Trusted Traveler Programs, Are they worth it?

For those of us who love to travel, or just appreciate the motivation we get when we have that added bit of convenience, Trusted Traveler Programs make perfect sense.

Whether you are a solo traveler in search of the next pivotal adventure or the group globetrotter set for the next excursion, the Department of Homeland Security in tandem with Customs and Border Patrol have several programs designed to not only minimize check points, but also ease the stress of warranted TSA protocols. There’s also an added incentive, no need to remove shoes, belts, laptop from bag or outerwear.

I’ve personally experienced the benefits of first three listed here below. Let’s discuss how these compare and how depending on your travel activity, which may be best for you.

TSA Pre - check

Departures from U.S. airports

  • Method of Transportation: Air

  • Were to apply: Participating U.S. airports and TSA website

  • Cost: $85

  • Requirements: Background checks, fingerprints, photo ID and proof of citizenship, in person appointment

  • Expiration: 5 years

NEXUS

Entry into US from Canada - Includes TSA Pre-check

  • Method of Transportation: Air, Land, and Sea

  • Were to apply: Participating U.S. airports and DHS website

  • Cost: $50

  • Requirements: Background checks, fingerprints, Interview at a Canadian border enrollment center or Canadian airport, proof of ID and proof of citizenship

  • Expiration: 5 years

Global Entry

Entry into US from International destinations - Includes TSA Pre-check

  • Method of Transportation: Air, Land, and Sea

  • Were to apply: Participating U.S. airports and Trusted Traveler Program website.

  • Cost: $100

  • Requirements: In person interview, Background checks, fingerprints, photo ID and proof of citizenship

  • Expiration: 5 years

Sentri

Entry in US from Canada and Mexico - Include TSA Pre-check

  • Method of Transportation: Air and Land

  • Were to apply: Participating U.S. airports and Trusted Traveler Program website

  • Cost:$122.50

  • Requirements: In person interview, Background checks, fingerprints, photo ID and proof of citizenship

  • Expiration: 5 years


Biometric Initiatives

TSA and CBP are working to combine programs to include biometric data. Facial and fingerprint recognition is currently being used in proprietary carrier programs. CLEAR is being used by Delta Airlines to improve the traveler experience. The standard fee without any promotional discount is $119 annually. Delta SkyMiles members will pay $109 annually and for Delta Medallion members, the CLEAR program is free of charge.

Visa programs for various countries also use biometric data for identification.



A few tips to consider when taking part in any Trusted Travel Programs.....

  • Be prepared for any and all potential background items to come up in your in-person interview

  • When traveling with a group, your access into these programs does not allow your co-travelers the same benefits

  • Once approved, adding your known trusted travel number streamlines your experience by adding your status to your boarding pass. This is visible to TSA agents, often meaning you don't have to show your card.

  • Fees are non-refundable. If your application is rejected, you may be able to re-apply. However, the original application fee is not waved for subsequent applications.

How many of you participate in these programs? Do you find they add to your travel experience? If you don't participate in any of these programs, which airports have you experienced that would make you seriously consider a TT program?

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