Global Entry Vs. TSA PreCheck – Which one should you get and why?
If you’ve waited impatiently in a long security line, only to get half undressed and have a stranger pat you on the naughty bits, then this applies to you. Likewise if you’ve stood gnashing your teeth for 45 minutes in a Customs & Immigration line after a 14 hour flight, you’ll want to read on, because there is a better way my friends. But which way is the right way for you?
What is TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck allows you to bypass the longer security lines to a special expedited line, and you’ll pass through without removing your shoes, laptop, belt, liquids or jacket. Membership is $85 and is good for 5 years, you’ll need to apply online, set an appointment and submit to a background check & fingerprinting. Once that’s complete and you’re approved, you can now breeze through security at 180+ airports and 37 airlines across the country in 5 minutess or less typically.
If you travel frequently, it is well worth the cost to avoid hassles, headaches and delays, but TSA PreCheck alone only makes sense if all or the majority of your travel is domestic. If you frequently travel internationally, Global Entry is right for you.
Here’s the kicker, Global Entry is also a 5 Year Membership, includes TSA PreCheck, and at $100 it’s only $15 more expensive.
What is Global Entry?
According to their website, “Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.”
I’ve had Global Entry for 4 years now, and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. Countless times when re-entering the US I’ve saved myself an hour by bypassing long lines (have you ever seen customs after an A380 disembarks all 500 of it’s passengers?) and strolling up to a kiosk that reads my fingerprint and prints a receipt that I simply hand to a customs agent when I exit baggage claim. No fuss, no hassle, just move it right along sonny.
And here’s the kicker, Global Entry is also a 5 Year Membership, includes TSA PreCheck, and at $100 it’s only $15 more expensive. The process is a bit more involved, applicants undergo a rigorous background check and an in-person interview, but it isn’t difficult. CBP.gov outlines the process this way:
Before you apply, make sure you are eligible for Global Entry.
- Create a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account. Regardless of your age, you must have your own GOES account.
- Log in to your GOES account and complete the application. A $100 non-refundable fee is required with each completed application.
- After accepting your completed application and fee, CBP will review your application. If your application is conditionally approved, then your GOES account will instruct you to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Each applicant must schedule a separate interview.
- You will need to bring your valid passport(s) and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card to the interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must present your machine readable permanent resident card.
Here in Dallas we have a Global Entry Enrollment Center at DFW Airport in Terminal D. The process was simple, my interview lasted no more than 10 minutes and my card arrived in the mail 2 weeks later.
And the Winner is…
Global Entry by a mile. At a mere $15 more than TSA Precheck, it’s a no-brainer even if the majority of your travel is domestic. You never know when an opportunity will arise to take an international vacation, and even if it’s one time over 5 years, I promise you bypassing a 2 hour Customs line is worth $15.
Global Entry is just awesome, I breeze through security on the front end, then breeze through customs on the back end. And on top of that, the CBP has agreements with other countries that allow you to breeze through their customs & immigration lines as well.
Maybe a Global Entry Card was just the extra push you needed to take that vacation to Tahiti you always dreamed of! Take a moment to peruse our incredible Travel Specials or contact one of our Specialists via Phone or Email to help you plan a vacation that suits you perfectly. Travel is more affordable than you think, especially when you’ve got one of our Seasoned Destination Specialists on the case, and remember…. it doesn’t cost you anything to use a travel agent!