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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.

- A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising – (the white knuckle flier)

 

 

 

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Comments

Comment from Mike Mastellar
Time August 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

I’ve had Global Entry (GOES) for about two years. It does expedite entry back into the states and “somewhat” expedites security. Because I have a pacemaker I still have to get a pat down each time I go through security. If you have an American Express Platinum, and pay the fee with that card, Amex will credit your account for the $100 application fee. If they didn’t pay the fee I don’t know if I would have enrolled. I still don’t know if it is worth $100 unless you frequently travel out of the country. Previous to using the GOES system I never really had an issue with security or customs.

Take care,
Mike

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time August 29, 2013 at 5:34 am

Nice, BUT you still have to fly in nearly all instances, and thats the part that is more debasing, demoralizing, agonizing and just plain rude. That’s why we FLY across the pond, and rest up on the Queen Mary 2 back to New York – one day some cruise line could offer regular service such as Holland America so we can all get over AND back and have a nice vacation in between. Since Carnival PLC owns Cunard and HAL, schedules could be made to hook up with east and west bound crossings. And, there are the wonderful repositioning cruises from which to book, maybe not as convenient as sailing from Southampton after spending a damp summer in England! Or the heat of Paris, or the food in Rome or, or…….!

Comment from Ellliott
Time August 29, 2013 at 8:18 am

I carry a valid Home Land Security ID card that has been verified for my security since I was 17 years old. At the airport it doesn’t mean shit to the TSA people…

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