International Travel Issues for Americans

Do you travel by plane within the U.S. or abroad, or drive or walk across the border into Canada or Mexico? You can skip the long security and customs lines at the airport or border crossing by enrolling in a “Trusted Traveler” program from the Department of Homeland Security.

Five programs serve different travel routes and needs. They use streamlined procedures with reserved lanes and kiosks to get pre-approved travelers on their way quickly.

Each program has a different enrollment fee but all come with a five-year membership. To enroll, apply online, then attend an appointment at an enrollment center. Visit dhs.gov/trusted-traveler-programs for current prices and to learn more.

For travel within the U.S. and U.S. territories by air

Program: TSA PreCheck

What makes it faster: Dedicated fast lanes for airport security screening. No need to remove shoes, belt, light jacket, laptop, or liquids at airport security.

Eligibility: U.S. citizens and permanent residents

For travel into the U.S. from abroad

Program: Global Entry

What makes it faster: Use a kiosk to clear customs, immigration, and agricultural processing. No paperwork

Other benefits: Dedicated fast lanes for vehicles and walkers entering the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. Includes TSA PreCheck

Eligibility: U.S. citizens and permanent residents, citizens of certain other countries

For travel into the U.S. from Mexico by land

Program: SENTRI

What makes it faster: Dedicated fast lanes for vehicles and walkers

Other benefits: Faster entry into the U.S. for U.S. citizens and permanent residents following an international flight. Includes TSA PreCheck.

Eligibility: Citizens of any country who have the required documentation or visas to enter the U.S.

For travel between the U.S. and Canada

Program: NEXUS

What makes it faster: Use a kiosk to clear customs at U.S. and Canadian airports. Dedicated fast lanes for vehicles and walkers at northern border crossings

Other benefits: Faster processing for marine traffic entering the U.S. from Canada. Includes TSA PreCheck

Eligibility: U.S. and Canadian citizens and permanent residents

For travel into the U.S. from Canada or Mexico by commercial carrier

Program: FAST (North or South)

What makes it faster: Designated FAST lanes for commercial truck drivers transporting goods

Eligibility: U.S. and Canadian citizens and permanent residents; Mexican nationals

 

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