Skip to main content

Which Trusted Traveler Program is Right for You?

If you’re a frequent traveler and are tired of waiting in seemingly endless lines at the airport or customs, Global Entry, NEXUS and TSA PreCheck are some options you may want to consider. 
Global Entry
Global Entry is a program created by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States at certain airports. Citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. and several other countries are eligible for Global Entry. CPB conducts rigorous background checks and an in-person interview to determine an applicant’s eligibility. If an application is successful, members of this program can proceed to a Global Entry kiosk. Program members must present their machine-readable passport or permanent resident card, scan their fingerprints for verification and complete a customs declaration.  
Global Entry has additional benefits as well. This program allows for expedited entry in a number of other countries in addition to the U.S. Global Entry can also be used for expedited land-entry through Canada or Mexico. You can also participate in TSA PreCheck as a participant of Global Entry. 
This program is pricey, with the application costing $100 for a five-year membership. Holders of certain credit cards may be in luck, since a few credit cards will refund the fee. Plus, this program’s additional benefits may help offset the hefty price. It is important to note that a passport is required for this program, which could add an additional expense.
The NEXUS program is similar to Global Entry in several ways. This program also allows for expedited entry for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Membership is limited to U.S. and Canadian citizens and permanent residents as well as Mexican nationals who are a part of Mexico’s trusted traveler program. Locations are limited to the U.S. and Canada. NEXUS can be used entering the U.S. or Canada at automated kiosks in airports and at designated lanes at land entries. You also qualify for TSA PreCheck as a member of this program. 
Fingerprinting, a rigorous background check and an in-person interview are required for this program. Unfortunately, there are only a few interview sites which are all located on the U.S./Canadian border. However, NEXUS is more affordable than Global Entry, costing $50 for a five-year membership. NEXUS has the added benefit of being free for children under the age of 18. No passport is required to apply for NEXUS. 
TSA PreCheck
TSA PreCheck is a program created by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow expedited security screening for trusted travelers at a number of airports. Citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. are eligible for TSA PreCheck. This program is available at more than 200 airports in the U.S. with 53 airlines participating. 
Just like Global Entry and NEXUS, TSA PreCheck is good for five years. The cost of this program is $85. One thing to keep in mind about this program is that its benefits are included as a part of both Global Entry and NEXUS. TSA PreCheck also requires an in-person appointment which includes fingerprinting and a background check. 
Before deciding whether to participate in a trusted traveler program or which one is right for you, make sure to consider your travel habits to determine which program is most beneficial and cost-effective. 
If you are interested in living or working in the United States, please be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law to explore your options today!