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FAQ

How do the Nexus and TSAPre / Global Entry programs and access relate and interact?
TL/DR: for bullet points, scroll to the bottom.The relationship between NEXUS, SENTRI, Global Entry, and TSA PreCheck can be confusing. The relationship works like this:The main benefit of NEXUS membership is expedited customs and immigration clearance when crossing the border between the United States and Canada. When crossing by land, NEXUS members may use dedicated processing lanes (though it's important to note that it is against NEXUS rules to use NEXUS vehicular land lanes when traveling with someone who is not a NEXUS member). NEXUS can be used when crossing the border by sea in a similar manner. When traveling by air into Canada from any origin country, and when entering the United States via a US air pre-clearance facility in Canada, NEXUS members may process through dedicated NEXUS lanes, and use NEXUS kiosks. NEXUS kiosks take the place of the customs declaration form except in extraordinary cases, although Canadian residents may be required to fill out a traveller declaration card if required to pay import duty. Additionally, NEXUS members clearing security at certain Canadian airports receive expedited screening through dedicated lanes. NEXUS members can expect decreased scrutiny when processing through NEXUS border and security lanes by virtue of their background check.SENTRI is in much the same ilk as NEXUS, but rather than dealing with the US-Canada border, it concerns land crossing into the United States from Mexico. SENTRI members may use of dedicated vehicular and pedestrian processing lanes when entering the United States, and the SENTRI Dedicated Commuter Lanes, which are designated for the exclusive use of SENTRI members. When crossing into the United States from Canada at a land border only, SENTRI members may use NEXUS lanes to enter. SENTRI members can expect decreased scrutiny when processing through SENTRI (and NEXUS, when eligible) border lanes by virtue of their background check.Unlike NEXUS and SENTRI, Global Entry is not border-specific. Rather, Global Entry can be used by Global Entry members at most international airports in the United States to pass through immigration and customs. Like NEXUS, Global Entry uses a kiosk system, but a fingerprint-based identity verification. Global Entry can also be used when entering the United States at the Canadian and Mexican borders by land to receive expedited customs in the NEXUS and SENTRI lanes, but not the SENTRI Dedicated Commuter Lanes. Global Entry members do not need to complete customs arrival documents. In locations where Global Entry is temporarily unavailable, Global Entry members get front-of-line privileges. Global Entry members can expect decreased scrutiny when processing through Global Entry lanes by virtue of their background check.TSA PreCheck is a Trusted Traveller Program, but it is not run by Customs and Border Protection, rather, it is administered by the TSA. It grants its members expedited screening at US security checkpoints which may include metal detector screening with shoes and light jacket on, as well as in-bag screening for laptops and liquids. It grants no border-related privileges.Still with me? Okay, this is where it gets complicated.NEXUS and SENTRI members can be entitled to Global Entry membership (most are), but some are not, by virtue of the programs' differing requirements. People who have NEXUS and/or SENTRI and are eligible for Global Entry are automatically enrolled, and receive Global Entry benefits seamlessly with their NEXUS and/or SENTRI memberships. That means that as a NEXUS member, I can walk up to a Global Entry kiosk, stick in my Passport, and process through just as a Global Entry member would. This also means that at US pre-clearance facilities, I can choose as a US resident whether to process through the Global Entry or NEXUS kiosks, as I am eligible for both.However, Global Entry does not grant NEXUS or SENTRI membership, and Global Entry members trying to use NEXUS kiosks in the airport, or enter Canada via NEXUS lanes would be turned away. Similarly, while Global Entry and by extension NEXUS members can use dedicated expedited customs lanes at the Mexican border, they would be turned away from the SENTRI Dedicated Commuter Lane, which is reserved for SENTRI members only.Members of Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI are eligible for PreCheck screening, but they are not enrolled in the PreCheck program. They receive PreCheck screening as a benefit of their individual memberships, not just Global Entry, so a NEXUS member who is not eligible for Global Entry is still eligible for PreCheck screening. The PreCheck program provides PreCheck screening to its enrollees with  the same frequency (virtually all the time), and a PreCheck member will have the same experience as a member of the three other trusted traveler programs. The lack of actual cross-enrollment in the PreCheck program by these programs is a semantic difference to travelers.So, to summarize:NEXUS does not get you SENTRI, and SENTRI does not get you NEXUSSENTRI or NEXUS probably gets you Global EntryGlobal Entry includes some benefits which overlap with SENTRI and NEXUS when entering the United States, but does not grant membership in either program.SENTRI, NEXUS, and Global Entry get you PreCheck screening, but not the PreCheck programThe PreCheck program just gets you PreCheck screening
Are there any downsides to Global Entry for an Indian passenger?
