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Travel News TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry: Everything You Need To Know

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TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry: Everything You Need To Know

TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry--do you know the difference between the two? Let's demystify these programs with an in-depth look at each so that you can make the best decision and relieve some of the stress that comes with traveling.

What is TSA Precheck?

  1. TSA Precheck is a program that allows you to move through airport security faster than others due to not needing to remove your shoes, belts, jacket, laptop, or carry-on liquids
  2. The membership period is 5 years and costs $85 (as of August 2019)
  3. Membership is only available to U.S. citizens, nationals, and lawful permanent residents
  4. TSA Precheck lines are available for departures from more than 200 participating U.S. airports

TSA Precheck is available when you depart from the U.S. to a foreign country and for domestic flights within the United States. It is available for departures from more than 200 participating U.S. airports and 67 participating airlines. Airlines are always being added, such as Spirit Airlines, Emirates, and United Airlines.

To apply, just fill out the TSA Precheck application either online or at a TSA Precheck location. Then, you will able to schedule an appointment to answer a few questions in person. 

What is Global Entry?

  1. Global Entry expedites your entry into the United States from international destinations
  2. It’s applicable for travel by air, land, and sea
  3. Applicants undergo a background check and an in-person interview
  4. Membership is $100 for five years and is only available to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and select foreign nationals
  5. Bonus: TSA Precheck is included

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol program that speeds up the customs process for travelers arriving into the U.S. from abroad. Its primary focus is to speed up the process of re-entry into the United States through self-serve kiosks. These kiosks are available through a special customs line. You’ll scan your passport and fingerprints, answer a few questions, and then the kiosk will print out a receipt for you to hand to the officer on your way out. You won’t need to fill out any paperwork by hand.

To apply for Global Entry, you will need to fill out an application. You must schedule an interview at an enrollment center to answer questions, get fingerprinted, and have your photo taken. You will need a passport to apply for Global Entry. The card you’ll receive after acceptance to the program can be used at all major U.S. airports. It’s also considered a legal ID, which means you can use it as a valid form of identification at the airport for domestic flights in place of your driver’s license or state ID.

TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry: Which One is Better?

Let’s start by answering that question with a question: does one of your credit cards offer either as a free benefit? As of writing this article, a few cards currently offer this perk. The credit card company will apply a post-purchase statement credit if you use that card to pay the program’s membership fee. So, if you do have such a card and travel even a couple of times a year, it’s a no-brainer to take advantage of this benefit.  

If you don’t own a credit card that offers that benefit, then the question still remains: TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry?

It depends on how much you travel and how much of that travel is international. Global Entry is absolutely ideal for the international jet-setter or business traveler, as it cuts down on time wasted waiting in the airport customs line. If you rarely travel, say a couple of times or less a year, it may not be worth it to you to get either one.

Global or TSA

However, since Global Entry costs only $15 more than TSA Precheck and includes TSA Precheck, it’s a great value for your money. If you’re thinking about getting TSA Precheck, you may as well invest in Global Entry if you think there is even a slight chance you will go on one international trip in the next five years.

TSA Precheck members often get through security within minutes, so if you are a frequent domestic flier or even if you only travel around the U.S. a couple of times a year, your money will be wisely spent for this service.

Consider the stress involved in long security or customs lines, especially if you are running late. These programs will allow you to speed through those lines and for an affordable price–just $20/year for Global Entry + TSA Precheck or $17/year for TSA Precheck alone.

While the application process for both programs may seem like a lot of work, it is pretty painless–it’s over quickly and well worth the time spent.

Just consider how much you may be traveling domestically and abroad over the next five years, do a little math, and determine if the fee is a worthy exchange for an expedited airport experience. If you think it is, you won’t be sorry when you save time at the airport on your next trip!

About The Author

Tarah Vongbouthdy // Fit Two Travel

Tarah and husband Tip have been exploring the world since 2013. They have already visited nine different countries together, all while working full-time. Check out their travel blog to learn more about their adventures and travel tips.