Save Time at the Airport with TSA PreCheck & Global Entry Programs
When traveling, few things cause more frustration than facing a seemingly endless airport security line. If you are a frequent flier and want to steer clear of lengthy security lines (and keep your shoes on!) then consider enrolling with the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry travel program.
TSA PreCheck Benefits & Basics
Launched in 2011, TSA PreCheck is designed to expedite U.S. airport security by eliminating the requirement to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. The result is a faster, more convenient line. In fact, according to TSA, TSA PreCheck travelers spend on average 5 minutes or less in line. Another perk for members is they can bring their children ages 12 and younger through the fast-track lines with them. And, if you are not a fan of the full-body X-ray scanners, you will be rewarded as TSA PreCheck lines use metal detectors (although can still be randomly picked for a more thorough check).
You can become part of the TSA PreCheck program in one of three ways: by pre-enrolling on the TSA.gov site, by invitation through an airline’s frequent flier program, or by admission into another Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler program like Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI. There is a non-refundable $85 application fee, which some credit cards and loyalty programs will reimburse you for. Once notified that your application has been accepted, you will need to schedule an in-person interview at fingerprinting at your local TSA PreCheck center. The interview is typically short and conducted to confirm the authenticity of your online application answers.
If approved, your membership in the program is valid for 5 years. As long as you include your Known Traveler Number (KTN) in the appropriate field of your airline reservation, travel with one of the 42 TSA PreCheck participating airlines, and the TSA Pre✓® indicator is visible on your boarding pass and embedded in the barcode, you will have access to the TSA PreCheck security line currently available at 200 airports nationwide.
Global Entry Benefits & Basics
Run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Global Entry provides “low-risk” travelers an expedited process for clearing customs upon arrival in the United States. Travelers with Global Entry use self-serve kiosks that read their passports, fingerprints, and customs declarations, allowing them to bypass processing by a customs official (and avoid the accompanying line). Designed to primarily benefit travelers coming into the U.S., some international customs authorities, including Canada, Abu Dhabi, Aruba and the Bahamas, recognize Global Entry in some capacity. As an added perk, all Global Entry members are automatically enrolled in TSA PreCheck (but not vice versa).
To apply for the Global Entry program, you must first create a Trusted Traveler program account at the CBP website (ttp.cbp.dhs.gov). In addition to U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents, Global Entry is available to citizens of Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. A $100 non-refundable fee is required with each Global Entry online application, which, like the TSA PreCheck fee, may be covered by one of your credit cards or loyalty programs.
If your application is conditionally approved, you will be instructed to schedule an in-person interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. At the interview you will need to present a valid passport(s) or permanent resident card and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card. A CBP officer will ask you some basic questions, take your photo and scan your fingerprints.
Once approved, your membership is valid for 5 years. In addition to enjoying a faster, kiosk-managed customs process at the airport, U.S. residents and Mexican nationals are issued a Global Entry card for expedited U.S. entry at land and sea ports of entry.
|Global Entry||TSA PreCheck|
|Eligibility||US Citizens, US Lawful Permanent Residents & other citizens of certain countries||US Citizens & US Lawful Permanent Residents|
|Passport Required||Yes; or lawful permanent resident card||No|
|Application Process||Online application, interview, ID verification, fingerprint scan and photo at Global Enrollment Center||Online application, ID verification, interview, and fingerprint scan at TSA PreCheck Center|
|Application Fee||$100 (5 year membership)||$85 (5 year membership)|
|Benefits||Expedited processing through customs at airports and land borders upon arrival in the U.S., plus TSA PreCheck||Expedited TSA security screening at participating airports|
Which program makes sense for you?
If you travel internationally, even just once a year, opt for Global Entry. The extra $15 fast tracks you through customs and automatically qualifies you for TSA PreCheck.