Eligibility for the Global Entry program is limited to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, plus citizens of a small number of additional countries: Colombia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and Mexico. Apparently President Trump has announced that India will be added to this select list. That's wonderful news.I cannot say for certain whether applicants from countries other than the United States will face problems in obtaining Global Entry status in addition to those facing U.S. citizens. My wife and I both joined the program - she as a naturalized U.S. citizen, I as a native-born citizen - and both found the process quite straightforward. Basically, you fill out an online application that connects you to your passport, and allows the authorities to verify that you're not a terrorist. You pay a fee of $100 when you apply, which covers five years in the program if approved. Then you wait until your background has been reviewed - for us a few days - and receive an appointment for an interview. The interview took each of us about 5-10 minutes, and is simply aimed at verifying that you are the person who submitted the application, and to take your fingerprints. (The machine at the airport that allows you entry relies on a fingerprint scan.) All very much worth it for the great pleasure of skipping a long,long line at Dulles immigration at 6am after an overnight flight!How closely the experience of applicants from India will resemble that of U.S. citizens is impossible for me to say. I would assume that the background check might take longer, given the greater difficulty of conducting the necessary background checks overseas. It does not obviate the need for a visa to enter the United States, and indeed the Customs and Border Patrol website has a list of visa categories that are incompatible with Global Entry membership. Getting to the interview site might be more troublesome. And finally, the review process could be less certain, putting your application fee at risk.But assuming that your application is successful and you are accepted into the program, the only downside is the need to inform CBP about any changes in your visa status. See U.S. Customs and Border Protection for more details.In short, the process of obtaining Global Entry membership may be more burdensome for non-U.S. citizens than for those who are citizens. But once you have obtained membership, I don't see any significant downsides - only benefits.
What should I know about signing up for TSA PreCheck?
I signed up in 2012.As I recall it took about a month to complete the process. You fill out your application online, and then you go to an in person interview. You may have to travel for the interview if they don’t have an enrollment center in your area, but they have more locations now than they did when I signed up. You have to bring your passport, one other form of valid ID, and the approval email they sent you.The interview was the only appointment I’ve ever had with any government agency, at any level, that started and ended exactly on time. Took 15 minutes. You mileage may vary.You have to qualify for Global Entry to get TSA Pre, so you can get both at once along with a Global Entry ID card. Global Entry costs $100, Pre costs $85. You can choose to only get Pre and save $100, but I wouldn’t travel internationally without Global Entry. You basically walk right through passport control (stopping at a kiosk that takes maybe a minute) straight to the customs line they told me was for diplomats and special needs travelers. And no customs questionnaires to fill out.Time returning to Miami International from overseas was reduced from about an hour and a half to about 15 minutes. I think returning to Kennedy was about the same. Returning to the US with a friend who had Global Entry before I got it, he was home watching the game before I cleared customs.Pre is great, but the lack of participation has made it inconsistent in the past. Hopefully the push to get more people to use it will result in more resources for it. In Miami they didn’t always have a Pre line at the security checkpoint I needed to use. Denver and Cleveland sometimes didn’t have a Pre line at all. Asheville never has a Pre line (very small airport) but you automatically get the less strict screening they hand out randomly. Las Vegas had a Pre line every time I flew from there, as did San Francisco. The inconsistency means you can’t be sure that you can arrive at the airport later than before, so you often spend more time at your gate.You have to be sure to include the known traveller number you get with GE or Pre in your profile on the travel site you use. Otherwise your boarding pass won’t have the Pre logo, and you have to use regular security. I have also never been able to use Pre when I had a paper boarding pass, but since that was always coincident with problems caused by the American Airlines - US Air merger I can’t say whether or not it’s always true.If you do get to use the Pre line you go through the trace detection portal instead of the body scanner, so you can leave your belt, shoes, and light coat on. Your laptop and liquids can stay in your bag. The lines are always short, and the travelers all seem experienced so there are fewer delays caused by people who don’t know what to do or are traveling with things they shouldn’t be. I’m not entirely sure, but I think you are exempt from random enhanced screening.How much convenience Pre provides depends on where you are flying from. In Miami it usually meant a line of 20 people instead of a line of 100 - 300 people. But not having to make that stop to put yourself back together after going through security makes the whole process of air travel a lot more relaxing, so it’s worth it even if the regular lines are short.For what it’s worth I’ve also used my Global Entry card as ID when entering or applying for visitor passes to US military bases. The guards are generally inscrutable so I can’t say it made a difference, but declaring that I’m not on any watch lists or affiliated with any organizations I shouldn’t be seemed like a good idea.
