Traveling through airport security lines can be frustrating and time consuming. That’s why many travelers opt for TSA Precheck, which offers expedited screening. But did you know you can upgrade your TSA Precheck membership to Global Entry for even faster security clearance and other perks?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Upgrading from TSA Precheck to Global Entry allows you to use expedited security lines, like with Precheck. But it also lets you skip customs lines when re-entering the US, via automatic kiosks.
The upgrade process is simple – you just have to pay an additional $15 fee and complete an interview.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about upgrading from TSA Precheck to Global Entry. We’ll compare the key differences between the programs, walk through the upgrade process step-by-step, and highlight the main benefits of Global Entry.
Comparing TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry
TSA Precheck Overview
TSA Precheck is a trusted traveler program that allows eligible passengers to enjoy expedited security screening at participating U.S. airports. With TSA Precheck, travelers can keep their shoes, belts, and light jackets on, and leave laptops and liquids in their carry-on bags.
This program is ideal for frequent domestic travelers who want to save time and avoid the hassle of removing personal items during the security process.
Global Entry Overview
Global Entry is a program administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that offers expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers arriving in the United States. In addition to the benefits of TSA Precheck, Global Entry members also enjoy expedited customs and immigration clearance when returning to the U.S. from international destinations.
This program is perfect for travelers who frequently fly internationally and want to breeze through immigration and customs lines.
While both TSA Precheck and Global Entry offer expedited security screening, there are a few key differences between the two programs:
|TSA Precheck||Global Entry|
|Available only for domestic travel within the United States||Includes both domestic and international travel|
|Costs $85 for a five-year membership||Costs $100 for a five-year membership|
|Does not require an in-person interview||Requires an in-person interview at a Global Entry enrollment center|
|Does not include expedited customs and immigration clearance||Includes expedited customs and immigration clearance|
It’s important to note that Global Entry includes all the benefits of TSA Precheck, making it a more comprehensive option for frequent travelers. However, if you primarily travel within the United States and don’t plan on traveling internationally, TSA Precheck may be sufficient for your needs.
To apply for either program, you can visit the official websites of TSA Precheck (https://www.tsa.gov/precheck) or Global Entry (https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry) for more information and to start the application process.
Step-by-Step Guide to Upgrading from Precheck to Global Entry
Check Your Eligibility
Before you can upgrade from TSA Precheck to Global Entry, it’s important to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. Global Entry is available to U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, Mexican nationals, and citizens of certain other countries.
If you already have TSA Precheck, you’re likely eligible for Global Entry. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check the requirements on the official website of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Submit Your Application
Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the next step is to submit your application for Global Entry. This can be done through the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) website. The application will require you to provide personal information, such as your name, address, and employment history.
Additionally, you may be asked to provide your passport details and answer questions related to your travel history.
Schedule an Interview
After submitting your application, you’ll need to schedule an interview with a CBP officer. The interview is a crucial step in the process as it allows the officer to verify your identity and ask any additional questions about your application.
The interview can be scheduled at one of the Global Entry Enrollment Centers located throughout the United States. It’s important to note that there may be a wait time for interview appointments, so it’s recommended to schedule your interview as soon as possible.
Pay the Fee
There is a non-refundable fee associated with Global Entry, which covers a five-year membership. As of 2021, the fee for Global Entry is $100. Payment can be made online through the TTP website using a credit card or electronic bank transfer.
It’s worth mentioning that some credit cards offer reimbursement for Global Entry application fees, so be sure to check if your credit card provides this benefit.
Use Your Global Entry Membership
Once you have successfully completed your interview and paid the fee, you will receive your Global Entry membership card. This card allows you to use expedited screening lanes at participating airports in the United States.
Additionally, Global Entry members are eligible for TSA Precheck, meaning you can enjoy the benefits of both programs. Remember to bring your Global Entry membership card and passport when traveling to ensure a smooth and efficient airport experience.
Benefits of Upgrading to Global Entry
Save Time at Airport Security
One of the major benefits of upgrading to Global Entry is the significant time savings at airport security checkpoints. With Global Entry, you can skip the long lines and go through a separate, expedited security screening process.
This means you can breeze through security in a matter of minutes, allowing you to spend more time enjoying your trip rather than waiting in line.
According to a study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association, travelers with Global Entry save an average of 26 minutes per trip at airport security. That’s almost half an hour that you could spend sipping on a cup of coffee or exploring the duty-free shops instead of standing in line!
Skip Customs Lines When Re-Entering the US
Another major benefit of upgrading to Global Entry is the ability to skip the long customs lines when re-entering the United States from an international trip. Instead of waiting in line for hours to have your passport checked, you can head straight to a Global Entry kiosk, scan your passport, answer a few questions, and be on your way.
This not only saves you a significant amount of time but also eliminates the hassle and stress of waiting in line after a long flight. It’s a great feeling to be able to breeze through customs and get home faster!
Enroll in Other Trusted Traveler Programs
By upgrading to Global Entry, you also become eligible to enroll in other trusted traveler programs such as TSA PreCheck and NEXUS. These programs provide additional benefits like expedited security screening and faster processing at the Canadian border.
With TSA PreCheck, you can enjoy the convenience of not having to remove your shoes, belt, or light jacket, and you can keep your laptop and liquids in your bag. NEXUS, on the other hand, allows for expedited processing when traveling between the US and Canada, making cross-border travel a breeze.
Use Global Entry Kiosks Internationally
One of the lesser-known benefits of upgrading to Global Entry is the ability to use Global Entry kiosks when traveling internationally. These kiosks are available at select airports around the world, allowing you to skip the long immigration lines and go through a quick, automated process instead.
This can be especially beneficial when arriving at busy international airports where the immigration lines can be incredibly long. With Global Entry, you can save valuable time and start enjoying your destination sooner.
Upgrading from TSA Precheck to Global Entry takes just a few simple steps, but saves you precious time at airport security and customs. For just $15 more than a Precheck membership, Global Entry speeds you through security and lets you skip customs lines when returning to the US.
It’s one of the best investments frequent travelers can make. We hope this guide gave you all the information needed to upgrade your status and breeze through airports on your next trip!