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.
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.
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.
- Aesthetics Card Visa® Rewards Credit Card
- Arvest Visa Signature® Credit Card
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
- Capital One® Spark® Miles Card
- Capital One® Venture® Card
- Capital One® Venture X® Card
- Certain American Express® Credit Cards
- Chase Sapphire ReserveSM
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM MasterCard®
- Citi Prestige® Card
- Commerce Bank® World Elite Mastercard®
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Diners Club® Carte Blanche® Corporate Card
- Expedia® Rewards Voyager Card from Citi
- HSBC Elite World Elite Mastercard®
- HSBC Premier World Mastercard®
- IHG® Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy™
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- MasterCard® Black Card™
- MasterCard® Gold Card™
- Navy Federal’s Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Card
- Orbitz Rewards®
- PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card
- Provident World+ Travel®
- Radisson Rewards Americas
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
- Truist Business Travel Rewards credit card
- Truist Enjoy Beyond credit card
- Truist Enjoy Travel credit card
- UBS Visa Infinite Credit Card
- United ClubSM Infinite Card
- UnitedSM Explorer Card
- United MileagePlus® (By Redeeming Miles)
- United QuestSM Card
- US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
- US Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card