Other Trusted Traveler Programs

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TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are two popular types of trusted traveler programs available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as these programs provide members with benefits such as expedited security screening, less stress and a more enjoyable traveling experience. However, SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST are other types of trusted traveler programs. While PreCheck is available under the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Department of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) administers these other trusted traveler programs. To enroll in these programs, however, applicants must undergo a background screening and in-person interview, as these memberships are only available to qualifying, low-risk applicants.

While enrolling in Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck is ideal for international travelers who regularly need to re-enter the U.S., the PreCheck program is best for those who travel domestically. With a Global Entry membership, however, travelers receive PreCheck benefits as well. To learn more about these programs for trusted travelers, review the information below.

How do TSA PreCheck and Global Entry memberships differ?

A PreCheck TSA membership is an excellent benefit for trusted travelers who regularly fly throughout the country. With a PreCheck membership, travelers can bypass standard TSA security lanes at participating U.S. airports, helping them to reach their gates more quickly. Instead of waiting in long lines, qualifying PreCheck members can proceed to expedited TSA security lanes without removing their belts, shoes or light jacks. If travelers fly internationally at least once or twice per year, however, a Global Entry membership may be a better option for them. For those who meet the program eligibility requirements, Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck benefits and additional advantages, such as expedited customs processing when entering the country.

To apply for a PreCheck TSA membership, travelers may complete an online application through the website of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). After applying, they must undergo a background screening and in-person interview, and they must present proof of their eligibility. For instance, required documents generally include proof of citizenship and a current form of photo ID.

Note: When choosing between Global Entry versus TSA PreCheck, it is important to keep in mind that applicants need a U.S. passport or permanent resident card to complete the enrollment process for the Global Entry program. Learn more about the program requirements by downloading our comprehensive guide.

What is the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI)?

Travelers may complete a SENTRI application if they regularly travel between the U.S. and Mexico and meet minimum eligibility requirements. For instance, qualifying program members receive the following benefits:

  • Expedited processing at southern land border crossings
  • Access to NEXUS lanes when traveling between Canada and the U.S. by land
  • Access to automated Global Entry kiosks when entering the U.S. by airplane

While citizens of all nationalities may apply for this trusted traveler program, they must submit an online application through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), undergo an in-person interview and present proof of eligibility. For instance, proof of eligibility often includes a passport, permanent resident card, birth certificate and any additional documents that are needed to enter the U.S., such as a visa. Additionally, applicants must pay a nonrefundable enrollment fee.

Moreover, travelers must apply for SENTRI renewal once every five years to continue their membership.

What are the benefits of obtaining a NEXUS card?

Enrolling in Global Entry vs Nexus is a wise choice for passengers who regularly travel between the United States, Canada and other international destinations, while NEXUS is best for those who frequently travel between Canada and the United States. While each of these programs includes PreCheck benefits and access to automated Global Entry kiosks for five years at a time, NEXUS membership fees are cheaper than many other trusted traveler programs.

Moreover, pre-screened NEXUS members can use the following when traveling between Canada and the United States:

  • Expedited vehicle processing lanes at northern ports of entry
  • NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada by air
  • Global Entry kiosks when entering the U.S. by air
  • Expedited processing at marine reporting locations

To obtain NEXUS cards, applicants must be U.S. or Canadian citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs). Additionally, travelers must complete an application through the CBP?s website, undergo an in-person interview and present proof of citizenship. Evidence of citizenship may include a U.S. passport, birth certificate, lawful permanent resident (LPR) card and any additional documents that allow for entrance into the country.

Get more information about Global entry and other programs in our in-depth guide.

Who can benefit from a Free and Secure Trade card (FAST cards)?

Members receive free and secure trade cards when they enroll in the CBP?s FAST program. With a FAST program membership, low-risk commercial vehicle carriers can enter the United States from Mexico or Canada more quickly. However, commercial carriers must undergo a background check and in-person interview. They must also provide the CBP with proof of their program eligibility. For instance, qualifying U.S. citizens or LPRs, Mexican Nationals, and Canadian citizens or lawful permanent residents are eligible for program enrollment.

To apply for a FAST card, applicants must apply online through the CBP?s website. After applying, they may schedule their in-person interview at a participating enrollment center.

Is TSA PreCheck or Global Entry right for you?

Enrolling in Global Entry versus TSA PreCheck has its benefits, as members of this trusted traveler program can access PreCheck lanes at participating U.S. airports, and they receive expedited processing according to customs rules when traveling internationally. Additionally, these nonrefundable enrollment fees are similar in price. However, TSA PreCheck is a better fit for applicants who regularly travel throughout the U.S. but do not plan to leave the country. Moreover, Global Entry is ideal for those who frequently enter the U.S. from international destinations.

To help travelers find a program that best fits their needs, they may use the interactive search tool under the CBP?s website. To use the interactive tool, travelers must select their country of citizenship from the dropdown menu, and they must include information about the average number of flights they plan to take per year. For instance, Global Entry will be a better option for U.S. citizens who plan to take two or more international flights per year but do not plan to travel as much domestically. Alternately, a PreCheck TSA membership will be a better solution for those who plan to fly domestically at least twice per year but have no international trips planned.

Global Entry is a useful program for travelers who take international trips. Global Entry membership can save passengers time, while making a trip's departure and arrival experience more pleasant. GlobalEntryServices.org can help you understand how the Global Entry program works, so you can decide if membership is right for you. Additionally, you can download our guide for only . This convenient guide explains Global Entry eligibility requirements and walks you through the Global Entry enrollment process. Plus, we will let you know which airports offer Global Entry membership, so you can start enjoying hassle-free travel by your next trip.