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Last Updated on December 1, 2022 by David
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck (CLEAR as well, but more info on that another time) are unique services if you travel a decent amount, especially by air. The idea behind the services is to drastically save time when going through airport security by running background checks beforehand when you apply for the services initially. With PreCheck you go through a different line at security which usually has 90% fewer travelers in addition to not having to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, and jackets. Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are often grouped together and a lot of people think of them as similar or even the same service when in reality they are two completely different programs with different objectives.
Global Entry – Sign Up
Global Entry is used to speed up the process of getting through customs when entering the USA on any international trips. That may include trips by plane, boat, or car. Obtaining Global Entry is a longer and more drawn-out process than Pre Check since it’s through the US Customs and Border Protection Agency.
When I applied for Global Entry during peak covid it took months for my application to go through, it may be faster now, but take that with a grain of salt. The overall application was pretty simple and straightforward. All they wanted was proof of being a legal citizen and the last seven or so years of employment with no real gaps. The whole application took maybe 20 minutes and cost $100. It took several months to receive any updates and become “Conditionally Approved” and be able to schedule my interview, but that was partly due to covid, so your time may vary. The process is divided into two steps, passing the background check and being “Conditionally Approved” and being able to pass an in-person “interview”. The interview wasn’t really an interview, but more of them just wanting to be able to get their eyes on you and take your fingerprints. It took me about 10 minutes and I was told I would receive my card in the mail in 7-10 business days. Global Entry includes TSA Precheck which is your Global Entry number located on the back of your card.
TSA Pre Check – Sign Up
TSA Pre-Check is used to speed up the process of getting through TSA security at airports. It is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration(TSA) and is a much faster process since it is only used on domestic flights. The cost of Precheck is $85 for five years instead of $100 for Global Entry.
The whole process for Pre-Check is much simpler. You go on the TSA Pre Check website and sign up for an interview and include some basic information, nothing like Global Entry. During that time it will tell you which documents you need to bring with you. After your interview, you will be told you will receive an email with your TSA Pre Check number that you can use when booking flights.
In conclusion, I believe that Global Entry is a better deal if you’re able to go through the process and more importantly have the time for it. It is only $15 more expensive and includes both Global Entry and TSA Pre Check. We will get into CLEAR a little more in a separate article as it is also a service to speed up the process of getting through security, but is more of a service to be used in addition to Pre Check.