Both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are government programs that offer faster security clearance to low-risk, domestic and international travelers. TSA PreCheck offers expedited Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lines at more than 200 United States airports while Global Entry is tailored for international travelers who want expedited US customs screening plus TSA PreCheck benefits.
When to Use Global Entry
Global Entry is best for people who travel outside of the US and want expedited US customs screening when returning to the US. Additionally, this program also includes all TSA PreCheck benefits. Use this government program if you travel internationally and want to cut the time you spend at US customs.
When to Use TSA PreCheck
TSA PreCheck is a solid option for travel within the US. It allows low-risk travelers to save time in TSA airport security lines because it doesn’t require you to remove typical items, such as accessories, articles of clothing, or laptops. Use this government program if you frequently travel by air in the US.
Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck at a Glance
$100 every five years
$85 every five years
Expedited U.S. customs screening and TSA PreCheck
Faster U.S. airport security lines
U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and select foreign nationals
U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents
Entry into the U.S. from international destinations
Departures from U.S. airports
How We Evaluated TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry
TSA PreCheck and Global Entry both offer faster security clearance at airports around the US. We took into account the government programs’ application fee, benefits, eligibility requirements, and renewal process in our evaluation. The type of travel you do—domestic or international—likely determines which program is best for you.
In our evaluation of these two programs, we considered:
- Application fee: How much it costs to apply for membership. Global Entry charges $100 once every five years; TSA PreCheck charges $85 once every five years. However, you’ll need to renew your membership online manually.
- Benefits: The benefits you’ll receive upon approval. Both programs offer expedited TSA security lines at more than 200 US airports. However, Global Entry also provides expedited US customs screening when entering the US.
- Eligibility requirements: Who is eligible to apply for each program. Global Entry is available to US citizens, US lawful permanent residents, and select foreign nationals while TSA PreCheck is available to US citizens and US lawful permanent residents.
- Renewal process: How to renew your membership and how far in advance you can do it. Both programs typically let you renew your membership online. But Global Entry enables you to complete the process up to one year in advance while TSA PreCheck only lets you renew your membership up to six months before your expiration date.
- Who it’s best for: Which types of travelers can benefit from a particular government program. Consider if you typically travel domestically or internationally before choosing which program is right for you.
If you travel outside of the US, we recommend applying for Global Entry because it includes faster US customs screening in addition to all of TSA PreCheck’s benefits. However, if you only travel within the US, TSA PreCheck is the best program for you as it offers faster TSA security lines at more than 200 US airports through 73 participating airlines.
Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck Cost
Both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck have a nonrefundable application fee. However, Global Entry requires a $100 application fee while TSA PreCheck requires an $85 application fee―$100 for foreign residents. If you’re approved, both program memberships last for five years. You’ll be required to pay the same fee as the original application fee to renew your membership for either program.
Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck Membership Benefits
When comparing Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck, both expedited security programs help travelers cut the time they spend in long airport security lines. TSA PreCheck gives domestic, low-risk travelers who pass a background check access to faster airport security lines at more than 200 US airports. Global Entry, on the other hand, provides expedited US customs screening for international travelers entering the US in addition to all TSA PreCheck benefits.
Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck Requirements
TSA PreCheck and Global Entry have similar eligibility requirements. TSA PreCheck is available to US citizens and US lawful permanent residents while Global Entry is available to US citizens, US lawful permanent residents, and select foreign nationals. Both programs, however, require an in-person interview where you’ll need to provide your fingerprints, identification, and Social Security number.
Credit Cards That Reimburse Application Fees
Some personal and small business credit card issuers offer reimbursements for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees every four or four and a half years. If you want to receive Global Entry or TSA PreCheck benefits for free, be sure to choose a personal or business travel credit card that offers this additional feature.
Here are personal and business credit cards that reimburse application fees:
Personal Credit Cards That Reimburse Application Fees
Personal Credit Card
Fixed-rate miles with no limit
Unbeatable travel perks, such as airport lounge access
Big introductory reward
Business Credit Cards That Reimburse Application Fees
Business Credit Card
Premium travel perks
Flying Southwest Airlines
2x miles on every purchase
Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck: How to Apply
You can apply for Global Entry and TSA Precheck through the Trusted Traveler Programs website. Both applications are simple and quick. However, you’ll be required to schedule an in-person interview for either of the two government programs, which may make the process longer.
Global Entry Application
To apply for Global Entry, you’ll be required to create a Trust Traveler Programs account. Once you create an account, log in and complete the online application. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will review your application. If your application is conditionally approved, you’ll be asked to schedule an in-person interview where you’ll bring your valid passport and one other form of identification.
Global Entry Renewal
Global Entry memberships are valid for five years. You can renew Global Entry up one year in advance through the Trusted Traveler Program website, which costs $100. Your Global Entry membership expiration date can be found on your Global Entry card. Additionally, members will also receive an email that contains information about their membership expiration date.
TSA PreCheck Application
To apply for TSA PreCheck, you’ll be required to submit an online application, including information like citizenship, your home address, and date of birth. Additionally, you’ll need to schedule an in-person interview where you’ll bring a valid photo ID, proof of citizenship, form of payment, and immigration documentation (if applicable). You’ll receive a decision within two to three weeks of your in-person interview. You can check your application status online.
TSA PreCheck Renewal
TSA PreCheck expires after five years. You can begin the TSA PreCheck renewal process up to six months before your membership’s expiration date, which costs $85. You can typically renew TSA PreCheck online, but some members may also need to provide updated information and fingerprints at an in-person interview.
Other Programs for Travelers
In addition to Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, frequent travelers also have the option to choose from three other programs— NEXUS, Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI), and CLEAR. The type of travel you do and the level of benefits you want to receive typically determines if an alternative program is right for you.
