Global Entry vs SENTRI
The two large programs, Global Entry program and SENTRI GOES program, are designed to expedite members travel time at airports and border crossings.
There are plenty of questions to ask about them both.
Especially if you are not a U.S. citizen and still want to enjoy the privileges of the Trusted Traveler Programs or even want to get your hands on TSA PreCheck.
Which one should you get?
We where were wondering the same thing years ago and figured out the nuances by using them both.
And well go over them both below.
But first, here’s the deal.
The differences between Global Entry program and SENTRI pass program is easy as this:
There isn’t any.
At least as far as the benefits are concerned.
How do Global Entry benefits and SENTRI benefits compare?
They don’t…they are the SAME.
- BOTH will get you access to TSA PreCheck lines
- No need to additionally apply. Just use your Known Traveler Number
- BOTH will give you access to use Global Entry Customs Kiosks
- BOTH will give you access to SENTRI lanes
If you are a U.S. citizen and have a U.S. Passport you can Stop Reading This Article.
Get Global Entry.
It’s Cheaper and has more locations for a interview
“Ok fine…but how do they differ in this Trusted Traveler battle?”
Answer: The application process.
We’ll touch on the 3 main differences in Global Entry vs SENTRI:
- Who can apply
- Where you can interview
But first: “Why have two programs then?”.
The SENTRI pass was developed in 1995 specifically for border security and screening at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego as lines started to become lengthy for many.
At the time this was the only “program” put in affect to assist travelers wait times and the only one really needed before major security issues became apparent after 2001.
The SENTRI pass allows its members assess to expedited SENTRI lanes when returning to the United States from Mexico.
The program has been going on for over 20 years since it first got implemented at the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego in 1995 and has saved citizens countless hours of time waiting in the border line.
At the time there was no other option of any “expedited” service anywhere from any branch of the government.
As such, it remains specifically for land border crossings from Mexico into the United States it has not changed much
The Global Entry program was developed basically around the same time to solve a similar issue.
U.S. Customs and immigration wait times and re-entry from international air travel abroad.
Since each program (along with the similar NEXUS program surrounding land and sea border crossings between the U.S. and Canada) required similar or the same application process and being managed by the CBP along similar goals, keeping security high while expediting entry back into the United States, the programs decided to share each others benefits between members.
And they both get TSA PreCheck benefits. Did we mention that?
Now lets get to the differences.
Global Entry Cost vs SENTRI Cost
Global Entry is cheaper than a SENTRI pass by $22.25.
Yeah, pretty specific.
The GOES SENTRI application fee is $25.
But an additional payments below are due at the time of your SENTRI interview.
- $82.75 system cost fee
- $14.50 finger print (read finger scan) fee
This makes the cost of SENTRI: $122.25.
The GOES Global Entry application fee is $100 in total.
Simple as that.
And payable after you complete your GOES Global Entry application.
No other fees are due after your interview.
Get Global Entry.
Even if you live in San Diego, Loreto, Texas or anywhere near the border there is no reason for U.S. Passport holders to apply for SENTRI.
Save yourself a bit of money and apply for Global Entry.
You’ll still be able to register your car for use in SENTRI lanes, just like with the SENTRI application.
And there is no additional leg work to apply for TSA PreCheck when becoming a member of Global Entry or SENTRI. It’s simply included.
Just use your KTN or PassID on the back of your card.
Who can apply for Global Entry / Who can apply for SENTRI
This is a distinction that travelers can not get around.
Only U.S. Citizens or those with citizenship of the following nations can apply for Global Entry:
- South Korea
- Canada (NEXUS program)
Who can apply for SENTRI?
Yes, anyone with proof of citizenship from almost any country.
Seems odd, we know.
Especially since both programs share benefits.
It is worthy to note, that simply applying for either program does not guarantee your application will get accepted.
Some people have been denied Global Entry and SENTRI for quite an odd number of reasons.
Your initial $100 Global Entry application fee or $25 SENTRI application fee will not be refunded if this is the case. FYI
Box: Want to see all the GOES Global Entry application questions or GOES SENTRI application questions?
So, If you are a Chilean citizen who visits to the U.S. and wants to skip those long Customs and Immigration lines by using a Global Entry kiosk?
You can (only) apply for SENTRI card…and you’ll have Global Entry benefits included with your SENTRI membership.
Are you a U.S. citizen with a passport and want to quicker access back to the United States from a road trip down to Mexico?
No need to apply for SENTRI pass.
Apply for Global Entry, enter in your vehicles conveyance details at the end of the application and use your Global Entry card in SENTRI lanes when you reach the border.
It’s what we do every week.
We have had too many U.S. citizens who live and work in San Diego apply for SENTRI pass when they could have saved themselves some $ and applied for Global Entry instead.
Your SENTRI intervew can only take place in a limited amount of enrollment centers, all located near the U.S./Mexico border.
Which brings us to the last major difference.
Where to apply for Global Entry vs SENTRI
If you have come this far the differences between Global Entry and SENTRI may seem like small potatoes.
- There are 86 locations for your Global Entry interview.
- There are 13 interview locations for a SENTRI pass.
There are Global Entry interview locations and enrollment centers in almost every major city and airport.
Even in Canada, Puerto Rico, Qatar and now Singapore.
Compare this to SENTRI interview locations which are all are located very near the U.S./Mexico border and only in 4 states:
- New Mexico
And to be fair, this pales in comparison to the 300+ TSA PreCheck interview locations available if you choose to be a member of their stand alone PreCheck program.
But do yourself a favor, check to see if a Global Entry enrollment center is nearby first.
If you are even thinking of paying $85 for the stand alone TSA PreCheck program because one of their interview locations is close by, you are likely near a Global Entry enrollment center as well.
Since TSA PreCheck is included with a Global Entry or SENTRI membership you may choose apply for their membership over TSA PreCheck alone.
However…you may be accepted for the stand alone TSA PreCheck program sooner than if you’d apply for Global Entry or SENTRI. This could prove useful to some.
Still, with the added benefits of Global Entry the 1-3 weeks it takes for your application to be conditionally approved is worth it.
Just plan ahead.
Global Entry International Arrangements
Though most likely not often used, the CBP has agreements with partner countries to expedite travel for members of Global Entry.
Some of the countries require Global Entry members to apply for their program separately and pay an additional non-refundable fee to be included in their program.
Others, such as New Zealand, do not charge for use of their program.
Global Entry members can simply show their Global Entry card upon arrival in New Zealand and use dedicated lanes at either: Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch International Airports upon arrival
Germany has their own expedited program called EasyPass-RTP which anyone can apply for. Participation in EasyPass-RPT, also free of charge. Nice!
Please see below for more specifics.
So there you have it: Global Entry vs SENTRI
From a benefits standpoint (not counting the International Arrangements) they are the same.
But in a comparison of Global Entry vs SENTRI application process…Global Entry comes out ahead due to its cost and number of interview locations available.
Through the SENTRI pass may be the only option for some wishing to have what Global Entry offers.
Have additional input that could be valuable to some surrounding Global Entry vs SENTRI pass? Share it below!