Way back when I first started researching which Trusted Traveler Program to join, this brilliant chart (which makes it a breeze to decide) was nowhere to be found. In its place was somewhat vague text.
I ran into endless others who were also trying to sort out which Trusted Traveler Program to join back then, so we were quite a lost sight, I'm sure.
The Only Thing I Knew for Sure Was That My Application Fee Would Not be Refunded, if for Any Reason it Was Declined
So I wanted to step carefully through this process.
Since I do make trips between the United States and Canada by land, air and sea, and since the NEXUS program was the least expensive of all of the Trusted Traveler Programs, I chose to sign up for the NEXUS program first.
My reasoning: If I was rejected, $50 was a minimal loss and I'd learn from that experience as to why I was rejected, so I could apply again, successfully.
It Took Weeks
When I first signed up for NEXUS, the older online government system couldn't alert applicants as to the status of their application, so I had to remember to manually check their system.
Weeks later, I saw that I'd been conditionally approved. Success!
Then it Took Months
After being conditionally approved, an in-person interview was necessary, but an appointment was not available for months. I scheduled it.
As luck would have it, when my appointment date arrived, I was quite ill (collapsed in bed with the flu).
A new appointment wasn't available until nearly six months after that original appointment date. I scheduled it.
So I Decided to Sign Up for Another Trusted Traveler Program
At this point, with no NEXUS appointment for months, and located too far away to be able to drop in and attempt a walk-in appointment, I was no longer concerned about wasting money.
I just wanted to be part of at least one Trusted Traveler Program—and I actually thought I needed to belong to both NEXUS and Global Entry, to receive all of the Trusted Traveler Program benefits.
So I attempted to sign up for Global Entry, too, while waiting for my NEXUS interview. Especially since, by now, I had a credit card that would reimburse the entire Global Entry fee. This was a win-win, I thought. No loss for me.
But the government's website literally would not allow me to press the Global Entry button. I thought there was a technical glitch, so I emailed for help, yet I truly didn't expect a response.
Oh my, was I surprised...
ALERT: Nexus Already Includes Global Entry Benefits
"Thank you for contacting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Information Center... You will not be able to add a program if you have a pending application.
"Please note that you can only have one program at a time, and the last one added trumps the previous ones.
"For example, NEXUS membership includes all of the benefits of Global Entry, plus expedited entry into Canada.
"If you choose to add Global Entry after you have NEXUS you will lose that benefit as you can only have one program at a time and the last one added will trump the others.
"With NEXUS membership you do not need Global Entry."
So (while I wish nobody used the t word anymore), how cool is it that qualifying for NEXUS gives one the benefits of the other programs, too?! For fifty dollars. Total.