7 Differences Between Global Entry & TSA PreCheck

Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are terms you hear often in airports. 

One line goes here, another line goes there. It’s all so confusing! Welcome to the world of global entry!

We’re here to help you debunk these two important terms so you can accurately decide if you want to enroll in either of these programs. 

Before we list differences, let’s build a solid foundation of what each term means. 

What is Global Entry? 

Global Entry, defined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.” 

At Global Entry kiosks, members present either a machine-readable passport or a U.S. permanent resident card, scan their fingerprints, and complete a customs declaration. Following this, the kiosk prints a transaction receipt and then directs the traveler to baggage claim or the exit. 

The goal is to speed up the customs process for travelers, however, members can still be further examined when entering the United States. 

Not all citizens are eligible to apply for Global Entry. U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, citizens of Argentina, India, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Mexican nationals are eligible. In addition, Canadian citizens and residents are eligible for Global Entry benefits through NEXUS membership. 

There is no minimum age requirement for Global Entry. However, if you are under the age of 18, you must have a parent or guardian’s consent to participate. 

What is TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck expedites traveler screening through TSA security checkpoints when departing from the United States.

Global entry members, U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents enrolled in NEXUS or SENTRI, and Canadian NEXUS members are eligible to participate in TSA PreCheck. 

TSA PreCheck is available when you depart from a U.S. airport to another country, and for domestic, connecting flights after you return to the United States.

Flights that are eligible for TSA PreCheck will print a TSA Pre✓® indicator directly on your boarding pass. In addition, this access is embedded into the barcode of your boarding pass. Once the barcode is scanned, you will be referred to the TSA PreCheck lane. 

Here are 7 differences between Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. 

The memberships have different costs.

TSA PreCheck costs $85 for a five-year membership and Global Entry costs $100 for a five-year membership (as of 2019).

Global Entry is for entering the U.S. and TSA PreCheck is for departing the U.S.

One thing to remember is that Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are used at different times during travel.

Global Entry expedites the customs process for U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, citizens of Argentina, India, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Panama, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Mexican nationals, and Canadian residents who are NEXUS members when entering the U.S.

TSA PreCheck expedites the traveler screening process for Global entry members, U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents enrolled in NEXUS or SENTRI, and Canadian NEXUS members who are departing from the U.S. 

Global Entry & TSA PreCheck benefit access locations differ. 

Depending on where you fly from, you might want to check where you can access these benefits.

Check out Global Entry kiosk locations here and TSA PreCheck locations here.  TSA PreCheck is available at over 200 U.S. airports and Global Entry is accessible at 75 U.S. airports.

You have to apply for Global Entry & TSA PreCheck membership on different sites.

You can apply for Global Entry through the Trusted Traveler Program. To apply for TSA PreCheck, you can apply for membership and renewals directly on the website. 

Global Entry offers membership cards, while TSA PreCheck does not. 

Global Entry cards are given, while TSA PreCheck is labeled on your boarding pass if your flight is participating in TSA PreCheck. 

With TSA PreCheck, you do not need to remove shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops, or TSA-approved liquids into bins.

When you take away removing these items, it seriously speeds up your time getting through security!

According to the website, in November 2019, 93% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes to go through security. We love those numbers! 

Global Entry allows access to expedited entry benefits in other countries.

Global Entry could help you when you’re entering other countries after leaving the U.S.

It’s best to research this before you go away, consider checking the official website of the Department of Homeland Security of the United States. 

Aside from the obvious similarities of expedited screening processes: 

Both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck require background checks and in-person appointments.  

Travelers are pre-approved for Global Entry. Applicants undergo a rigorous background check and an in-person interview before they are accepted and enrolled.

With TSA PreCheck, you submit an online application in about five minutes, and that is then followed by an in-person appointment with a background check and fingerprinting. 

You can receive possible discounts on TSA PreCheck fees and Global Entry fees. 

TSA does not offer any assistance with application fee costs, however, several credit card companies and loyalty programs do. The same goes for Global Entry.

TSA lists the following credit cards and loyalty programs that “cover the TSA PreCheck application fee as a member benefit, provide a statement credit towards the application fee, or allow members to use rewards points to pay for the TSA PreCheck application fee.” Many of these will assist with Global Entry rewards too. 

The best credit cards for both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, according to The Points Guy include Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, United Explorer Card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, The Platinum Card from American Express, and the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard. 

Now that you’ve learned all there is to know about TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, which will you sign up for? Did we miss any major differences? Leave us a comment below! 

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