Global Entry proposes raising fees, making kids free

Sep 13, 2020

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It may take years for global air travel to recover to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. However, that isn’t stopping the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from at least considering raising membership fees for its trusted traveler programs Global Entry, SENTRI and Nexus.

The CBP filed a new regulation for comment that proposes harmonizing the cost of its trusted traveler programs. Global Entry and Nexus would go up in price, while SENTRI would go down slightly. The news was first reported by View from the Wing and comes just days after enrollment resumed following a six-month pause. Along with these changes would also come a bit of positive news, specifically for families.

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Trusted traveler programs overview

Global Entry is a must for frequent international travelers. Membership in the program allows low-risk travelers to breeze through immigration and customs upon re-entry to the U.S. Rather than fill out paperwork and wait in potentially long lines, members whisk through dedicated automatic kiosks.

Nexus is essentially the Canadian version of Global Entry. It gives pre-screened travelers expedited customs processing by U.S. and Canadian officials at specific northern border ports of entry, at Nexus kiosks, Canadian pre-clearance airports, and at marine reporting locations. Similarly, SENTRI provides expedited processing for those typically traveling over borders by land, coming from Mexico or Canada.

Nexus and SENTRI include Global Entry benefits. Additionally, all three programs come with TSA PreCheck expedited security for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Presently, Global Entry costs $100 for five years, Nexus costs $50 and SENTRI costs $122.25. Children under 18 are free with an adult Nexus membership.

Considering it includes essentially all the same benefits of Global Entry and is half the cost, Nexus might seem like a no brainer. However, there are far fewer enrollment centers where you can have a Nexus interview. They are primarily located in Canada and northern areas of the U.S.

Related: Here’s how my Global Entry interview went

Proposed changes

The CBP is proposing adjusting the price of all three programs to $120. The biggest hit comes to Nexus members who will have their fees more than doubled.

According to the filing, “current fees do not cover the entire costs to CBP for administering these programs.”

In turn, Global Entry applications will be free for children under 18 if they either file with their parents, or their parents are already members. Additionally, Global Entry would be updating its language to include expedited access at preclearance facilities at foreign facilities and certain U.S. territories.

You can submit comments on the new rule now through Nov. 9, 2020. The CBP will then need to respond before making a final decision on the changes so there’s note date yet for when they may go into effect.

Related: Global Entry, TSA PreCheck website now accepts New Yorkers

How to get Global Entry Fee Reimbursed

Many credit cards offer reimbursement for Global Entry or PreCheck application fees. Right now, reimbursement is typically capped at up to $100 every four or five years so there’s no telling yet if issuers will increase that amount if the price jumps.

Here are some of the top cards that offer this benefit:

Unfortunately, Nexus isn’t covered by any credit card fee reimbursements.

Bottom line

Price hikes are almost never good. However, in this case, it could be a positive development for families.

According to the CBP, 170,292 minors and 1,976,781 adults enrolled in Global Entry in 2019. The $20 price hike would be more than offset for families who enroll at least one child in the program. Still, it’s important to remember that Nexus already offers free memberships for children.

There’s no date yet for when the changes may take effect, but if you want to apply for a membership at the lower rate, it’s better to do so sooner rather than later. Just be sure to use a credit card that will reimburse your application fee.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, please click here.

Featured Image courtesy of James Tourtellotte via cbp.gov

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