Trusted Traveler Programs: What are the Differences Between them?

A Trusted Traveler is a person who has been approved by the United States Homeland Security to enter the United States without having to pass through a full Immigration screening which often entails lengthy customs lines, tedious questioning, and possibly providing biometric information, as well as, being subject to a search.

A person having been designated a Trusted Traveler can side step most of this, quickly and efficiently passing through Customs, and on they’re way to their final destination. With efficiency and ease being of great value when navigating travel plans, the Trusted Traveler Program allows a traveler to save time throughout the whole Customs process while providing them with overall peace of mind.

Available Programs

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has four primary trusted travelers programs designed to provide passengers with an improved travel experience while maximizing efficiency for all involved. The following trusted travelers programs are customized based on passenger travel needs and are equipped with many benefits for the average frequent flyer:

  1. Transportation Safety Authority Pre-Check (TSA Pre Check)

    The Transportation and Safety Authority Pre-Check is designed to help travelers speed up the transiting of passengers through security screening at airports.  We are all familiar with having to stand in a security line, have our bags inspected, including removing computers and other items, and then passing through those screening and metal detector devices.

    Become a Trusted Traveler through the Transportation and Safety Authority Pre-check and skip all of that.  With Pre-check authority, a traveler passes through a single checkpoint and can be quickly on their path to the boarding gate.

    To apply, there is an $85 fee, which is good for five years, and an online application process for United States Citizens and lawful permanent residents.


    The TSA Pre-Check Program is most suitable for frequent flyers that travel domestically and wish to have fast passage through airport security.

    For more information on the TSA Pre-Check Program, Click Here.
  2. Global Entry Program

    The Global Entry Program is designed for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens and lawful permanent residents of Canada.  Managed by the U.S. Customs and Border Control Service, approval for the Program allows expedited processing through Customs and Border control at airports and land borders upon arrival in the U.S.

    With lineups growing at Custom’s entry points, the Global Entry Program allows trusted travelers to pass through Border Control by only checking into specially designed kiosks at participating airports, and pass through special lines at land borders. There is a $100 fee, which covers you for five years, and approval may be granted only after passing through an interview process.


    The Global Entry Program will suit international travelers and frequent flyers. Use of the Program will reduce the time to clear Customs upon entry at participating airports and land border crossings.  The TSA Pre-Check is also included.  Sign Up for the Global Entry Program and get approval for both programs that will make your travel much less stressful.

    For more helpful tips on The Global Entry Program, refer to our article, 5 Things to Keep in Mind when Applying for Global Entry.
  3. NEXUS Program

    The NEXUS Program allows for expedited processing at airports and land borders when entering the United States and Canada.  As a reciprocal Program between Canada and the United States, there are double the benefits for the millions of United States and Canadian citizens and permanent residents who travel between the two countries each year.

    The cost is $50 for five years, and the Program includes, Global Entry Program benefits, as well as, the TSA Pre-Check Program. Approval may be granted only after passing through an interview process.


    The NEXUS Program is best for Canadian citizens who reside near the border and travel back and forth on a regular basis. The cost is less than the other Programs, and it includes automatic approval in the Global Entry Program, as well as the Transportation Safety Authority Pre-Check Program.

    For more information on the NEXUS Program, Click Here.
  4. Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection Program (SENTRI)

    The SENTRI Program is open to anyone with proof of citizenship and approval to enter the United States.  It allows for quick processing of entry through Customs Border Protection at land borders.  It does not permit entry through airports.

    For U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, approval for the SENTRI Program, also includes Global Entry and Transportation and Safety Authority Pre-Check Program benefits.

    The cost is $122.25 for five years of participation and approval may be granted only after passing through an interview process.


    The SENTRI Program is best for frequent travelers between Mexico and the United states by road. The Program allows citizens of other countries who often enter the United States through land borders to obtain the benefits of rapid processing through Customs and Security.

    Go to the SENTRI Program Website for more information, and to apply, Click Here.Time is of the essence when getting ready to pass through airport security and airport and land Customs and Border Control as many travelers are concerned about keeping friends and family waiting, missing connections, or just wanting to get on our way.

    For most citizens and permanent residents of the United States, Canada, and other select countries, the United States Customs and Border Control offers these options, all with the objective of speeding up security and Customs processing. Registering to become a Trusted Traveler can lessen the anxiety and stress of airport security clearance and have you on your way in a worry free and timely manner.