TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or CLEAR- Which Is Better?- Part 2: Global Entry

In another post, we introduced you to TSA PreCheck, which only applies to U.S. travel (and in some cases crossing the Canadian border). If you travel internationally from the United States, we recommend that you invest in Global Entry so that you can speed through Customs and Border Control (CBP) upon your return to the states by using one of the kiosks instead of standing in long processing lines.

Global Entry membership entitles you to use the TSA PreCheck, but just having PreCheck does not entitle you to Global Entry. Global Entry may provide you with an expedited screening process at other international airports, and you don’t have to wait through long lines after a long trip. Unfortunately, if the people you travel with do not have Global Entry, they will have to follow the normal screening process. Although it costs $100 for five years, that $20 per year is well worth it if you can qualify. Your credit card company or other loyalty programs may even cover the cost. Remember, if you get Global Entry you do not need to pay for TSA PreCheck.

The Global Entry screening process is more rigorous than TSA PreCheck, as we will explain below. There is no age limit to apply, but if you are under 18, you must get permission from a parent or legal guardian.

Who is eligible? 

U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and citizens of the following countries are eligible for Global Entry membership.

If you are not from the U.S., click here for more information. U.S. Citizens enrolled in Global Entry may use the Smartgate system when entering Australia without registration. U.S. Citizens may apply for the Dutch FLUX program, the Korean SES program, Panama’s Global Pass or the Mexican Viajero Confiable program for expedited entry into those countries. Additional fees and enrollment interviews will apply.

How do I apply? First, you have to Trusted Traveler Program account and complete the application. You must pay a non-refundable $100 application fee. After the CPB conditionally approves you, you will need to go to a Global Entry Enrollment Center for your interview, which you must schedule in advance.

I’ve been arrested in the past, will that pose a problem?  It may be an issue. CPB conducts a thorough background search that may include other jurisdictions. According to CPB, the following may disqualify you if you:

  • Provide false or incomplete information on the application;
  • Have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges, including outstanding warrants;
  • Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
  • Are subjects of an investigation by any federal, state or local law enforcement agency;
  • Are inadmissible to the U.S. under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation; or if they
  • Cannot satisfy CBP of their low-risk status or meet other program requirements.

How do I use it? You simply scan your passport or machine-readable permanent resident card, place your fingerprints on a kiosk, and bypass everyone waiting in long lines.

Remeber, you will no longer have to fill out the customs forms because you will complete your customs declaration form online at the kiosk. You must declare all agricultural products that you bring into the U.S. Failure to declare agricultural products can result in up to $10,000 in fines and penalties.

If your kiosk receipt has an “O” printed on it, you have declared something. You must collect your luggage and proceed to the exit point to meet with an officer to discuss the declaration. If your kiosk receipt has an “X” printed on it, you must report to a CBP officer at the nearest staffed CBP passport control booth. The “X” can indicate that you have been selected for random inspection; your fingerprints may not have matched, or other issues.You must have the “X” cleared before proceeding to the exit control point. As an FYI, you will receive a Global Entry card when you get accepted but you use your passport or permanent resident card at the kiosks. The Global Entry card is only required for expedited entry at the SENTRI and NEXUS lanes coming into the United States.

If you’re still not sure which program works for you, check here for a trusted traveler comparison chart. If you’re still not convinced, check out this short video from CPB.

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