Considering TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
One rainy morning I set out to JFK, excited for my trip to LA. Mental plans to make In-and-Out my first stop but traffic had different plans for me. I arrived 11 minutes before my plane was scheduled to board, I was out of breathe, mentally tired and felt hopeless as soon as I saw the long security line. Just when I was ready to give up, I stopped a JetBlue staff member who escorted me to the TSA PreCheck line. I vowed to sign up for the program and quickly began comparing TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry.
Are you tired of waiting on long TSA lines at the airport?
Sick of walking barefoot on the cold airport floor?
It’s time to consider TSA Pre Check or Global Entry, both programs allow you to get through airport security at a faster rate. You become an instant VIP, who doesn’t have to take their shoes or belt off while going through security. Removing your laptop from your bag becomes a thing of the past.
So, what’s the difference and how to choose one?
TSA PreCheck Requirements
Who is Eligible for TSA PreCheck?
- U.S. Citizens
- U.S. Nationals
- Permanent Residents
Global Entry Requirements
Who is Eligible for Global Entry?
- U.S. Citizens
- Lawful U.S. Permanent Residents
- Canadian Citizens (through the NEXUS program)
- Citizens of the United Kingdom
- Citizens of Panama
- German Citizens
- Citizens of the Netherlands
- Mexican Nationals
- Citizens of South Korea
How To Apply for TSA PreCheck
- Complete the TSA PreCheck application, online or at an application center.
- Schedule an appointment, online or by calling (855) 347-8371
- Visit an application center with the required documents and provide fingerprints, pay the $85 application fee.
- You may check the status of your TSA PreCheck Application here
- Required Documents: Valid Passport OR a government ID (Driver’s License, I.D. card, or Permanent Resident Card) AND birth certificate.
You should receive an email within a few days letting you know if you’re eligible for the program. Most international airports have an office located inside of the airport, for New Yorkers that means JFK airport. Unfortunately, I try to avoid airport traffic at all cost; so opted to use nonairport Global Entry Office.
If you have a long layover coming up you can always schedule your appointment for that airport since it’s a 15-minute interview process. (I would use this options for layovers over 2.5 hours to be safe.)
What happens during the interview?
Honestly, most of the questions will be replicas or similar to the ones asked on your application. Make sure to have your passport or resident card, additional forms of id, and a copy of your approval email.
Be warned they do check your driving record (the government would hate to give you anything if you owe them something) They will take your fingerprint and photo, this allows you to use the kiosk system in the future.
TSA Pre-Check Cards & Global Entry Cards
Your card will arrive in the mail in about 2 weeks. You won’t need to carry it with you travel with the physical card unless traveling by car, train or sea.
While flying all you need is your Known Traveler number, which can be found on the upper- left-hand corner of the back of your card.
Using TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry
In order to access your TSA PreCheck benefits, you must input this into your traveler profile whenever you fly on participating airlines: AeroMexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Etihad, Hawaiian, Jet Blue, Southwest, Sun Country, United, Virgin America, and WestJet to name a few as the list keeps growing.
Without this number on your boarding pass, you’ll end up in the regular screening line, which really defeats the purpose (sorry, you won’t be able to wave your Global Entry/ or TSA Pre Check card at the customs officer if you forget to add it while purchasing a ticket.)
How Do I Use Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check?
If your incoming flight requires you to be processed through customs; once off your flight follow the signs for Global Entry Kiosk. Once at the kiosk, scan your passport, your flight information will appear on the screen ( worst case scenario you will have to manually add your flight information) Next you will be asked a few questions ( which I always use the select” no to all option”) You must confirm all of your details, take a photo, scan your fingerprint gives you a receipt and you’re out the door.
In conclusion, if you plan on leaving the U.S in the next 3 to 5 years then spend the extra $15, and go with Global Entry. If your travel base is the USA then PreCheck is your friend.
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