TSA PreCheck and Global Entry

It took one VERY long line to enter the country after an international flight that I really understood my error. I had been shortsighted. I had only ventured to be TSA Pre-Check approved and didn’t go all in for the Global Entry. Has it happened to you? You kick yourself when you see a handful of people breezing by TSA or in my case a Global Entry queue with no one in line at all. 

What’s The Difference

These two trusted traveler programs are run by the US Department of Homeland Security. 

TSA Precheck covers all departures with the United States and Global Entry covers entry into the United States from international destinations. If you do any traveling at all the $85 or $100 cost is well worth it. Plus there is a list of credit card companies that provide perks (often reimbursement) to obtain your membership. 

What Is The Process

First, determine which of the Trusted Traveler Programs best suits your travel needs and then follow the application process. 

TSA PreCheck

To apply for TSA PreCheck submit an online application and schedule an appointment at an enrollment center. You may also enroll in person which will include fingerprinting for a background check. 

Most applicants receive their KTN (Known Traveler Number) in 3-5 days, though some applications can take up to 60 days. The good news for families is that children 12 and under can join a parent/guardian with TSA PreCheck. 

Global Entry

The Global Entry Program is designed for travelers who make frequent international trips. It also includes TSA PreCheck. For new Global Entry applicants, the processing time for an application can exceed 90 days. A full background check will be completed to ensure potential members qualify for expedited processing into the United States.

To apply for Global Entry you need a Login.gov account and you will continue filling out your application online. Once you have applied you may schedule your interview or if you will be returning from an international flight at an Enrollment on Arrival airport you may do so there.

Once accepted membership will last for five years. 

How Can It Be Even Easier

A plastic card in your wallet can make the process easier or at least more economical. All of the credit cards (or loyalty programs) listed below cover the TSA PreCheck application fee as a member benefit, provide a statement credit towards the application fee, or allow members to use rewards points to pay for the TSA PreCheck application fee. This list is courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration.

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