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Jessica Spiegel

Know Your Trusted Traveler Programs

Posted by Jessica Spiegel on January 26, 2018
TSA PreCheck Benefits, picture
Photo credit
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Photo caption
Pre-approved traveler programs allow you to skip some of the regular screenings when flying commercially.

Anything that makes getting through an airport easier and less stressful is a good thing, and that's exactly what the various trusted traveler programs are designed to do. Eligibility requirements, costs, and availability differ with each program, so if after reading this overview you're still not sure which is right for you, try this interactive page on the Department of Homeland Security's website.

 

TSA PreCheck

 

TSA PreCheck (also called simply TSA Pre) is a TSA program for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents traveling within the United States. A passport is not required.

 

It grants access to the TSA PreCheck security line at airports, though not all airports participate in the program. It moves more quickly, as it does not require removal of shoes, laptops, belts, and other items, which can cause delays in the regular security lines.

 

  • Cost: $85 for a 5-year membership
  • How to Apply: You need to pre-enroll online, during which process you'll make an appointment to visit an enrollment center for an interview. At the interview, an official will take your fingerprints and verify your ID.

 

Global Entry

 

Global Entry is operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and is available to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents as well as “citizens of certain other countries.” You'll need a passport or a lawful permanent resident card to apply.

 

With Global Entry, you get the benefits of TSA PreCheck, and you'll also get through border control more quickly when you arrive in the U.S.

 

  • Cost: $100 for a 5-year membership
  • How to Apply: You need to pre-enroll online, during which process you'll make an appointment to visit an enrollment center for an interview. At the interview, an official will take your fingerprints and verify your ID.

 

Nexus

 

Nexus is a CBP program that's strictly for traveling between the U.S. and Canada, and is available to citizens and lawful permanent residents of both countries. No passport is required.

 

With Nexus, citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. and Canada get the benefits of TSA PreCheck as well as Global Entry benefits. With Nexus, you'll have access to expedited processing during arrivals in both countries—not just the United States.

 

  • Cost: $50 for a 5-year membership
  • How to Apply: You need to pre-enroll online, during which process you'll make an appointment to visit an enrollment center for an interview. At the interview, an official will take your fingerprints and verify your ID.

 

Sentri

 

The Sentri program, also operated by CBP, is solely for returning to the U.S. from Mexico via land. No passport is required.

 

Sentri includes TSA PreCheck and Global Entry benefits for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, plus speedier processing at land borders upon arriving in the U.S. from Mexico.

 

  • Cost: $122.25 for a 5-year membership
  • How to Apply: You need to pre-enroll online, during which process you'll make an appointment to visit an enrollment center for an interview. At the interview, an official will take your fingerprints and verify your ID.

 

Clear

 

The only private program authorized by the TSA, Clear is available to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. A passport is not required.

 

Clear gets you through security faster with screening kiosks that scan your fingerprint or retina, rather than waiting for a TSA official to check your ID. At the time of this writing, Clear kiosks are only at a limited number of airports—as well as a few baseball stadiums.

 

  • Cost: $179 per year
  • How to Apply: You can pre-enroll online, then visit a Clear location (no appointment required), and you only need to bring your ID.