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Global Entry vs Nexus

Global Entry vs NEXUS: Which Should You Choose?

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Sick of waiting in long lines at the airport? Well, there are now numerous ways that you can skip the lines and get through security quickly. Within this post, we will break down two of those options; Global Entry vs Nexus. We will lay out the pros and cons for both to help you decide which is right for you.


What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a United States Border protection program that allows travelers, who are low-risk and pre-approved, expedited entry when returning into the United States. After scanning your passport, fingerprints and answering a few questions, you will be on your way. Along with the approval of Global Entry, you will also receive TSA PreCheck.

TSA pre-check, just like Global Entry, allows for low-risk and pre-approved travelers to have seamless expedited security checks when arriving at the airport.

Your first time through the PreCheck lane, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to join the program. The security lines are often drastically shorter, but that’s only half of the benefit. You get to leave your shoes, a belt and a light jacket on while going through. Your laptop and the carry-on approved liquids in your bag can also stay put as you put them through the baggage screeners. If you’re eager to get through security faster, you have a few options.

Approval of Global Entry and TSA pre-check lasts for five years. We recommend all frequent travelers acquire Global Entry, as getting back into the United States through customs can take hours.

Thrifty Tip: There are many credit cards that offer a free credit for Global Entry. See the list of our top 4 cards here.


What is NEXUS?

NEXUS is a joint Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection operated Trusted Traveler and expedited border control program designed for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. It is essentially the Canadian version of Global Entry.

Members of the program can avoid long waits at border entry points by using reserved lanes at land crossings into Canada and the United States (including from Mexico), by using self-serve kiosks at airports in Canada, the US and some international locations.

The application process is quite the same, you must apply for it through a government portal, wait for acceptance, and then also be interviewed to complete the process.

While Global Entry costs $100, the application fee for NEXUS is only $50 per adult and children are free until they turn 18, making it a good option for families who travel internationally.


Global Entry vs NEXUS: Which is Right for You?

Global Entry and Nexus both have great benefits to expedite the time you spend at customs. Additionally, both programs include TSA Precheck. Below is a breakdown of the pros and cons of both to help you make the right decision.


Pros of Global Entry

  • Global Entry kiosks are in more than 50 airports.
  • Seamless application process and many more locations in which to complete the in-person interview. Much quicker and smoother than that of Nexus, especially if you live in the southern United States as NEXUS facilities are not available.
  • No lines, no waiting when arriving back in the US after an international trip.
  • Many travel rewards credit cards will reimburse you for the application fee once every 5 years.


Cons of Global Entry

  • More expensive than Nexus as it is $100 for 5 years, and that $100 is non-refundable, even if your application is denied.
  • If you are traveling with kids under the age of 18, they will all need their own membership into the program to come through expedited screening with you. The $100 application fee is not waived for children.


Pros of NEXUS

  • Less expensive option than Global Entry. $50 for 5 years.
  • Great for families as minors under the age of 18 have their application fee waived.
  • Expedited processing through the US and Canadian border by both air and vehicle.
  • Can use Global Entry kiosks when entering the United States.


Cons of NEXUS

  • NEXUS interviews need to be conducted at a place where both CBP and CBSA officers are present, which mostly limits you to offices at US-Canada land border crossings or at the Canadian airports which have US preclearance facilities.
  • Only a few US enrollment centers allow you to do NEXUS interviews. They are all located in the northern part of the US & Canada.
  • Many travel rewards credit cards do not offer a reimbursement credit for NEXUS. However, a handful of cards issued from Chase will cover your fee. Those are as follows:
    • United Quest Card
    • United Explorer Card
    • United Club Infinite Card
    • Aeroplan Credit Card
    • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • IHG Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
    • IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card
    • Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card


Our Analysis

When considering Global Entry vs NEXUS there are a few factors you need to consider. If you frequently travel between the US and Canada via land and/or air, NEXUS will likely be the better choice. It is cheaper and allows for expedited entry when crossing the border by car, something Global Entry doesn't yet offer. Additionally, at a cost of only $50 and the fact that it is free for minors, you can save a bit of money by opting for NEXUS. Especially if you live near the Canadian border and often cross it with your vehicle.