What should I know before going to Dubai?
Dubai is a very tolerant place to live but there are certain rules to follow to make your time here easier and avoid any unnecessary brushes with the law.One must remember that Dubai is an Islamic city, a more modest code of behaviour is required. So here are top tips on how to follow Dubai etiquette:Dress CodeAlthough you will see plenty of exceptions, mainly from tourists, there is a dress code for Dubai and this has been implemented as a show of respect and to avoid any offence being given. To sum it up you should cover your shoulders, cleand legs above the knees and avoid really tight or sheer clothing. Bikinis should only be worn on beaches and around pool areas and should not be of the G string bottom variety. Topless bathing is of course illegal! The dress code matters less so in a bar but you should think about covering up with a handy jacket for the journey.PDAsPublic displays of affection with the opposite sex in Dubai can get you in to trouble- so no kissing, canoodling, fondling in public whatsoever- whether it’s with your own husband/wife or not- it can still cause offence. A peck on the cheek or holding hands is fine!Hand GesturesHand gestures in Dubai can cause you to be fined, put in prison or deported- depending on who you get that finger up against! So no matter how crazy the driving do not be tempted to use a rude hand gesture.SwearingSwearing at someone in Dubai is also illegal- whatever happens keep your cool and don’t use that potty mouth- it could get you in serious trouble!Take care when swearing over social media, the Internet or via popular instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, too- if a person is found swearing online to another person and they take offence and complain, they could be fined and jailed, while expats could also face deportation under a federal law governing Internet users.Being DrunkIt is actually illegal to be drunk in public in Dubai and this can also lead to fining, imprisonment or deportation. 99.9% of the time all will be fine but you really need to keep your wits about you. Always, always hop into a taxi straight outside whatever venue you are at- don’t be tempted to go for a wander! And whatever you do- never, ever drink and drive- not even one. There is a zero tolerance policy here and it is not worth the risk to yours or others‡ lives- again get a taxi, abandon vehicle- use the Safe Driver service! Make sure you have an alcohol licence too!PhotographyNormal tourist photography is acceptable but it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to ask permission before photographing men. In general, photographs of government buildings, mosques or military installations should not be taken.DrugsDrugs/ narcotics are of course totally illegal in Dubai but there are also prescription drugs, like Valium for example, that also contain prohibited ingredients that are illegal in the UAE and should not be transported here.I hope i have been able to answer you query!#CoachNeeil
How does TSA PreCheck work?
I have Global Entry, which comes with TSA Pre-Check. So, I have no idea how the screening for Pre-Check works. I will say, if you travel internationally at all, even once every few years, it’s probably worth it to do Global Entry since you get the benefit of both programs for only $15 more, every 5 years (so $3/year). Note that you do need to have a passport to do Global Entry.For Global Entry, you fill out the application online with personal information (name, address, passport number, etc.) and travel history. Unless something comes up - and I have heard Pre-Check is more lenient with minor criminal history than Global Entry, so if you have something like a minor non-traffic misdemeanor or a charge that was expunged after restitution (but not really because the feds always know about it), then you might want to consider that - you’ll get a preliminary approval notice in a couple of days to a couple of weeks (I think mine took about a week).After that, you schedule an interview at a Global Entry center. Many of these are located at major airports, but there are others at off-airport locations. I did mine in the building that houses CBP headquarters, which just happens to be nearby my office. The interviews are only scheduled for 15 minutes, so it’s not like they’re grilling you. They basically confirm the information on your application, may ask some questions about travel to “suspicious” countries if you have any (so long as you have a reason, it’s largely fine…work is a good one that they will accept with few further questions), and then take your fingerprints and picture. You’ll get your Known Traveler Number pretty quickly (they might have given me a letter with it right then?), and a Global Entry ID in the mail in several days to a few weeks.Once you have your Known Traveler Number, you enter it when making airline reservations. If you have a profile on your preferred airlines‡ websites, you can usually save it on those profiles.While it’s not 100% guaranteed that you will get Pre-Check on all your flights after that point (you can always be selected for additional screening or forced to go through the regular lines), your boarding passes going forward will usually say “Pre-Check” on them. If you use a mobile boarding pass it will also have a