With more people traveling again than ever, lines are getting longer and longer. But there are some things you can get to make traveling through the airport more efficient and stress-free: global entry, TSA pre check and CLEAR. Many people usually choose to have one or the other, but this article explains what each does and why they may need them all.
What Is TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck is a Trusted Traveler program allowing fliers to undergo an expedited security screening at select airports. With TSA PreCheck, travelers, on average, get through security in five minutes or less. You do not have to remove belts, shoes, laptops, or light jackets when going through security. You also get a dedicated TSA PreCheck lane. The program is offered at more than 200 airports and 81 airlines nationwide.
To get TSA PreCheck, you need to submit an online application and schedule an appointment at any of the 380+ enrollment centers. The application fee costs $85 and lasts for 5 years, but some credit cards will reimburse you for this fee. At your appointment, you will go through a 10-minute interview, which includes fingerprinting and a background check. Once approved, you can add your Known Traveler Number to your airline, so you then get the TSA PreCheck badge on your boarding ticket.
What Is Global Entry?
Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck but also has other major perks. It is another program as part of the Trusted Traveler Network. Global Entry allows you to speed through customs whenever you reenter the country after traveling abroad. With Global Entry, there are no processing lines, no paperwork, reduced wait times, and it is available at most major international airports.
When you arrive at the airport following your international flight, you simply head to the Global Entry kiosks, show your passport and scan your fingerprint or facial recognition, and complete a customs declaration. The kiosks then issue a receipt, and you hand it to an official before heading to baggage claim. You can get through customs in just a few minutes, compared to hour-long waits for non-Global Entry travelers.
The process for gaining access to the program is similar to TSA PreCheck. However, it includes a more rigorous background check and in-person interview. You must create an account on the Trusted Travelers Program website, complete the application, and pay a $100 application fee. Like TSA PreCheck, some credit cards will reimburse you for this fee.
What Is CLEAR?
CLEAR is a program that uses biometric screening to replace waiting in line for a TSA representative to check your boarding pass and ID. This also expedites the process through TSA once you use the CLEAR kiosks. A CLEAR representative will also walk you through the line. All you have to do is fill out an application and visit a CLEAR enrollment center to complete your biometrics. The program costs $189 per year, which is quite a bit more than TSA PreCheck but absolutely worth the cost.
CLEAR is only available in 50 cities across the US, so it only makes sense if you can use it frequently. Some of the biggest cities include:
- New York
- Salt Lake City
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
Reasons You Need Global entry, TSA Pre Check, and CLEAR
Although it might seem unnecessary to be a member of all three programs (Global entry. TSA pre check, and CLEAR); these programs work very well together. For example, Global Entry is only for reentering the country after international travel, while TSA PreCheck gets you through security quickly and efficiently. CLEAR allows you to use facial recognition to breeze through the first part of security, so you never have to hand over your boarding information to a TSA agent.
As lines get longer and longer, some airports like ATL will have specific lines for those with CLEAR and TSA PreCheck. This allows members of both programs to go through security even faster. When you only have one of the programs, the lines are typically longer. Using one program without the other can add stress and time, so it makes sense to combine them.
When you use each program together, you ensure that your travel goes as easily as possible. And, if you are using credit cards, you can enroll in the programs for free or at a fraction of the retail cost.
No more waiting in long lines or getting to the airport hours in advance. With CLEAR and TSA Precheck, you know you will breeze through security and get to your gate in under 15 minutes after arriving at the airport. After a long international flight, you can breeze through customs with Global Entry to get you back home and get some rest. As travel booms, use these programs to reduce stress and streamline your journey while others have to wait for hours.
Credit Cards That Reimburse Each Program
The following credit cards allow you to use points to enroll or reimburse you for some or all of your application fee: