TSA PreCheck Program and Global Entry
Learning about the differences between TSA PreCheck and global entry is helpful if you are trying to decide between these two programs. Overall, both services allow you to use expedited security lanes when traveling from an airport that recognizes your membership. However, while the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program and global entryservice are similar in many ways, they are in fact different programs that require you to take separate application steps. Furthermore, the benefits and features of these two programs are not exactly the same.
One difference between global entry and TSA PreCheck is that the first program is provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), while the second is administered only by the TSA. However, even though these programs are overseen by different departments, there is some crossover when it comes to the benefits you can use. Below, learn more about the features of each program and discover which one is right for you.
Benefits of Global EntryVersus PreCheck
TSA precheck and global entry will both allow you to get through airport security by using an expedited screening process. Both of these programs can only be used at selected airports that participate in the program and have expedited security screenings available. Furthermore, the global program and the TSA program can typically only be used when flying with an airline that has partnered with one of these services.
Because these programs offer similar benefits, you may hear them referred to as a single program, such as TSA global entry, as if they are the same service. First, the TSA program can only be used for domestic flights if you are flying to or from an airport that participates in service. The global program, on the other hand, allows you to receive expedited customs and immigration screenings when returning from an international flight.
It is important to note that both global entry and TSA PreCheck allow you to use the benefits of the pre-check program. In other words, if you participate in the global program, you automatically qualify for the same benefits provided to customers who only use the PreCheck service. Regardless of the program you choose, the best benefit of using an expedited security lane is that you can go through the checkpoint without having to remove the following:
- Lightweight jackets
Not only does this make for a more comfortable travel experience, it also makes the lines move more quickly. Always remember that customers who only have TSA PreCheck are limited to using this benefit for domestic flights. Travelers who have a global membership can get through security measures more quickly when returning from international flights.
How do you getglobal entry and TSA PreCheck?
When you sign up for PreCheck or a global TSA membership, you will need to complete similar application steps. Keep in mind that because these programs are administered by different agencies, you will need to use different websites to complete the application online. TSA applications are processed through the Universal Enroll service, while global service programs are processed through CBP via the Department of Homeland Security.
With either program, you must provide personal information such as your legal name, date of birth and contact information. Next, you are required to undergo an in-person interview, submit fingerprints and consent to a background check. You will only be accepted if you are deemed to present a low security risk. With that in mind, note that many types of criminal convictions will either permanently or temporarily ban you from obtaining a membership.
What is a global entry number?
After you are approved for TSA pre check international or the domestic PreCheck program, you will receive a unique number that allows you to use your benefits. Global entry numbers are referred to as PASSID numbers, while a PreCheck membership number is called a known traveler number (KTN). You will receive a card with your PASSID on it if you enroll in the global program, but there are no credentials issued when you sign up for PreCheck.
While KTNs and PASSIDs are slightly different, they can be used in the same way for domestic flights. Regardless of whether you have a KTN or a PASSID, you must enter the number when buying a plane ticket so that your eligibility for the expedited security lane can be printed on your boarding pass.
If you have a PASSID and forget to enter it when buying your plane ticket, you cannot show your global entry card in order to use the expedited airport security lane. The same is true if you are a TSA PreCheck customer who forgets to enter a KTN when buying a plane ticket. The only way you can enter the PreCheck security lane is to have a boarding pass that indicates you are eligible.
For more information, download our informative guide.
How much does global entry cost?
Overall, global entry costs more than a membership for TSA PreCheck. However, keep in mind that the global program allows customers to use expedited services when returning from international flights and when boarding domestic flights. Because a global membership includes the benefits of both programs, the cost is slightly more. The fees for global entry and the TSA program go towards the cost of running a background check, fingerprinting and verifying applicants’ identity, among other administrative matters.
Should I choose TSA PreCheck or global entry?
If you are deciding between a global entry or TSA membership, it is helpful to consider where you travel most often. A standard TSA PreCheck membership is ideal for frequent domestic travel, while a global membership is beneficial if you will be traveling internationally. When choosing the program that is right for you, it is helpful to consider the fact that both memberships are valid for a period of five years before they have to be renewed. If you typically only travel within the U.S., it is worth considering a global membership even if you plan a single trip outside of the U.S. within the next five years.
When deciding on a program to choose, note that there are several other known traveler programs that you may want to consider as well. In addition to global entry and TSA PreCheckmemberships, you can select SENTRI, which allows you to travel between the U.S. and Mexico using expedited security lanes. Nexus TSA pre, otherwise referred to simply as NEXUS, is another option if you travel frequently between the U.S. and Canada. Both NEXUS and SENTRI memberships may come with TSA PreCheck benefits automatically if you qualify.
Download our guide for more details on TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.