On the other hand, if you often travel internationally outside of Canada, the NEXUS program will lose much of its value. If you live in the southern part of the United States, finding an enrollment center to complete your in-person interview would be tough as they are only located in the northern US. Once you have it, you can use it at any Global Entry kiosk when entering the US, but getting it will be more difficult.

The biggest factor for us is that none of our favorite travel rewards credit cards offering free Global Entry and TSA PreCheck offer a credit for NEXUS. So while Global Entry costs $100 (twice as much as NEXUS), the credits from these cards make the program free. For this reason alone, Global Entry is likely a better option for US-based travelers who travel outside of the US and Canada.


Bottom Line

If you often travel by vehicle back and forth to Canada, or fly into Canada, then Nexus is the right choice for you. If frequent air travel is your thing, and you often find yourself around the world, then the flexibility of Global Entry right for you. Use our guide to Global Entry vs NEXUS before making the decision for yourself.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

27 Responses

  • So it seems Nexus gives you the same perks as global entry plus access to and fro Canada. However, can you use your nexus card at any US airport of entry from other countries in GE kiosks and lanes? I currently have GE and was going to add Nexus and now have learned you can only have one or the other.

  • NEXUS includes Global Entry. My whole family has had NEXUS for ten years and since it includes Global Entry and we live in Seattle there was no question or was the right program for us.

  • If there are 4 people in the car, only one person has the NEXUS or the Global Entry, can we go through the fast lane when we go to Canada and come back from Canada?

  • @ Jenny: No. Everyone in the car must have a NEXUS card to use the NEXUS lanes to and from Canada since use of those lanes is dependent on everyone having been prescreened.

  • Does Nexus give you full Global Entry privileges as well as access to TSA Pre (I realize you have to apply and supply the info at one of the application centers although that’s easy for me since I do travel back and forth from US to Canada quite frequently). To be specific, does Nexus include Global Entry at all US airports, not just when entering from Canada? For example, if you have a Nexus card and fly from say the U.K. or Europe to JFK, can you use the Global Entry kiosk on arrival in the US? My annual travel includes a number of flights and sometimes car trips back and forth to Canada from the US, as well as a number of flights to other international destinations and back to the US….need to figure out which one is best for me and family.

    • Marc, Nexus certainly gives you all GE privileges no matter where. I have had Nexus for about 3 yrs and have used it multiple times returning from overseas while entering US from Texas and Florida without issue. TSA pre check also works without issue.

  • I am a Canadian citizen and have Nexus. I travel occasionally to the US, but not that often. I am wondering if there is much of a benefit for me to get signed up for Global Entry in addition to Nexus?

    • GE will only be applicable on your return trip. It will not provide any sort of expedited entry into Europe.

  • So why is Nexus $50 cheaper than Global Entry if includes everything Global Entry does, plus Canada land crossings? Getting to the Niagara Falls enrollment center is easy for me.

    And if I’ve had Global Entry for 4 years and then sign up for Nexus, does it just extend my same Global Entry number for 5 more years?

  • I currently have GE that expires in November 2023. Rather than renewing my GE I am considering NEXUS. If I apply for NEXUS do I need to submit fingerprints, have a personal interview, etc. ?

    • Yes. With both Canadian and American authorities. I also had a retinal scan done at the airport in Halifax after being approved. Similar to Clear. It was a breeze. Great program.

  • I have a Nexus card and will be traveling to London and Athens later this year. In returning to the US using my NEXUS card, would I enter the Global Entry line? Also, is the NEXUS card accepted at all the airports where the GE card is accepted?

  • The statement in the “Cons of NEXUS” section that states “Travel Rewards credit cards do not offer a reimbursement credit for NEXUS.” is INCORRECT. Several Chase cards do offer reimbursement credit for NEXUS. However, this only applies to Chase cards. Amex and other cards do NOT offer reimbursement credit for NEXUS.

    • Thanks for your comment, John. This is an older post and the Chase cards were not available at the time of publication. I have updated it to reflect this change.

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