green checkmark logo. So long as that’s on your ticket, you can use Pre-Check lines, when present and open. A staffer may ask to see your boarding pass before entering the Pre-Check line (trust me, you want this to be the case…if they’re not screening, people without Pre-Check will get in the shorter line). In those lines, you generally will not have to remove your shoes or light outer layers of clothing (like sweatshirts or sweaters, but you do still need to put things like winter and rain coats through the x-ray) from your person, liquids or electronics from your bags, and you go through a metal detector instead of the backscatter x-ray.However, not all airports have Pre-Check lines and even when an airport has them, they are not always open the same hours as the airport. If there are no Pre-Check lines or Pre-Check lines are closed, how you will be processed varies. At the Savannah (GA) airport a few years ago, upon presenting a Pre-Check boarding pass, I was given a little laminated sign that said “Special Processing” and went through the Pre-Check procedures in the standard line (shoes on, liquids and electronics in my bag, metal detector instead of backscatter). When the Pre-Check lines were already closed for the evening the last time I flew out of DCA, I had to remove my electronics from my bag, but could keep my shoes and sweatshirt on and use the metal detector instead of the backscatter. Though I will note that was somewhat chaotic because I had to show the agent right at the x-ray machine my boarding pass, which was on my phone, but then put my phone through the x-ray, so a printed boarding pass may be a good idea if you encounter that situation. But at least they were good about telling each person, and then loudly and repeatedly announcing, that EVERYONE had to take their laptops out.
On average how long does it take to clear customs at JFK airport?
Expect around 60 mins on average.Some ways you can save time:APC Kiosks- For US/Canadian Passports, US Lawful Permanent Residents, 2nd time ESTA/VWP and B1/B2 Visas. The kiosk scans your passport, takes a photo, asks some questions, and prints out a receipt. You then go to an officer, who makes sure the picture matches, and lets you through.Mobile Passport Control- For US Citizens/Canada Visitors only. Kind of replicates the APC Kiosk on your phone. The big advantage is the shorter (usually nonexistent) line. Available at many International hubs, including JFK. Download the app before you leave, fill out the form on the plane, and press submit when you land.CPB Pre-clearance stations- Try and make your last stop in Canada or Ireland (plus some others). You will go through a quicker customs/immigration before you get to the gate. BA flies LCY-SNN-JFK on a really cool all business class A318, with a stop in Ireland to clear customs. The advantage is you can arrive as a domestic flight, and just walk out of the terminal.Global Entry/Nexus/SENTRI- A wide variety of programs for different groups of trusted travelers. The fee varies based on your citizenship and location. When you arrive, just go to a special kiosk, scan your passport, and walk right through. Most US citizens fall into Global Entry. If you live near Canada, Nexus is cheaper (especially with kids), but requires meetings with Canadian Border Control as well. SENTRI is primarily for Mexican nationals. Certain countries have complicated arrangements that allow their citizens to have access to these programs, check at http://Globalentry.gov to find out how to apply.1-Stop- At ORD, not sure about other airports, you can go through a special exit if you don’t have a checked bag. This saves major time and if worth looking into.Express Connection/First-Buisness Class/FF passes- can give you access to a special line.Don’t bring any food, expensive gifts, lots of money, commercial products, animals, seeds, insects, etc or touch any livestock. Check those boxes with confidence! Global Entry actually has a ‘No to All‡ option to save even more time!Find another flight to a smaller airport.
How can I bring ice tea onto an airplane past TSA? Last year, they pulled me over, a 13 year old, for having a sealed iced tea in my carry on and forced me to throw it out.
Sorry. You don't.Like everyone else flying commercially, you must follow the rules to fit liquids in 3 ounces or less sized containers into your quart sized clear bag or put them in your checked bag. Iced tea in a commercially sold bottle is too large. I'm a judge with a security clearance, special government ID, additional Global Entry, TSA Pre-check and all of that jazz and, TSA still throws out my water or other drink if I forget it is in my purse when I get to airport security. They don't care who anyone is, even flight crews. I even got frisked and wiped for bomb residue the last time I flew earlier this month.You can take an empty reusable water bottle through security along with a Mio type liquid tea concentrate in your 311 bag because those Mio type bottles are small enough.Otherwise, you can buy those little iced tea packets that are made to mix with a 16.9 ounces bottle of water and buy a bottle of water inside security or fill your empty bottle from a drinking fountain.See below examples of the size items I mean which came from my carry-on bag, although the flavors obviously are different.