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Navigating Trusted Traveler Programs: Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, NEXUS, and CLEAR

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Traveling can be a joyous experience, but navigating through long lines and security checks often dampens the enthusiasm, causes anxiety, and can slow things down. Fortunately, various Trusted Traveler Programs like Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, NEXUS, and CLEAR are designed to streamline your travel process. While originally designed to aid the corporate traveler road warrior, these affordable programs have gained popularity for all traveler types in recent years.

Let us dive into the specifics of each program, outlining how you can obtain them and their benefits and costs.

Global Entry – The International Traveler’s Companion

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

How to Obtain:

  • Apply Online: Apply through the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) website and pay a non-refundable fee of $100.
  • Background Check: After review, you will be invited for an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center.
  • Interview: Complete the interview, where they will take your photo and fingerprints.

Benefits:

  • Expedited entry into the United States using automatic kiosks at select airports.
  • Includes TSA PreCheck benefits, allowing quicker passage through TSA security lines in airports within the USA.
  • No need to fill out customs declaration forms upon re-entry to the U.S.

TSA PreCheck – Breeze Through Domestic United States Security

What is it?

TSA PreCheck is a U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program for domestic and select international flights that offers expedited security screening.

How to Obtain:

  • Online Application: Complete the application and pay the $85 fee for a five-year membership.
  • In-Person Appointment: Attend a 10-minute in-person appointment that includes a background check and fingerprinting.
  • Staples offers TSA PreCheck enrollment. Check with your nearest store.

Benefits:

  • Speed through security without removing shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, or light jackets.
  • Available at over 200 airports with 80+ participating airlines.

NEXUS – The Best of Both Countries

What is it?

NEXUS is a program designed for expedited processing at the U.S. and Canadian borders, primarily for those frequently traveling between the two countries.

How to Obtain:

  • Joint Application: Apply through the TTP website, with a non-refundable fee of $50 for a five-year membership.
  • Interview: After preliminary approval, schedule an interview at a NEXUS Enrollment Center.

Benefits:

  • Expedited processing at U.S. and Canadian border crossings.
  • Access to TSA PreCheck and Canadian PreCheck lanes.
  • Expedited marine reporting and airport entry.

CLEAR: Speedy Identity Verification

What is it?

CLEAR is a private biometric screening program that verifies your identity using your eyes and fingertips, expediting the document check process at airports and stadiums. Currently available at 55 US airports.

How to Obtain:

  • Enroll Online or In-Person: Register online or directly at a CLEAR kiosk.
  • Biometric Enrollment: Complete the process at an airport kiosk where your biometrics are recorded.
  • Cost: Annual membership is $179, often with discounts available for certain credit card holders or frequent flyers.

Benefits:

  • Skip the line for ID check at airports and stadiums.
  • Combines with TSA PreCheck for an even faster security process.
  • Available at 50+ airports, stadiums, and other venues across the U.S.

Combining the Programs

For the ultimate travel experience, consider enrolling in multiple programs. CLEAR and TSA PreCheck make a powerful duo for domestic travel, while Global Entry (which includes TSA PreCheck) is ideal for international flyers. NEXUS is a fantastic option for frequent travelers between the U.S. and Canada.

Below you will find a value and comparison grid that provides a glance at all four programs.

Value and Benefit Comparison

Trusted Traveler Websites:

Global Entry: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry

TSA PreCheck: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck

Nexus: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/menu-eng.html 

Clear: https://www.clearme.com/

Lastly, the Mobile Passport Control (MPC) allows eligible travelers to submit their travel document, photo, and customs declaration information through a free, secure app on their smartphone or other mobile device. The use of MPC streamlines the traveler’s entry process into the United States by reducing passport control inspection time and overall wait time. Use of MPC does not require pre-approval. Travelers who successfully use the MPC app will no longer have to complete a paper form and may be provided with a designated queue. As a result, travelers may experience shorter wait times, less congestion and efficient processing. CBP’s MPC app is a free application that can be downloaded from the Apple App store and Google Play and is currently available for eligible travelers to use upon arrival at MPC approved sites. 

To learn more about approved MPC sites visit: https://www.cbp.gov/about/mobile-apps-directory

The programs offer various levels of convenience and efficiency, depending on your travel needs and destinations. While there is an upfront cost, the time saved, and the stress reduction can make these programs a worthwhile investment for frequent travelers. destinations.

 Travel Safety Solutions

Your Safety. Our Priority.

Joanne McNellis

Joanne McNellis

At the forefront of Travel Safety Solutions stands Joanne McNellis, our founder, and the driving force behind our company’s ethos. With a distinguished career spanning over two decades in the travel industry, Joanne is a reservoir of unparalleled knowledge and expertise. Her profound devotion to traveler community with an emphasis on safety and well-being echoes her contagious passion for travel.

4 Responses

  1. Thanks for this. It is so hard to navigate all the opinions available. The benefits/value comparison is such a helpful tool!

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Joanne

Joanne Mcnellis