Without a doubt, you’ve heard how wonderful Global Entry is – TSA PreCheck, expedited immigration clearance in the United States (and a number of other countries), and expedited clearances lanes when driving across the border. However, with NEXUS you’ll get all those and more, for less cash!
This is a post by Avery. Avery is a special guest contributor from www.dcta.ca, (Don’t Call the Airline!) He specializes in Canadian travel hacking, and has flown all over the world in First Class and on questionably safe airlines to questionable destinations.
NEXUS is bilateral trusted traveller program between the United States and Canada. Both Americans and Canadians qualify for NEXUS, so long as you don’t have a criminal record or previous customs/immigration problems. The application process is almost identical to the Global Entry application process.
Here’s the kicker: if you are granted NEXUS, you’re also granted Global Entry. The Global Entry fee is $100, whereas the NEXUS fee is $50. That’s right: for half the price, you get access to both programs. NEXUS offers substantial benefits while traveling to Canada, whereas Global Entry offers benefits for the United States. Both programs offer a five-year eligibility period.
As you’d be enrolled in both NEXUS and Global Entry, you’re eligible for all the benefits of both programs, including TSA PreCheck, expedited kiosk clearance in Canada and the United States, expedited security clearance in Canada, and expedited clearance at the Mexican border.
Even if you don’t travel to Canada, NEXUS offers Global Entry for 50% off, with more benefits just in case you do end up going to Canada.
When does it make sense not to go with NEXUS and just apply for Global Entry?
There are a few situations where it doesn’t make sense to participate with NEXUS. First, there are fewer NEXUS enrollment centers than Global Entry enrollment centers. All the Airport NEXUS enrollment centers are located in Canada, whereas land border crossing enrollment centers are located along the border (many of which are located in the United States).
Second, you may be reimbursed for Global Entry through your credit card or your frequent flyer program. These programs will not reimburse your NEXUS application, even though it’s cheaper. If AMEX or your FF program are paying, then clearly the choice is Global Entry.
Lastly, if you have some sort of criminal record or immigration/customs issue only in Canada, but not in the USA, you may still be eligible for Global Entry, but not NEXUS. However, if you applied for NEXUS and are turned down (even though you’d otherwise be eligible for Global Entry), you won’t be admitted into either program as Global Entry will see the NEXUS denial.
Conclusion – The NEXUS program includes Global Entry membership, but it’s half the cost of just applying for Global Entry. If you can access a NEXUS enrollment center and are not relying on Global Entry reimbursement, there’s significantly more value in NEXUS membership than Global Entry. You can apply for NEXUS through the GOES system, and you can find more details about the program here.