Global Entry vs TSA Precheck

Wondering about the difference between Global Entry vs TSA Precheck? As a member of both programs, I will help you understand the difference and benefits.

Read on below to learn about the cost of membership and wether or not you should enroll in these traveler programs.

Global Entry vs TSA Precheck

The main Global Entry vs TSA Precheck difference is that TSA Precheck deals with departing flights while Global Entry deals with arriving international flights.

While TSA Precheck gives you expedited security screenings for flights departing from the United States, Global Entry gives you expedited customs screenings for international flights arriving into the United States. Consequently, both programs drastically reduce your wait time at airports.

Here is a table detailing the difference between Global Entry and TSA Precheck.

TSA Precheck Global Entry
Benefit Expedited airport security screening Expedited US customs screening
Cost $85 (every 5 years) $100 (every 5 years)
Issuer Transportation Security Administration U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Passport Required? No Yes
ID Card Given? No Yes

As you can see, the cost of a five year membership for TSA Precheck is $85 while the cost of a five year membership for Global Entry is $100.

Although you do not need a passport for TSA Precheck, you must have a passport to be eligible for Global Entry. Likewise, every Global Entry member gets a photo ID card after acceptance into the program; however, TSA Precheck members don’t get a card.

Does Global Entry Include TSA Precheck?

Yes, Global Entry includes TSA Precheck. In other words, when you are accepted into the Global Entry program, you are also accepted into the TSA Precheck program.

Therefore, for just $15 more than the price of TSA Precheck alone, you can get memberships for both travel programs.

TSA Precheck Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of TSA Precheck is expedited airport security screening. As a result, you don’t need to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belt, and light jacket.

According to the TSA Precheck website, 93% of TSA Precheck members waited less than 5 minutes in airport security lines. That’s because TSA Precheck members have their own line at most airports. Consequently, non-members must go through the traditional security screening process.

In order to get TSA Precheck printed on your boarding pass, you must provide your known traveler number at the time of booking your airline ticket. You will get your known traveler number upon TSA Precheck approval.

Then when it comes time to fly, as long as your have the Precheck designation on you boarding pass, you can enjoy expedited security screening at the airport.

Global Entry Benefits

The primary reason to sign up for Global Entry is to clear US customs in a matter of minutes. Clearing US customs can take hours otherwise.

Normally, an officer from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must interview each and every person flying into the United States from a foreign country. On a typical day, the CBP screens over 1 million international travelers.

However, this screening process is expedited with Global Entry. Instead of waiting in this potentially long line to interview with a CBP officer, you can simply scan your passport at a kiosk upon arrival. After answering a few questions and scanning your fingerprints, the kiosk will take your picture and print a receipt.

This process takes at most a couple of minutes. After exiting the Global Entry area, you can proceed to baggage claim and exit the airport.

While most major US airpots support Global Entry, there are even some expedited entry benefits for members in other countries. Refer to the US Customer and Border Protection website for a full list of airports with Global Entry kiosks.

Should You Get Global Entry or TSA Precheck?

If you frequently travel internationally, you will surely benefit from a Global Entry membership. However, for those of you who strictly travel domestically, TSA Precheck is best for you. Finally, if you rarely travel at all, then you probably don’t need a membership to either program.

Conversely, if you travel domestically a couple times a year, TSA Precheck works out to be just $17 per year, so it might be worth it for you.

Bottom line: frequent travelers should definitely apply for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

How to Apply for TSA Precheck and Global Entry

If you would like to apply for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, you can sign up on the Trusted Traveler Programs website:

I like things that help make my travels smoother. It’s for that reason that I have written about travel tech that makes traveling easier.

Let me know if you have any questions about Global Entry or TSA Precheck in the comments below.

Meet Tony

After years of backpacking the world solo, Tony is an expert when it comes to budget travel. Discover why Tony quit his job to travel on the cheap, and follow him on YouTube for all the latest.

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