First off – you can get Global Entry and TSA Pre 100% off if you just open the AMEX Platinum Ameriprise card, as per hackcreditcards.com/must-get, which is something you should do anyway, so yeah, just go do that.
But if for whatever reason that’s not an option for you, never fear. You can get three programs in one for just half the price.
If you apply for NEXUS, which is the Canadian/US Trusted Traveler Program, you get Global Entry for free, as well as TSA PreCheck. And the best part? NEXUS is only $50, as opposed to TSA PreCheck’s $85, and Global Entry’s $100. Everything is on sale in Canada!
Why again do you want to do this? TSA PreCheck allows you to blaze through almost any airport in the United States – I’ve literally gone through security multiple times in less than 30 seconds, from entering the line to getting all my stuff. YMMV, but in almost every case, this dramatically cuts down your security line wait time.
If you travel at all in the States, it’s almost certainly worth the time-savings here. You also don’t have to take out your laptop or liquids or take off your shoes, which is a *huge* convenience to avoid repacking and whatnot.
Global Entry is arguably even better, if you travel at all internationally. Instead of waiting in an hour+ customs line, you just use a little kiosk machine, and boom, you’re done. Likely around 5 minutes and you’ll be out.
Huge convenience especially for travelers that sometimes get flagged for further review. It’s fairly easy to get approved for Global Entry if you don’t have any specific marks on your record, and once approved, you’ll almost certainly speed through every line without scrutiny even if you would be checked under other circumstances more carefully.
And on top of all of that, you get NEXUS too, which allows you to bypass the huge US/Canada border struggle as well. Just earlier this year, two of my good friends visiting my island with me got flagged and almost deported from the country after 3+ hours in customs and immigration. One *did* end up getting deported, and another was flagged with probationary entry, and required to report back strictly on the date specified, lest they put a warrant out for her arrest. And just this past week, a good Canadian friend of mine was barred entry back into the States on two attempts after a short trip abroad.
It’s weird, but Canadian customs and immigration officers are some of the harshest I’ve encountered in the world, despite Canadians in general being so nice, friendly, and laid-back. So yeah – if you travel to Canada at all, highly, highly recommended.
So what’s the catch? Well – you’ll need to complete enrollment in one of the locations NEXUS has a physical presence in. These are as follows:
Buffalo, New York
Champlain, New York
Derby Line, Vermont
Fort Frances, Canada
Niagara Falls, New York
Pembina, North Dakota
Port Huron, Michigan
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
So yes – if you have a trip coming up to Canada by chance, or say, Buffalo, New York, or Seattle, Washington, (or…Detroit, Michigan…) I’d highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity. Enjoy!
More information on Nexus and the link to apply: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/nexus