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Difference Between Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Waiting in line at the airport and going through security checks – which seem to be getting stricter by the day – is highly time consuming, and can be very frustrating for travelers looking to catch a train or in a hurry to get to their final destination after a long trip. The same is true for passengers departing: the compulsory checks and security controls before departure can become very stressful when time is short. In order to expedite the departure and arrival process, the US government offers two alternatives: TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. The two systems work in similar ways, and both entail expedite screening at the airport, allowing travelers to avoid queues and to go through security checks without having to remove liquids, laptops and similar objects from the bag. Despite a number of similarities, there are few differences between the two services: Global Entry is slightly more expensive but allows expedite screening for passengers entering the US after international flights, while TSA PreCheck is slightly cheaper, but mainly applies to domestic flights.

 

What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that provides expedite screening and clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Travelers with Global Entry, have the possibility to avoid lines at immigration and customs, by using a designated kiosk, where they will only have to enter a pin number – the “Trusted Traveler Number” – and scan their fingerprint. If the number and the fingerprint are recognized, the kiosk emits a receipt that enables the traveler to proceed to collect his baggage and to exit the airport. In some cases, Global Entry also includes TSA Precheck eligibility. Global Entry:

  • Is valid for five years;
  • Costs $100;
  • Is useful when returning to the United States after international flights;
  • US citizens and permanent residents, as well as citizens of the United Kingdom, Colombia, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Mexico and Germany are eligible for Global Entry, although Visa might be required for some of the listed countries. Canadian citizens and residents may also be eligible for the program through the Nexux partnership system, while citizens of the Netherlands can enjoy Global Entry benefits though Flux- the designated trusted traveler program;
  • About 60 airports worldwide have Global Entry Kiosk;
  • Individuals with criminal records or pending criminal charges, those who violated immigration or customs regulations, as well as persons who provided false or incomplete information are likely to be denied their application for Global Entry; and
  • Global Entry is an individual service that does not extend to other members of the family. Anyone under the age of 18 needs parental or legal guardian consent to apply and participate.

 

What is TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck is a government-sponsored program aimed at expediting airport security checks for travelers moving on US domestic – and selected international – flights. When going through security checks before departure, passengers do not need to remove their belts, shoes, jackets, laptops, liquids and belts, meaning that the entire process becomes much quicker. TSA PreCheck:

  • Costs $100;
  • Is especially useful for domestic flights in the United States and can help expedite the screening process for flight leaving the country, but it rarely works for international flights entering the US;
  • Is valid for five years;
  • Applies to all US citizens, nationals and residents, and it has no age restriction; and
  • Individuals with criminal records or those who have provided inaccurate or incomplete information are likely to be denied access to the benefits offered by TSA PreCheck.

TSA PreCheck service can be found in over 180 airports across the United States, and nineteen airlines cooperate with the program. Those airlines include, in alphabetical order, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Cape Air, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa, OneJet, Seaborne Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin America, and WestJet.

 

Similarities Between Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are two similar programs aimed at expediting screening processes at the airport in order to allow travelers to reach their final destination more quickly, spending less time in line going through security checks. Some of the similarities between the two include:

  1. Both last five years;
  2. None of the two is valid in all airports across the globe (there are around 60 airports with Global Entry kiosks and about 180 airports and 19 airlines cooperate with TSA PreCheck);
  3. In order to obtain either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, travelers need to submit an online application and schedule an appointment with the appropriate authorities. Both interviews last about 10-15 minutes and include background checks and fingerprinting;
  4. Both can be denied if the applicant provides inaccurate or incomplete information, or if the applicant has a criminal record or violated customs or immigration regulations; and
  5. Both allow the traveler to go through security checks more quickly, in most cases without having to remove belt, shoes, liquids and laptops.

 

Difference between Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Even though Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are very similar, there are some key differences that travelers need to consider in order to make an informed decision. In some cases, the two systems overlap, and some of the TSA PreCheck benefits can also be enjoyed by members of the Global Entry program. Some of the key differences between the two include:

  • Cost: Global Entry is slightly more expensive and costs $100 for five years, while TSA PreCheck costs $85 for five years;
  • International vs Domestic: Global Entry is the best option for individuals frequently traveling in and out the United States as it expedites the screening process entering the country after an international flight. Global Entry service is available in about 60 airports worldwide and allows travelers to use a kiosk (with the Trusted Traveler Number and fingerprint scan) to avoid the queue at customs and immigration. Conversely, TSA PreCheck is especially useful in domestic flights within the United States and in flights leaving the country, while almost never applies to international flights entering the US.

 

Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck: Comparison Table

Aside from costs and type of flights to which the services apply, there are few other key aspects that differentiate Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.

 

Summary of Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck

Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are two systems promoted by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and by the US government, respectively, to expedite the screening process at the airport, reducing queue lines for passengers traveling within or outside the United States. In order to obtain either one of the two, applicants must submit an online application and schedule an appointment with the relevant authorities. Interviews include background checks and fingerprinting, and the service is denied to those submitting incomplete or false information or to those with criminal records. Both services are valid for 5 years and can be renewed. Global Entry costs $100 while TSA PreCheck $85.

Global Entry is particularly useful to travelers entering the United States as it allows them to avoid customs and immigration by using one of the designated kiosks – available in around 60 airports – where they will have to input their Trusted Traveler Number and scan their fingerprint. Conversely, TSA PreCheck is mainly used in domestic flights and helps expedite the screening process when leaving the United States. Global Entry is purely individual and cannot be extended to relatives, travel partners and children, while TSA PreCheck can be extended to children under 12 years of age.

The two systems tend to overlap in some cases, with some of the benefits of TSA PreCheck applying also to Global Entry members, but there are some key differences between the two that need to be considered by travelers who want to make an informed decision.


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References :


[0]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/142062297@N08/29150092312

[1]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/de/Santa_Clause_Joins_Global_Entry_%2816077423171%29.jpg/640px-Santa_Clause_Joins_Global_Entry_%2816077423171%29.jpg

[2]Kosner, L. J. "Global Entry vs. TSA PreCheck: Which Is Worth It." Retrieved on May 23 (2013): 2014.

[3]Rosenzweig, Paul. "Whither privacy?." Surveillance & Society10.3/4 (2012): 344.

[4]Stewart, Mark G., and John Mueller. "Risk and economic assessment of expedited passenger screening and TSA PreCheck." Journal of transportation security 10.1-2 (2017): 1-22.

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