Trusted Travelers Can Move Fast Through Airports

Female traveller texting at airport check-in desk
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The Transportation Security Agency (TSA), TSA agents, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) all work to protect trusted travelers as well as expedite the security process for them. Below are eight programs that serve to protect and expedite your international travel.

Global Entry

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports. The cost is $100 for five years.

NEXUS

The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing by the United States and Canadian officials in dedicated processing lanes at certain northern border ports of entry, at NEXUS kiosks at Canadian pre-clearance airports, and at marine reporting locations.

Approved applicants are issued a proximity Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card, which is a photo ID. Participants use the three modes of passage where they will either present their NEXUS card or have their iris scanned and make a declaration. The cost is a $50 processing fee.

SENTRI

SENTRI provides expedited CBP processing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers.

Applicants must voluntarily undergo a thorough biographical background check against criminal, law enforcement, customs, immigration, and terrorist indices; a 10-fingerprint law enforcement check; and a personal interview with a CBP officer. The cost is $122.25.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.

STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Free and Secure Trade (FAST)

Free and Secure Trade (FAST) is the trusted traveler program for commercial truck drivers at the Canadian and Mexican land borders. FAST allows expedited release to approved commercial truck drivers making fully qualified FAST trips between the U.S and Canada or to the U.S. from Mexico. Every truck using FAST lane processing must:

• Be a U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) approved carrier.

• Carry qualifying goods destined for a C-TPAT approved importer.

• Be driven by an individual in possession of a valid FAST-Commercial Driver Card.

• Have a high-security seal. On the southern border, manufacturers also must be C-TPAT approved in order for shipments to qualify for FAST release.

Fast Low Risk Universal Crossing (FLUX)

The Fast Low Risk Universal Crossing (FLUX) expedites and secures international travel with an automated border passage program. For this pilot period, only U.S. citizens with a valid U.S. machine-readable passport can participate in FLUX through the U.S. Global Entry and Dutch Privium programs.

U.S. citizens must first become a Global Entry member and then be approved for the Dutch Privium program.

Travelers are pre-approved based on application, background check, fingerprinting and interviews. The cost varies.

CLEAR

CLEAR, a privately-owned company, speeds you through airport security. What differentiates CLEAR from other trusted traveler programs is that it offers exclusive access through airport security checkpoints, allowing travelers to bypass long TSA security lines by checking in at CLEAR lanes and going directly to screening. The cost is $179 for one year with unlimited use. A family plan is an additional $50.

TSA Pre-Check

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched an expedited screening pilot program called TSA Pre√. CBP partnered with TSA on this Department of Homeland Security initiative, which is designed to help TSA focus resources on higher-risk and unknown passengers while expediting the process for lower-risk and known passengers whenever possible.

At no point is this program an entitlement. Passengers are always subject to random, unpredictable screening measures.

U.S. citizens who are members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI Trusted Traveler programs are eligible to participate in TSA's program.