While TSA pre-check may get you through US security faster, expediting departure, there are also benefits available on the other end of the trip through a variety of other programs that expedite international arrival processes.
Collectively known as Trusted Traveler Programs, most of these programs feature:
- Fast-track lanes and streamlined entry processes
- Facial recognition software and other technologies used to screen passengers
- Eligibility limited to a specific list of nationalities that vary by program
- A pre-approval process that includes a background check and biometrics
- An enrollment fee of up to US$200
- Availability at a limited set of airports
While these programs do not completely replace standard visas, they can still result in major time savings for frequent travelers. An overview of some of the most popular programs are below. If you have specific questions about your eligibility, contact your immigration advisors.
Global Entry with Reciprocal Benefits
Global Entry is the most popular program for US citizens and one of the best known trusted traveler programs in the world. Eligibility is limited to US citizens, permanent residents, and citizens of 11 other countries, including India. It does not replace a visa though and members must maintain updated visa information with CBP.
Through reciprocal agreements, US citizen Global Entry members may also use expedited processes to enter Australia (SmartGate), Canada (Nexus), New Zealand (dedicated lane), Panama (Global Pass), Republic of Korea (Smart Entry Service), and the UK (Registered Traveller).
APEC Business Travel Card
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Card (ABTC) facilitates travel to 21 countries on the Pacific Rim, including the US, Australia, and Canada. Eligibility is limited to citizens of APEC countries who travel frequently for business and have no criminal convictions. Applicants apply through their home country which assesses the application before forwarding it for review by other participating countries who each make individual determinations. It is possible to get approval by only a subset of countries, all of which will be listed on the issued card.
Unlike Global Entry, the ABTC also serves as a visa for some countries. For example, pre-approval from China serves as a multi-entry visitor visa.
Single Country Options
For those not eligible for Global Entry or an ABTC, but who travel frequently to a specific country, there are many country-specific programs that can help get you through the airport faster. They include:
- Australia (SmartGate): A fast lane open to citizens of 15 countries. Pre-registration is not required.
- Canada (Nexus): Available to citizens of the US and Mexico, as well as some permanent residents of those countries. An application process is required for those not already enrolled in Global Entry.
- Germany (EasyPass): A fast lane available to citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Hong Kong SAR, Republic of Korea, and the US. An application is required.
- Mexico (Viajero Confiable): A fast lane open to Mexicans and permanent residents of Mexico who are citizens of the US or Canada. An application is required.
- Panama (Global Pass): Open to US citizens and permanent residents. An application is required.
- Republic of Korea (Smart Entry Service): Open to Koreans and residents of the US, Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, Taiwan, and Germany. Prior registration is required.
- United Kingdom (Registered Traveller): Open to citizens of 33 countries who either have a current visa/entry clearance or who frequently visit the UK. An application is required.
Given the variety of programs out there, finding the best fit for a specific need can be challenging.