According to the U.S. Travel Association, U.S. residents logged 1.8 billion person-trips for leisure purposes in 2017 alone. Whether it's for visiting relatives, friends, shopping, fine dining, or rural sightseeing, people are traveling now more than ever.
A lamentable consequence of higher numbers of travelers, though, is long lines and longer waits at the airport. Fortunately, Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) such as TSA PreCheck and NEXUS allow travelers an abundance of benefits that help reduce time spent waiting in queues.
For those who are curious about TSA PreCheck and NEXUS, we've detailed the differences between each, what their benefits are, how to become a member, and how to renew memberships. We hope this article helps you beccome a more efficient traveler by using these highly advantageous TTP programs!
TSA PreCheck is a nifty service that allows eligible, low-risk travelers the ability to take advantage of expedited security screening at designated airports throughout the U.S. and for most international itineraries. TSA PreCheck is currently available at more than 200 airports with 56 participating airlines worldwide. To find out more about qualifying airports and airlines, head to the TSA PreCheck Airports and Airlines page. You can also check out the TSA PreCheck Checkpoint Schedule to see when PreCheck lanes are available at your airport.
The hassle of airport travel is reduced with TSA PreCheck; subscribers are able to breeze through security, arguably the most dreaded part of traveling. Travelers can apply for the program if they are U.S. citizens or a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and haven't been convicted of certain crimes. TSA PreCheck is also available for travelers who are enrolled in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Programs, such as Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS.
In order to apply for TSA PreCheck, you must fill out a five-minute online application and schedule an appointment at any of the +380 enrollment centers. Next, you must attend a 10-minute, in-person background check that includes fingerprinting. After completing both of these steps, you will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that must be added to reservations before enjoying TSA PreCheck.
Similar to TSA PreCheck, the NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing at airports, but only when entering the U.S. or Canada. Members can use designated processing lanes at dedicated northern border ports of entry, NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada by air, and Global Entry kiosks when entering the U.S. via Canadian Preclearance airports. NEXUS memberships can also be used at marine reporting locations.
A NEXUS membership is a granted document through the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), thus it can be used in place of a passport if flying between the U.S. and Canada. Eligible candidates must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Canada. The NEXUS program is also available for Mexican citizens who hold a Viajero Confiable membership.
According to U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP), travelers must apply by creating a Trusted Traveler Program account, filling out the application and paying the one-time, non-refundable $50 fee. If approved by CBP, your account will instruct you to schedule an interview at a NEXUS Enrollment Center.
Canadian residents also have the option of mailing in their application to designated Canadian Processing Centers by filling out the application form and including photocopies of supporting documentation and the $50 (CAD) non-refundable fee.
With an $85 five-year membership, TSA PreCheck passengers are allowed to speed through airport security at ease without removing shoes, liquids and gels from carry-ons, laptops, lightweight outwear, jackets and belts.
TSA PreCheck currently has more than seven million members and in Sept. 2018, TSA reported that 94% of PreCheck members waited less than five minutes at airport security.
NEXUS members enjoy reduced wait times at designated ports of entry by using dedicated processing lanes at land border crossings, NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada, Global Entry kiosks when entering the United States, and calling a marine telephone reporting center to report your arrival into the United States and Canada.
TSA PreCheck costs only $85 and lasts for five years. NEXUS is also valid for five years.
After five years, TSA PreCheck and NEXUS travelers will have to renew their memberships. For more information on the processes for renewing both TSA PreCheck and NEXUS memberships, continue reading below.
TSA PreCheck members must renew their membership up to six months prior to their Known Traveler Number (KTN) expiration date, either online or in person at a designated enrollment center.
To find out when your KTN expires, fill out this Service Status form online. Note that some individuals are not eligible to renew their TSA PreCheck membership online due to certain exceptions. After filling out the Service Status form, you will be notified whether or not you are eligible to renew your membership online.
The cost for renewal is the same for enrollment, which is $85 for another five years, or $17 per year.
NEXUS memberships may be renewed anytime before the expiration date indicated on your NEXUS card. If your card does not have an expiration date, you should get in contact with the following Canadian Processing Centers found at the bottom of this page.
NEXUS now has a streamlined renewal process in place, and most members will not have to attend an in-person interview for renewal if their information has not changed and if they have maintained a low-risk traveler status.
NEXUS members are encouraged to renew their membership online through the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) System and choosing the "I'm already a program member" option. Mexican nationals are obligated to reapply online when renewing; U.S. and/or Canadian citizens or permanent residents may reapply online or by submitting a paper application form.
Similar to TSA PreCheck, the NEXUS renewal cost is the same as the first-time application fee, which is a $50 USD or $50 CAD non-refundable fee; membership renewal for children under the age of 18 is free of charge.
NEXUS members should note that online applications are processed in USD only. If you wish to pay in Canadian currency, you must submit a paper application.
Both TSA PreCheck and NEXUS are up-and-coming ways to avoid hassle and stress at the airport, and we hope this article helps you learn more about each program, how you can become a member, and how to renew your membership with ease. As always, happy trails!