Trusted Traveler Programs for the USA

Have you ever heard of Global Entry, TSA-Pre, NEXUS, or Sentri? These are all names for programs that can simplify entry into the United States significantly. Learn about the Trusted Traveler Programs and how to become a member.

What are Trusted Traveler Programs?

Trusted Traveler Programs are risk-based US government selection processes that allow frequent travelers to qualify for eased security screening at airports or other entry points.

Ever-increasing security checks and extended border clearance times are the new reality for US travelers. Many tourists have missed their flights because the waiting times at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints were too long.

If you've been in one of these queues, you may have noticed travelers going through security without waiting. These were likely members of a Trusted Traveler Program. The most famous Trusted Traveler Program is Global Entry.


Membership in a Trusted Traveler Program does not entitle you to travel to the United States. You will also need the electronic entry permit ESTA or a US visa to be allowed across the border.

→ Apply for an ESTA now

What Trusted Traveler Programs are there?

Currently, as a regular US traveler, you can qualify for the following Trusted Traveler Programs and thereby massively reduce security checks at the border:

Trusted Traveler Programs of the USA Eligible travelers Trip type
TSA Pre US citizens and Green Card holders Departure from US airports
Global Entry US citizens, Green Card holders, select foreign travelers Entering the US from other countries
NEXUS US citizens, Green Card holders, Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, Mexican citizens Entering the United States from Canada
Sentri US citizens, Green Card holders, foreign travelers Entering the US from Canada and Mexico
FAST Truck drivers who are US citizens, Green Card holders, Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, or Mexican citizens Truck trips to the USA from Canada or Mexico

So if you come to the US from abroad for regular business trips and are neither a US citizen nor a Green Card holder, the Global Entry program is probably the right choice.

How can I become a member?

Per the "Best Match" recommendation on the Department of Homeland Security’s website, you will get a proposal for the best Trusted Traveler Program based on your nationality and travel habits.

After your online application, you must make an appointment for an interview in one of the so-called “enrollment centers.” Depending on the program, you will also give your fingerprints there.

DHS announced that waiting times might be longer. In the case of Global Entry, an application can take up to 6 months, with NEXUS and Sentri even up to 14 months. Only the FAST trucker program lives up to its name: here, you will have your application approved after about 2 weeks.

What does membership cost?

The various Trusted Traveler Programs call for membership fees ranging from $ 50 to $ 122. In the case of Global Entry, you pay $ 100 for a five-year membership.

The benefits of Trusted Traveler Programs

If you are a member of a Trusted Traveler Program for trips to the USA, you will benefit from greatly reduced security checks at entry into the United States.

This can look like:

  • No obligation to remove shoes, belts, or jackets
  • No obligation to screen laptops separately
  • No requirement for special packaging of liquids in the carry-on baggage
  • Automated passport control instead of waiting in queues after arrival
  • No long interviews with border officials
  • No extra security checks like the Secondary Security Screening Selection (SSSS)

Even when leaving the country, the security checks are shortened as a Trusted Traveler. Children up to 12 also benefit from faster processing. All in all, the Trusted Traveler Programs for the United States offer you a better travel experience and increase the efficiency of regular United States trips.

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