When you’re a frequent traveler, every second of time saved is a second of sanity maintained. Getting in and out of an airport as quickly as possible is important for both your productivity and mental health. Enter: Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. These trusted traveler programs allow you to clear security with ease (and even let you keep your shoes on!). Skip the security lines, keep your laptop in your carry-on luggage and check out some of the top benefits of these programs.
TSA PreCheck Benefits & Enrolment Basics
TSA PreCheck is a Trusted Traveler Program designed to make clearing security checkpoints and lines quicker for frequent travelers. PreCheck status lasts for five years if accepted and you will gain entry to the fast-track line designated for TSA PreCheck members only. While members will still have to show a boarding pass and ID, like a driver’s license, Trusted Travelers will not need to take off shoes and belts, remove laptops and liquids from bags. TSA PreCheck also allows travelers to bring non-PreCheck members through the fast-track lines.
You must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident with no prior criminal convictions on record to be eligible for enrollment. To apply for TSA pre-check, fill out the short form online and once accepted, you may schedule an interview for fingerprint processing at your local TSA PreCheck center. The interview is typically short and conducted to confirm the veracity of answers you gave in your online application. Once approved, you will then pay the $85 fee for your five-year membership and will be issued a Known Traveler Number (KTN).
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Global Entry Benefits & Travel Basics
At the top of the benefits list, all Global Entry travelers are automatically enrolled in TSA PreCheck (but not vice versa). Global Entry, however, is run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and allows “low-risk” travelers an expedited process for clearing customs when reentering the country. Beyond a broad range of U.S.-based airports, Global Entry benefits can also be enjoyed at several Canadian airports and others around the world, including Abu Dhabi, Aruba, and the Bahamas. Global Entry is also valid for five years and allows approved travelers to skip customs officials and instead use kiosks, which scan your passport, fingerprint, and customs declaration form.
In order to apply for Global Entry benefits, you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or a citizen of one of the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- The Netherlands
- South Korea
You must have no prior convictions or customs violations. The application process is similar to TSA PreCheck, but is slightly more in-depth. To apply, fill out the online application. Once you have cleared the thorough background check, you will be allowed to schedule an interview at a nearby Global Entry Enrollment Center. During the interview, a U.S. Customs Border Protection officer will ask you a list of basic questions. Questions are typically simple and straightforward inquiries about your motivations for joining Global Entry, your employment, arrest history, and history with customs. After a successful interview, they will take your photo and scan your fingerprints. Two forms of ID are required for Global Entry and once completed and accepted, you will be issued a Global Entry ID card. The application fee is $100.
Global Entry Benefits and TSA PreCheck
|Global Entry||TSA PreCheck|
|Application Fee||$100 (5-year membership)||$85 (5-year membership)|
|Eligibility||US citizens, US lawful permanent residents & other citizens of specific countries.||US citizens & US lawful permanent residents.|
|Application Process||Online application, interview, ID verification, fingerprint scan, and photo at enrollment center.||Online application, ID verification, fingerprint scan at enrollment center.|
|Benefits||Expedited processing through customs and security screening at participating airports.||Expedited security screening process at participating airports.|