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TSA PreCheck Program and Global Entry
TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are two trusted traveler programs that are available through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While passengers must apply for Global Entry and other trusted traveler programs through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), they may enroll in PreCheck through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Moreover, TSA Global Entry is ideal for passengers who regularly travel to and from international destinations, while the PreCheck program benefits members who frequently travel domestically.
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How TSA PreCheck and Global Entry Differ
The TSA PreCheck and Global Entry programs differ in several ways. As PreCheck members, for instance, passengers receive a known traveler number (KTN), which allows them to bypass standard TSA security lanes at participating airports.
With a KTN, travelers can get through security more quickly when departing from the U.S., as they will not need to remove their shoes, belts or light jackets when passing through security. Additionally, they do not need to remove laptops or compliant liquids from their bags.
With a Global Entry number, however, members receive these PreCheck benefits as well as additional advantages like expedited customs processing when traveling internationally and re-entering the U.S. Like PreCheck, this trusted traveler program is only available to pre-screened travelers who pass a background screening and complete an in-person interview.
Moreover, the Global Entry program is available to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Mexican nationals and citizens of the following countries:
- The United Kingdom
- South Korea
Note While the Global Entry cost of enrollment is slightly higher than a PreCheck membership, Global Entry members are automatically eligible to receive PreCheck benefits and expedited security screening at participating airports.
Learn more about the differences between these programs by downloading our comprehensive guide.
How does Global Entry work?
Through the TSA Global Entry program, international travelers use automatic airport kiosks to scan their fingerprints and a passport or U.S. Permanent Resident Card. After doing so, they receive a receipt of their transaction before proceeding to the baggage claim. Therefore, the program expedites customs processing, making international travel quicker, less stressful and more enjoyable.
With a Global Entry number, travelers can also access PreCheck security lanes at participating airports. However, travelers must enter their membership number when booking flights, and their PreCheck eligibility will then be printed onto their boarding pass.
This number is also known as a PASSID and can be used in lieu of a PreCheck KTN. When reserving a flight, travelers must enter their PASSID into the KTN field.
Should I enroll in Global Entry or PreCheck?
When choosing between Global Entry or PreCheck, there are several factors to consider. For instance, PreCheck expedites the security screening process when departing from the U.S., while other trusted traveler programs are ideal for domestic and international travel.
If passengers travel to foreign countries at least once per year, a global trusted traveler program may be a better option for them. As Global Entry members, passengers receive PreCheck benefits when departing from the U.S. and expedited customs processing when re-entering the country.
Moreover, TSA Global Entry applicants need a passport or Lawful Permanent Resident Card to enroll in this trusted traveler program, while passengers need a U.S. passport or a birth certificate and driver's license to obtain a PreCheck membership. As for the other global TSA trusted traveler programs, such as NEXUS and SENTRI, additional documents are needed.
To enroll in SENTRI or NEXUS, for instance, applicants must present proof of citizenship and any documents or visas that permit entry into the U.S. For instance, proof of citizenship may include a passport or birth certificate.
To help travelers find a TSA Precheck or Global Entry program that best fits their specific needs and qualifications, applicants may use the Trusted Traveler Tool under the website of the DHS. To use the tool, travelers must select their country of citizenship, the average number of international and domestic flights they take each year and the number of trips they take to Canada and Mexico each year.
Applicants must also specify whether they have a passport or travel for commercial purposes. Get more information to help you decide between these programs in our in-depth guide.
Other Traveler Programs
When choosing between Nexus, TSA PreCheck and SENTRI, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each trusted traveler program. For instance:
- NEXUS is an excellent program for passengers who regularly travel between Canada and the United States. As part of this program, travelers experience shorter processing times when traveling by land and by air. Additionally, members of this Global Entry program may access PreCheck TSA security lanes when departing from the U.S.
- The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) program is ideal for applicants who frequently travel by vehicle or airplane between Mexico and the United States. SENTRI members may use dedicated lanes to pass through security more quickly when entering the country by vehicle. Additionally, members can use TSA Global Entry kiosks when entering the U.S. by airplane or NEXUS lanes when driving into the U.S. from Canada.
- PreCheck is ideal for passengers who regularly travel by domestic air. However, TSA Pre Check international benefits are not available unless travelers are enrolled in one of the other programs mentioned above.
To enroll in the other trusted traveler programs, customers must complete the application process online through the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.
When applying for a CBP trusted traveler program such as Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI, applicants must create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account, complete an application, submit payment for the non-refundable enrollment fee and schedule an in-person interview at a participating enrollment center. During the interview, applicants must present proof of identification and a passport or Lawful Permanent Resident Card.