Learning how to apply for TSA Precheck and Global Entry provides you an easy and affordable option to avoid long security and customs lines at the airport, by affording you access to the expedited, members-only Global Entry and TSA Precheck lanes.
Global Entry is a program created by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that for a one-time $100 fee, provides expedited United States customs and security clearance to pre-approved travelers. If you frequently travel internationally, the Global Entry program can save you a significant amount time in line at the airport. TSA Precheck is a program run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that for a one-time $85 fee, provides expedited security screening in the United States for pre-approved travelers – an excellent program for frequent domestic travelers.
How to Apply for TSA Precheck and Global Entry
Initial eligibility for both programs requires you hold a current US passport, or a permanent resident card for the United States, and haven’t had any customs or immigration violations on your record. You apply online, and will need to have personal details such as your employment history and passport details ready, including a list of every country you have visited in the last five years.
How Long Does it Take?
The application usually takes about an hour to complete if you are prepared, and on average, results are returned a few days after submitting your application. If successful, you will get an email confirming your eligibility, and will be asked to schedule a security interview at an airport of your choosing.
The interview takes around 15 minutes, but make sure you allow extra time as you will have to also go through security after completion. Required documents include: two types of photo identification, including your passport, and a print out of your approval email. During the interview you will be fingerprinted and photographed, and if everything goes well, you will receive a physical card in the mail a few weeks later.
How Do I Use the Pass?
Oddly enough, the card is actually not relevant when you fly. What you need to do is make a note of your “Known Traveler” number listed on the card. This will need to be inputted into any traveler profiles you have with airlines. Then, when you book a flight, the number will appear on your boarding pass and you will be able to speed through the TSA Precheck or Global Entry lanes.
Once you have your number and you’ve booked your flight all you need to do is look out for Global Entry kiosks and TSA Precheck at the airport.
Where Can I Use It?
Global Entry and TSA Precheck are currently only for US citizens, and only operate at US airports. However there are other types of immigration services in various countries around the world that are available to US citizens, too.
Smartgate – Australia and New Zealand
This is for US citizens who are 16 and older when traveling to Australia, and over the age of 12 when traveling to New Zealand. The system is completely free and you don’t even need to register in advance, just look out for the Smartgate signs and use the automated portals for speedy access.
Smart Gate – Dubai
All US citizens are entitled to use Smart Gate, an automated entryway that bypasses long immigration queues. The service is free but you will need to register at an airport immigration office in advance to use it.
EasyPASS – Germany
US citizens over the age of 18, can use the Easypass in many of Germany’s airports. Kiosks are currently available at Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, and Munich airports. The application is free but you will need to apply at a German Federal Police Center before traveling.
Viajero Confiable Mexico – Mexico
US citizens who have already registered and been approved as a Global Entry member can apply to use the Viajero Confiable Mexico in Mexico. Much like Global Entry, you need to apply online and then schedule a face-to-face interview to be accepted. The fee of $80 for the application is a one-off fee and the pass lasts for five years.
Privium – The Netherlands
US Global Entry members can apply for Privium in the Netherlands, a speedy border and security passageway through one of Europe’s busiest airports, Amsterdam Schiphol. You can apply online, or in person at the airport, and the application costs $130/year for the basic plan or $220/year for the plus plan, which includes free wifi and business-class check in among other benefits.
Smart Entry Service – South Korea
US citizens over the age of 17 with Global Entry privileges can apply for the Smart Entry Service in South Korea. The application can be found on the Global Entry website, though if approved, you’re required to visit an enrollment center in South Korea within 6 months, and pay a one-time $100 fee to complete the membership.
Registered Traveler – United Kingdom
To apply for the UK’s Registered Traveler you have to be over the age of 18, a US citizen, and have visited the UK over four times in the past year, or have a visa for the country. Nine British airports accommodate the Registered Traveler line, as do the Eurostar terminals in Brussels, Paris and Lille. The application can be made online and costs $100.
The Benefits of TSA Precheck and Global Entry
Now that you know how to apply for TSA Precheck and Global Entry, you have the tools at your disposal to forever avoid long lines at airport security and customs, giving you more time to enjoy your travels, and less time spent milling around in lines.