TSA Precheck and Global Entry can be a great benefit while traveling. In this episode of Travel Talk, learn all about TSA Precheck and Global Entry guidelines. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out, understanding these programs can save you time and hassle at the airport. We debunk common misconceptions and guide you through the application process step by step. Plus, discover which program is right for your travel needs. Tune in now to streamline your airport experience!
What Is It?
TSA PreCheck is a trusted traveler program in the United States that will help you get through TSA quicker and easier. Keep in mind that TSA – Transportation Security Administration – is the United States security organization that manages security at the airport. This means that TSA PreCheck is not used or available at any airport outside the U.S. on arrival or departure. It is also only used at airport security.
If you have TSA PreCheck, you usually have a separate security line than the general public and it is usually shorter and faster. When you go through this pre-check line, you do not have to remove electronics (laptops, tablets, etc.), your one-quart bag of liquids, or your shoes. In most cases, you can even keep on a light jacket. Always defer to the TSA security officers request though as they sometimes give specific instructions.
You still have the same security rules. No liquids over three ounces and all liquids must fit in a one-quart bag, but because of precheck you don’t have to remove the items from your bag. Other prohibited items are still prohibited.
As an adult with TSA Precheck, your children ages 12 and under are also able to go through the TSA Precheck line with you. In our house, when you turn 13 you get your TSA appointment.
How Do I Get TSA PreCheck?
The TSA PreCheck program allows people to apply and go through a screening process that can designate you as a safe traveler. It starts by filling out an application on IDEMIA’s website. At the end of the application, you set up an appointment for your screening. There are many appointment and you do not have to go to an airport for an appointment. In fact, our local Staples in Royersford, PA is an appointment center. There are more than 500 enrollment centers in the U.S.
After you have your appointment and are approved, you will receive a letter in the mail and an email notifying you of approval and providing your Known Traveler Number (KTN). When booking airline reservations, you will enter this number in the KTN field. If you already have flights booked when you get your number, you can add it to your flight or update it at the airport and have your boarding pass reprinted. If your KTN is entered correctly, you will see “TSA PRE” or “TSA PRECHECK” on your boarding pass.
TSA PreCheck currently costs $78 and lasts for five years. You renew online for $70.
What Is It?
In contrast to TSA PreCheck, Global Entry is a program from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This program is used only at ports of entry into the U.S. by air, land, and sea. Again, since this is a U.S. program, it is not used when you arrive in a foreign country.
When you arrive in the U.S. and go to Immigration, you enter a separate line for those with Global Entry. It is a shorter line and quicker process to clear immigration. It can be a great time saver, especially if you have a connection you need to catch.
Because this program is another type of safe traveler program, when you go through the process to get Global Entry, you will also be granted a Known Traveler Number that will give you TSA PreCheck.
How Do I Get Global Entry?
Similar to TSA PreCheck, you complete an application and then go for an interview appointment. Start by going to the Trusted Traveler Programs website. There are only about 116 enrollment centers around the country, so be sure to see what is near you as this may be harder to find than a TSA PreCheck location.
Once you are conditionally approved, you can schedule your interview appointment or you can do enrollment on arrival (EoA). EoA means that you can conduct your interview and finalize your global entry as you are returning home and going through immigration. Check here to see which airports have this feature. The video below has more information on Global Entry.
Global Entry currently costs $100 and is valid for five years. Note that everyone needs to have their own Global Entry to use the expedited arrival. Children cannot go through with their parents. You also cannot “upgrade” to Global Entry if you already have TSA PreCheck. You will apply to Global Entry as a new traveler and start at the beginning.
Which Program Is Right for Me?
If you only fly domestically, then you may want to just get TSA Precheck. It works at all U.S. airports and can save you time and hassle. You can get it for everyone 13 and older and bring the younger ones with you.
If you plan to travel internationally, especially if you will need to have a connecting flight after arrival in the U.S., then Global Entry is the way to go. You will get through immigration faster and then use TSA PreCheck to get to your connecting flight faster.