If you travel by air a several times a year, especially abroad from the U.S., you might want to consider signing up for one of the government’s expedited screening programs. After reading an article on Quartz, I took the plunge and was surprised by how easy it is. Now I regret not starting this process started earlier back when I was traveling more frequently for the BBG, but even now for personal trips and travel it will be a time and frustration saver for a fairly low fee.
For the price of less than some flight change fees, you can get Global Entry coverage for 5 years (for just $100) and if you are not in a rush to get things processed quickly, the Nexus program is an even better deal for $50 for 5 years with the same benefits. Here’s the description from Quartz:
Global Entry: It’s the most expensive program, at $100 for five years, but comes with the best benefits: You can skip the lines at passport control and customs when entering the United States and also enjoy TSA PreCheck, Nexus, and Sentri (explained below). The process of applying for Global Entry, which is administered by US Customs and Border Protection, also tends to be faster than the other programs.
Nexus: Choose this option if you want to save money and aren’t in a rush. It costs just $50 for five years and comes with all the same benefits as Global Entry and PreCheck. But the application process tends to take several months and can only be completed in a few cities near the US-Canada border. Nexus is designed to expedite crossing onto either side, with special lanes for cars and special kiosks at passport control in US and Canadian airports. (Note that Global Entry only gets you “Nexus” for crossing into the US; the full Nexus program also includes faster security screening in Canadian airports.)
While I tend to do the grandpa thing and show up hours before international flights and at least an hour before domestic flights, the Global Entry and Nexus passes can help you transfer customs and security faster, especially if you run late or miss a connection.