome is still unclear, here are few key takeaways and top things to anticipate before your next trip.

Though the protests across U.S. airports immediately following the ban did not trigger widespread delays or interfere with immigration wait times, ground transportation was affected by the directive. And according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, airport wait times saw a significant spike on Jan. 27, the day the ban was instituted, but returned to their normal range within 24 hours.

And while the ban has not drastically impacted U.S. citizens traveling from the U.S., the consequences were significant for those detained at U.S. airports by Customs and Border Protection and denied entry into the country upon arrival as well as those who were unable to board a plane from their country of origin. Overall, the State Department estimates approximately 60,000 people were impacted by the executive order. That said, the restriction has thus far had minimal impact on traveling U.S. citizens, apart from the confusion caused by the seemingly chaotic roll out of the ban itself.

How to Stay Prepared

To plan ahead before your next flight, make sure to allot extra time at the airport. If you're planning to take an international flight, allot three hours prior to departure; for domestic flights, allot two hours. Aside from scheduling extra time at the airport, consult your local transit service to account for any delays, disruptions or road closures near the airport and leave yourself plenty of time to reach your terminal.

Keep in mind, if you are a dual-passport holder, you may still enter the U.S. with a non-restricted passport or with a visa, even if you are traveling from one of the seven banned countries. A variety of airlines are also offering refunds with waived fees – including American Airlines, Etihad Airways and United Airlines – for those impacted by the recent ban, so make sure to check your airline's policies if you're concerned you may need to pivot, postpone or cancel your flight from the U.S.

How to Avoid the Wait – Ban or Not

Two words: Global Entry. The Global Entry program allows U.S. Citizens and permanent residents to skip slow-moving airport security lines and have expedited entry into the United States at select airports across the country. Global Entry requires an extensive vetting process, including a background check, a fingerprint and an in-person interview, along with a $100 application fee, to be considered.

After completing the vetting process, you'll be able to go to a kiosk at any airport that supports Global Entry, enter your Trusted Traveler information and flight details and scan your passport to take advantage of expedited clearance at the customs checkpoint when entering the U.S. With Global Entry membership, you'll also be granted a five-year enrollment period, making it well worth it for business travelers and occasional, leisure travelers alike who don't mind the arduous enrollment process and fee.

Before you head to the airport, stay attuned to the latest immigration ban developments and ensure you have the necessary documentation – including a U.S. residence card and passport if you are a visa or green card holder – before embarking on an international trip to guarantee you'll be able to reenter the U.S. upon your return. For more information, consult the CBP INFO center website.

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Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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