It all started with our second canceled trip to Honduras. Our beloved Spirit got us as far as Ft. Lauderdale before they canceled the 2am flight. We were such gracious passengers the fine young manager offered to send us to Bogota, Colombia, later in the day since we wouldn’t be able to make it home in time for work if we attempted to salvage Honduras. On our way home the following day we still had to enter the United States through Ft. Lauderdale before boarding a second plane home. That meant we had to clear customs and immigration in Florida. Then security again. Naturally our flight out of Bogota was delayed and the ticket agent wouldn’t give us our ticket because we wouldn’t have enough time to make the connection and kept saying “we’re working on it”. Bella gave him a lesson in verb tenses and got the tickets out of his hand with a promise that we wouldn’t be upset if we missed it and were forced to take his rebooking later.
At any rate, we ran through the airport, cleared immigration, cut through the baggage line and all the people who were waiting for customs, and actually made our flight with ten minutes to spare. We couldn’t have done it with baggage, but that’s a story for a different time. As we sat catching our collective breath on the plane we began talking about those “Global Entry” kiosks we saw at immigration. $100 for five years seemed like a small price to pay to smooth out the lines.
When we got home We pulled the trigger, filled out all the background check info, and waited for the interview. Eventually we went for finger printing at the airport and received another ID card emblazoned with “GLOBAL ENTRY” across the top. The kiosks are activated with our passports so what was the point of the card? Well, whenever we drove from Windsor into Detroit we had Nexus line privileges. What an awesome deal. I swear I heard angels sing after the first international flight when I breezed through customs and immigration whilst all those who didn’t pay the price of admission had to wait in long lines. We even get TSA pre-check every time we fly. What could be better? We even applied for one for Bella’s son. Total cost: $300.
Fast forward a year or so and I started working on a vehicle launch in Canada. One of the business expenses offered by my employer was a Nexus card. That would let me use the Nexus lanes not just to enter the US, but when traveling the other direction as well. Extremely helpful when crossing on a home hockey night. On the exact same site used to apply for Global Entry I paid $50 and filled out the exact same background info. Once I was cleared I could set up an appointment and go get finger printed. Just like before. Only this time I was in Canada, so I booked an appointment in Fort Erie, Ontario. Whilst I waited to be called to the back I watched the looped video in the waiting room. It described EXACTLY the same benefits as I had with Global Entry, with one minor addition. I would be able to use the kiosks when flying internationally INTO Canada.
I asked both the Canadian and American border guards for confirmation. It still makes no sense to me. Nexus is $50 and Global Entry is $100. Twice as much for half price. If you don’t believe me, this chart is right off the dhs.gov web site. Crazy. And Bella’s son’s was free.
The following chart outlines the Trusted Traveler programs offered by the Department of Homeland Security.
|Agency||Transportation Security Administration||Customs and Border Protection|
|Program||TSA Pre✓™||Global Entry||NEXUS||SENTRI|
|Eligibility Required||U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents.||U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and citizens of certain other countries.1||U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens and lawful permanent residents of Canada.||Proof of citizenship and admissibility documentation.|
|Application Fee||$85.00 (5 year membership)||$100.00 (5 year membership)||$50.00 (5 year membership)||$122.25 (5 year membership)|
|Passport Required||No||Yes; or lawful permanent resident card||No||No|
|Application Process||Pre-enroll online, visit an enrollment center; provide fingerprints and verify ID.||Pre-enroll online, visit an enrollment center for an interview; provide fingerprints and verify ID.||Pre-enroll online, visit an enrollment center for an interview; provide fingerprints and verify ID.||Pre-enroll online, visit an enrollment center for an interview; provide fingerprints and verify ID.|
|Program Experience||TSA Pre✓™ expedited screening at participating airports.||Expedited processing through CBP at airports and land borders upon arrival in the U.S..Includes the TSA Pre✓™ experience.||Expedited processing at airports and land borders when entering the U.S. and Canada.||Includes Global Entry benefits.Includes the TSA Pre✓™ benefits for U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents and Canadian citizens.||Expedited processing through CBP at land borders.||Includes Global Entry and TSA Pre✓™ benefits for U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents.|
|Ready to apply?||Apply for TSA Pre✓™ here||Apply for Global Entry here||Apply for NEXUS here||Apply for SENTRI here|
Bottom line, get a Nexus card. It is money well spent.