Help Getting Through Customs & Immigration, and Airport Security
Written by: Kuki
I’ve just received my “NEXUS” card. “Nexus” is a part of the Global Entry “Trusted Traveler Program”.
The “Trusted Traveler Program” is offered through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service. “Nexus” is the name of the part of the program which applies to Canadian travelers, entering the United States and returning to Canada, as well as Mexico.
The program applies to entry and exit either by land or sea, and is designed to speed participants through the customs and immigration, and airport security processes.
There are similar programs available to citizens of the Australia, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Mexico, and the United States (in the United States it is known as the Global Entry System). All applications go through the U.S. Border and Protection systems, Global Entry https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes/HomePagePreAction.do .
All applications are done online, at the site above, and applicants pay the fee at the time the application is remitted. Applicants are then processed with extensive background checks as the initial step in the process.
**NOTE** – There are private companies offering FOR FEE service to assist you in completing the application process. I warn AGAINST using them! The online application is quite simple, and the only thing using a private service to assist you will do is COST you more money unnecessarily.
Once your back ground check is done you’ll receive a notification, and and will have to make an appointment to report to a U.S. Border Protection office, for an in person interview. During the interview process you will be fingerprinted, receive an Iris scan (recognition program), and be shown a short video on how to correctly use the Trusted Travelers Program airport kiosks.
If you’ve traveled through most of the major International Airports in the United States, or through U.S. Border Protection areas located in foreign country’s airports (where you clear U.S. Customs and Immigration prior to boarding your flight), you have likely noticed separate lines for members of the Global Entry Program.
The purpose of the program is to expedite the entire travel process for participants in the programs, and avoid the sometimes long lines for both Customs and Immigration and TSA security.
The time required, from the date of your initial online application, to your scheduling your appointment, to your approval for the program and receiving your membership ID card, will of course vary. In my case the entire process took approximately 3 months.
The cost of entering the program, in my case, was $50, and my membership in the program is valid for 5 years. As I’ve just received my membership, I have yet to use it to travel, so can’t yet verify how efficiently the program runs, nor how much time it may save me.
Beginning in September of this year U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be offering the TSA Pre-check program. The aim of this program, designed for domestic air travel, will be to speed up the TSA security process at airports for members who do not feel the need to be members of the existing Global Entry Programs, but are only interested in speeding the process through airport TSA security.
TSA Pre-check participants will pass through an expedited security line, and will not be required to remove their belts or laptop computers, nor will they be required to remove their shoes.
Members of the Global Entry Program do qualify for use of the TSA Pre-check program at no additional cost.
For folks like me, who despise the air travel experience, and only tolerate it as a means to an end, hopefully membership in this program will slightly reduce my stress levels by reducing the amount of time I spend standing in lines worrying about my upcoming flight.
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Posted: August 27th, 2013 under Paul Motter.