Application Fee (Every Five Years)
Faster clearance when entering the U.S. from Canada
Faster security when entering the U.S. from Canada and Mexico
Faster identity screening to skip the general security line
NEXUS is a US CBP program that’s tailored to travel between the US and Canada. It offers faster security clearance when entering the US from Canada by land, air, or sea. This program requires you to schedule an in-person interview and costs $50 to apply. Memberships are valid for five years, and you can apply on the Trusted Traveler Programs’ website.
SENTRI is best for people who often travel from Canada or Mexico into the US by air or land. This program offers a faster security process with the US CBP when travelers are entering the US from Canada or Mexico. Memberships are valid for five years, and it costs $122.25 to apply. You can apply on the Trusted Traveler Programs’ website.
CLEAR is designed to help frequent travelers spend less time waiting in the general TSA airport security lines. Instead of waiting in line, CLEAR verifies your identity through fingerprints and eye scans and allows low-risk travelers to skip the TSA line. Once the system verifies your identity, a CLEAR representative will move you to the front of the general TSA airport security line. You can enroll on CLEAR’s website for $179 per year.
CLEAR doesn’t offer fewer security check requirements, like not removing your shoes or leaving your laptop in your bag, as TSA PreCheck offers. It lets you move to the front of the general security line.
Pros & Cons of Global Entry
Global Entry is a solid option for international travelers who want expedited US customs screening and TSA PreCheck benefits for five years. However, there are fewer enrollment centers compared to TSA PreCheck, which may make it more difficult to schedule an in-person interview.
Pros of Global Entry
The positives of the Global Entry are:
- Expedited clearance when entering the US: Global Entry members will receive faster US CBP clearance when entering the US. TSA PreCheck, on the other hand, does not offer this benefit.
- Includes TSA PreCheck benefits: If you’re approved for Global Entry, you’ll also receive TSA PreCheck benefits. This means you’ll also be able to access faster airport security lines at more than 200 US airports.
- Your membership lasts five years: Global Entry memberships are valid for five years, and you can renew your membership up to one year in advance for $100.
Cons of Global Entry
The drawbacks of Global Entry are:
- Nonrefundable application fee: Both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck’s application fees are nonrefundable. This means you can’t get a refund even if the programs deny your application.
- Fewer enrollment centers: Global Entry has fewer enrollment centers when compared to TSA PreCheck. Global Entry enrollment centers are mostly at major airports and US CPB offices. TSA PreCheck, on the other hand, offers more than 400 TSA PreCheck enrollment locations.
- Children must have their own memberships: Children ages 12 and younger must have their own membership to pass through the expedited US customs screening. However, they can be with an adult and have no TSA PreCheck membership to access the faster TSA airport security lines.
Pros & Cons of TSA PreCheck
TSA PreCheck offers domestic travelers benefits at more than 200 US airports for five years. You’ll have access to designated faster airport security lines and fewer security check requirements—you won’t be required to remove items like accessories or laptops. However, TSA PreCheck offers fewer benefits for international travelers and has a nonrefundable application fee, even if your application is denied.
Pros of TSA PreCheck
The positives of TSA PreCheck are:
- Memberships are valid for five years: Your TSA PreCheck membership is valid for five years. You can renew your membership up to six months in advance of your Known Traveler Number (KTN) expiration date. TSA PreCheck renewal costs $85.
- Benefits at more than 200 US airports: You’ll have access to TSA PreCheck benefits at more than 200 airports across the US. This includes 15 of the busiest airports in the US, such as Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
- Faster security lines: TSA PreCheck members will be able to access faster TSA airport security lines on the days of their flights. What’s more, you won’t be required to take off your shoes or remove your laptop from your bag.
Cons of TSA PreCheck
The negatives of TSA PreCheck are:
- Offers fewer benefits for international travelers: TSA PreCheck doesn’t give travelers access to faster security clearance when returning to the US from a foreign location. You will still need to wait in the general US CBP. If you travel outside of the US often, choose Global Entry.
- Application fee is nonrefundable: Your $85 application fee is nonrefundable. This means if your application is denied, you won’t be able to get your money back. If you want to receive TSA PreCheck for free, choose a personal credit card that offers application fee reimbursements.
- Must schedule an in-person interview: Each applicant must schedule an in-person interview at a nearby enrollment center. You’ll be required to provide two forms of identification, such as your valid driver’s license and passport and a credit card to pay for the application fee.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry
We covered a lot of information on Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck. Some questions are asked more often than others, and we address those here.
What Is the Difference Between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?
TSA PreCheck offers travelers access to faster security lines for domestic flights at more than 200 US airports. Global Entry offers TSA PreCheck benefits plus expedited US customs screening for international travelers returning to the US TSA PreCheck costs $85, and Global Entry costs $100. Both memberships are valid for five years.
Is TSA PreCheck included in Global Entry?
Through Global Entry, members will also receive TSA PreCheck benefits—faster airport security lines and fewer security check requirements. Global Entry costs $100 for five years, which is only $15 more—$3 per year—than TSA PreCheck. If you travel internationally, choose Global Entry to receive the maximum benefits.
Which is better TSA PreCheck or Global Entry?
The type of travel you do typically determines if TSA PreCheck or Global Entry is better for you. TSA PreCheck is tailored to people who travel domestically as it’s only available at US airports. Global Entry is best for international travelers because it offers expedited US customs screening when entering the US
When comparing TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry, both offer faster security screenings for low-risk travelers. Choose TSA PreCheck if you frequently travel within the US, but Global Entry if you typically travel outside of the US Remember, Global Entry also includes TSA PreCheck benefits and only costs $15 more—$3 per year—to apply.