TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS And CLEAR® Plus

TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS And CLEAR® Plus

TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS, and CLEAR Plus are trusted traveler programs designed to streamline the security screening and border crossing process. They are essential resources for frequent travelers and serve to make air travel, border crossings, and general travel significantly more efficient.

TSA PreCheck is a trusted traveler program operated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States. For a cost of $78 for five years, members of this program can go through expedited screening at select airports across the United States. With TSA PreCheck, travelers don’t need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, and light jackets, thus speeding up the security check process. The application process involves an online application and an in-person appointment for a background check and fingerprinting. Once approved, travelers receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that should be used when booking travel.

Global Entry is another program offered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It provides expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. For a fee of $100 for a five-year membership, travelers can use automatic kiosks at select airports to bypass the traditional customs and immigration process. Like TSA PreCheck, the application process involves an online application and an in-person interview. Approved applicants receive a Global Entry card and a Known Traveler Number. Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck benefits.

NEXUS is a joint program between the United States and Canada, administered by the CBP in the U.S. and the Canada Border Services Agency in Canada. For a fee of $50 for a five-year membership, it provides expedited processing when entering either country by air, land, or sea. The application process involves an online application and an interview at a NEXUS enrollment center. The program is particularly beneficial for frequent travelers between the U.S. and Canada, who can avoid long lines at border crossings or immigration checkpoints. NEXUS members also receive the benefits of TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.

CLEAR Plus is a privately-owned service that provides expedited security screening at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. Unlike the other programs, CLEAR uses biometric identification (fingerprints and iris scans) to verify identity, bypassing the need for physical IDs. The cost of membership is $189 per year, but discounts are available for family members and certain credit card users. While it doesn’t replace the security check, it allows you to reach the physical screening process faster.

All these programs are compatible, and one’s choice depends on personal travel habits and preferences. For example, frequent domestic travelers in the U.S. may find TSA PreCheck sufficient, while those who often travel internationally may prefer Global Entry. If you frequently travel between the U.S. and Canada, NEXUS may be the best choice. CLEAR Plus can be a great addition to any of these programs, but it is more limited in its availability.

The application processes for these programs vary but generally include an online application, an in-person interview, and background and identity checks. Upon approval, members receive a unique identifier (like a Known Traveler Number) which they provide when booking travel. For CLEAR, members can enroll at any participating airport.

In conclusion, TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS, and CLEAR Plus are all designed to make travel more efficient and hassle-free. The right program for you depends on your travel needs and the cost you’re willing to bear for convenience. By investing in these programs, travelers can significantly cut down on time spent in security lines and make their journey a little smoother.