Nobody enjoys a long queue at an airport and whether you are a frequent flyer or traveling internationally, you’ll need to factor in additional travel time needed to get through security and customs.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a few Trusted Traveler Programs to help people who qualify breeze past airport queues. These approved programs include Global Entry, the Mobile Passport App, and NEXUS. Follow along below to find out which program(s) may fit your travel needs best. Note: these Trusted Traveler Programs are not available at all airport locations, so you’ll want to check to see if it is available where you fly.
Recommended for travelers arriving who take multiple international trips annually
Global Entry allows pre-screened members expedited entry via kiosk at numerous US airports, sea ports, and select countries outside the US. Travelers must apply and be pre-approved for Global Entry before taking advantage of the program benefits. The application process requires travelers to pass a background check, and sit through an interview.
To apply, visit https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov/ you must pay a $100 non-refundable application fee. Although the fee is required, there are some credit cards that will reimburse you for the fee once annually. Once you are approved, you will be requested to appear for an in person interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Traveler groups (husbands, wives, and children) must each apply and interview individually. Once your trusted Traveler status is approved, your membership is active for 5 years.
There is no minimum age to apply but applicants under the age of 18 are required to have parental consent.
Mobile Passport App
Recommended for international travelers without pre-approval
With the Mobile Passport App, travelers can create a passport profile and complete customs declaration forms via the app. No more need to search for a pen and scramble to find receipts before you land. When you arrive in your port of entry, just connect to the airport’s wifi and submit your information to CBP. From there, follow the line marked for the Mobile Passport App and you will be on your way after a quick scan of your passport and customs receipt. Download the app from your Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
Recommended for frequent flyers between US and Canada
NEXUS is much like Global Entry but for expedited entry between the US and Canada. The application process is very similar to that of the Global Entry with a few notable differences. The application fee is only $50 compared to the $100 application fee for Global Entry. Additionally, applicants must be pre-approved for the trusted traveler program by BOTH the US and Canada. Once you are approved, membership is active for 5 years. The NEXUS program only allows expedited entry into the US or Canada.
Depending on your travel needs, you have options to expedite your travel through international borders. If you take multiple trips per year, you may want to consider applying for a trusted traveler program. However, if you prefer not to spend any cash up front, the Mobile Passport App is an easy and free way to breeze past the long queues – like the educated traveler you are!
Do you know of any other tips for breezing past the long lines in airports? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.