How to Choose between a TSA PreCheck and a Global Entry?


Are you a frequent flier? Then you might have heard about Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. Is it worth applying for these programs to get benefits and skip the standard airport security lines?

Both of these programs are federal trusted traveler programs and they have benefits although you need some time and effort to complete the application and have the necessary interviews. In this article, we are going to talk about the differences between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry to help you make the right decision.

Global Entry

Global Entry is a Trusted Traveler Program issued by the federal government. This program is tailored to the needs of international travelers to help them expedite the customs process after returning to the USA from other countries.

Whereas online loans can help you finance your vacation, membership with Global Entry will help you utilize their customs kiosks when you come back to the USA so that you don’t need to undergo customs interview and can skip this line without filling out the paperwork. Fingerprint verification is necessary to prove identity. Customs declaration can be completed at the kiosk. One of the benefits of Global Entry is that this membership includes TSA PreCheck bonuses. It means that travelers can have a quicker screening process during domestic flights.

TSA PreCheck

According to the, Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are both Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Trusted Traveler Programs. Global Entry offers expedited S customs screening for international air travelers while TSA PreCheck offers expedited security screening benefits for flights departing from US Airports. Global Entry members can obtain the same TSA PreCheck bonuses as part of their membership.

The application process consists of a 5-minute web request and an in-person background check. After that, the individual will obtain a traveler number which can be entered each time he or she books a flight. The ticket will have the TSA PreCheck stamp and give the traveler access to a faster security check.

There is no need to take off your jacket, belt, or shoes. Besides, your TSA-approved liquids and laptop can remain in your carry-on bags. The application will cost you $85 while the membership will stay for five years. After this period expires, you may renew your status on the web for $70.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Which Option to Select

Here is the main difference between these trusted traveler programs.

  • Bonuses: Global Entry includes all the TSA PreCheck benefits. Besides, this program provides expedited customs screenings for international travelers who return to the USA. TSA PreCheck offers quicker security screenings without the need to take off your shoes or belt.
  • Application process. Application for Global Entry is available at 116 centers across the country. Application and interview for TSA PreCheck are available at more than 380 centers.
  • Cost. Global Entry membership costs $100 for a period of five years. TSA PreCheck membership costs $85 for a period of five years. Then, you can pay $70 to renew your status online.

Significant Consideration for These Programs

  • Children. If you have children aged 12 or younger, they can be accompanied by an adult with Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership through faster airport security lines. On the other hand, Global Entry doesn’t let kids have expedited customs screening without being members of the program.
  • Privacy. Keep in mind that when you apply for a particular program, you give out your personal data to the government, including your photo and fingerprints. It is your own decision to disclose this data.
  • Traveling with others. Think about the company you are traveling with. If your friends or the group of travelers you fly with don’t have trusted traveler benefits, you may need to wait for them as it will take them much longer to go through the security screening process.
  • Nonrefundable fees. In case the application for a certain program is rejected, the application fees are nonrefundable for both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.

A recent TSA Year in Review stated that a record setting 4,239 total firearms were discovered in carry-on bags across the USA, which is a median of 11.6 firearms a day. Another record is that 86.15 percent of the total firearms discovered were loaded. Take into consideration the demands and limitations of what can be taken with you in your carry-on to avoid unpleasant situations during security checks.

Should You Have Both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck?

Some travelers may think that purchasing both memberships will grant them more perks and bonuses. In reality, the Global Entry status already includes the benefits of TSA PreCheck. So, there is no need to spend your money on both memberships.

Whether you travel overseas or use domestic flights across the country, you should keep in mind some considerations. TSA PreCheck membership won’t give you the perks offered by Global Entry. This trusted traveler program is beneficial only for domestic flights.

So, if you are planning to travel abroad, it pays to opt for Global Entry. That way, you pay for one membership but use the benefits of both programs. If you have a certain credit card, these expenses will also be covered. What should you do if you already have one program?

For instance, if you have already bought a TSA PreCheck membership but wish to choose Global Entry instead, you may need to undergo a new request process and pay $100 for the application. Hence, consider the advantages of these programs before you make your choice.

The Bottom Line

Summing up, both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are trusted traveler programs issued by the federal government. Each of them works for a certain type of travelers and flights – international or domestic. Global Entry is a better option in most cases as it includes the bonuses of TSA PreCheck and can be suitable for both international travelers and those who prefer using domestic travel. On the other hand, there are fewer enrollment areas for Global Entry, so you should decide which option is preferable for you.


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