We might have forgotten about the long airport security lines after the new coronavirus emerged. But, almost two years later, we are finally getting used to the new normal. As many people restart traveling by plane and do it more often, getting faster through airport security becomes challenging. If you have a scheduled flight at a major airport, especially during peak times, expect a long queue that presumes at least an hour of wait.
Considering the rise of Delta cases, these 60 minutes might be enough to provoke a bit of travel anxiety. Hence a simple membership can help you be less worried, focus on the positive, and bypass the chaos; why not consider it?
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck permit you to skip the lines and other standard airport security procedures. To enter one of the above-mentioned programs, you will need to go through a background check and other screening processes to guarantee you are a "Trusted Traveler." Please, continue reading for more details.
What is TSA Precheck
TSA PreCheck is a membership program governed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration that grants expedited airport security lines with less-intrusive airport screening.
The PreCheck status is good for five years, and although its owner must still present a boarding pass and I.D., it does exempt him from full-body scanning.
The traveler with PreCheck membership is required to pass metal detectors. He can keep his shoes, belt, or light jacket on, prior to airport security clearance, as well as the laptop and TSA-approved liquids in the suitcase or carry-on bag during the flight.
TSA Precheck Availability
The program is recognized by more than 200 domestic airports and 73 airlines. It is designated for domestic use; therefore, no international airports are supporting it.
TSA Precheck Eligibility
All U.S. citizens and lawful permanent U.S. residents are eligible to apply for TSA Precheck.
TSA PreCheck Application
To be considered, the traveler who intends to sign up for the Precheck program must complete a 5-minute online application.
Afterward, it is required to schedule an in-person appointment at any of the existing 380 enrollment centers to prove U.S. citizenship and receive a background check and fingerprinting. If approved, the applicant will receive his TSA Precheck stamp with a known traveler number that must be inserted anytime a flight is reserved.
Some top travel credit card companies offer TSA Precheck application costs coverage. Thus we advise verifying this moment with the card provider before payment.
What is Global Entry
Like TSA Precheck, Global Entry is part of the Trusted Traveler Program that permits hastened clearance for preapproved travelers. In addition, the program automatically includes free TSA PreCheck benefits and adds the possibility to get through customs quicker when entering the U.S. from travel abroad.
With this membership, passengers can jump over in-person customs interviews and paper filling. Instead, they can go directly to the automatic kiosks and use fingerprint verification to confirm identity. Upon completing a simple customs declaration, the kiosk will print a receipt that must be given to an officer before leaving the baggage claim area.
Global Entry Availability
The Customs Kiosks are accessible at more than 75 airports. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection website provides a full list of airports that have Global Entry Kiosks.
Global Entry Eligibility
To be eligible for Global Entry, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the following countries: Singapore, Colombia, Panama, Argentina, Switzerland, Germany, the U.K., South Korea, Taiwan, or India.
Global Entry Application
To apply for the program, the applicant must create a Trusted Traveler account first. The next step consists of filling the application for Global Entry membership. Finally, after receiving the conditional acceptance, an in-person interview must be scheduled at an authorized Enrollment Center. The U.S. residents shall carry their valid passports as well as another identification document to the center, while permanent residents must bring their machine-readable permanent resident cards.
Which to Pick: Global Entry or TSA Precheck
Before picking between Global Entry and TSA Precheck, we recommend that travelers ask themselves how often they plan to travel internationally. If the most significant part of the trips is in the United States, then TSA Precheck seems to be the best variant, as it will provide quicker access to security lines in almost all the airports in the country. However, for those traveling regularly outside the United States or who consider it difficult to decide, we recommend applying for Global Entry instead, since it includes TSA Precheck, but is not limited to it.