TSA PreCheck Vs. Clear Vs. Global Entry: What’s the Difference?
Long airport security lines may seem like a thing of the past, but they are coming back as more and more people start to travel again. If you are leaving a major airport during rush hour, queues can be an hour or more. You’ve been in line for a long time and seen other travelers bypass the chaos on the CLEAR or TSA PreCheck lines and wondered, “How can I do this?”
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers a variety of programs that can help speed up the process. Clear is a commercial company that provides a faster identification security process at a limited number of airports. So which one is right for you?
TSA Approved Travel Programs
TSA actually has five Trusted traveler programs: Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, SENTRI, NEXUS, and FAST (for commercial truckers) are all programs that allow pre-approved travelers faster access to security checkpoints at airports or to border control and customs. United States. All applicants are screened through an application process and interview.
TSA pre-verification costs $ 85 and is valid for five years. Apply online, then make an appointment at one of the 380 registration centers. Once scheduled, attend the appointment in person, where you will provide your fingerprints and proof of U.S. citizenship. Pay the $ 85 fee and once approved, your registration is valid for five years. It is important to note that when purchasing airline tickets, you must add your known traveler number to your airline reservation. When you check in for your flight, your boarding pass will indicate that you are TSA PreCheck.
TSA PreCheck will speed you up through the security screening process. Benefits include no need to remove shoes, laptops, your quarter-size plastic bag with fluids, belts or light jackets. Most travelers will go through security in five minutes or less. TSA PreCheck is available at over 200 airports in the United States and on over 60 airlines participating in the program.
Pro tip: Check the benefits of your credit card. American Express Platinum offers a $ 100 credit on TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
the Global entry the registration process is similar to the TSA PreCheck process. The fee is $ 100 and Global Entry is valid for 5 years. You are applying online. You can then make an appointment in a Registration Center – usually at an airport or in border towns. If you are traveling to the United States within the next 6 months, the TSA encourages you to complete your World Entry at a Registration upon arrival (EoA) location. In this case, you will complete your interview at the airport upon arrival, saving you a separate trip for an interview.
Global Entry members can use the Global Entry customs kiosks when returning to the United States after international travel. These are available at over 75 airports and help reduce waiting times. Members also have the option of using E-Gates, which use facial comparison technologies. Another advantage is that you don’t have to fill out customs documents. Global Entry also includes TSA PreCheck.
It took me quite a bit of research to figure out what CLEAR is and what are the benefits if you have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, especially since it’s so expensive: $ 179 per year. (And the cost over five years is $ 895 versus $ 85 for TSA PreCheck.) That said, if you travel frequently and your home airport is a large and busy one, it may be worth it for you. CLEAR allows you to speed up the document verification process by using fingerprint or eye scan technology to verify your identity. You will not have to collect your ID. Currently, it is available at more than 50 airports, stadiums and other venues.
How is CLEAR different from TSA programs? CLEAR allows members to follow the travel document verification process. TSA PreCheck speeds up physical screening of travelers. Global Entry speeds up U.S. customs clearance and border control upon arrival on an international flight. You can use CLEAR alone or pair it with TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. TSA spokesperson Lori Dankers said, “CLEAR is a private company that does business directly with airports. CLEAR should provide you with information about this relationship and its processes, as it is not the responsibility of the TSA and the federal government. Note that travelers registered with CLEAR are not automatically eligible for TSA PreCheck. The traveler must have independently registered with a Federal Trusted Traveler program (such as NEXUS, Global Entry, SENTRI or directly with TSA.) It is important to note that all travelers registered with CLEAR must be checked at the security checkpoint. “
It takes about 5 minutes to to register in CLEAR online, and no appointment is required. Once registered, you can start using it immediately. When you first arrive at the airport after registering, you must go through an in-person process that involves answering a few questions and providing valid photo ID and a method of payment. You will then receive your fingerprints and a photo of your irises will be taken. These are added to your account.
Personally, I don’t think CLEAR is worth the price for me, but an informal poll from a group of frequent travelers like myself seems to be split in two. Those who travel to large airports a lot find it worth it, while the other half feel that TSA PreCheck or Global Entry is sufficient.
Pro tips: If you are a member of the Delta or United Frequent Flyer programs, you can benefit from a CLEAR discount. The American Express Green Card offers an annual credit of $ 100 to CLEAR.
the Clear app is free and offers some features that you can use without paying a membership fee. The Health Pass feature combines your secure identity verification with health screening and records. I’m not sure how this feature would be useful to me, but CLEAR adds COVID-19 vaccine validation and built-in lab results, and I can certainly see how that would be useful as it could serve as a vaccine passport.
NEXUS and SENTRI
If you live near the Canadian border (NEXUS) or the Mexican border (SENTRI includes Mexico and Canada) and you are traveling by air or land across the border, these programs are your best choice. . NEXUS is $ 50 for five years and SENTRI is $ 122.50. The process is similar to TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. You register online, make an appointment and pay the fees. With NEXUS at the Canada-U.S. Border, there are dedicated NEXUS lanes on both sides of the border, making passage much faster. There are also dedicated lanes at the southern border via SENTRI. With NEXUS and SENTRI, because you participate in the United States Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler program, TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are included. Note that when crossing the border by car, if you want to use NEXUS or SENTRI, each person in the vehicle must have NEXUS or SENTRI.
With the resumption of air travel, these programs are all worth reviewing to see which one is best suited for your trip. In my case, it’s NEXUS, as we frequently cross the Canadian border during ski season and fly to domestic and international destinations throughout the year. I will be able to access TSA PreCheck when I travel to the United States and I will use Global Entry when returning from international flights. I can’t wait to use NEXUS to enter Canada. I watched with envy these lucky travelers entering the NEXUS lanes as they passed those of us stuck in the slow lanes at the border. CLEAR is not something I will be using except maybe the app when CLEAR adds vaccine information to travelers.
Pro tip: Before you apply for any of these programs, review your frequent flyer airline programs and your credit card benefits. Many of these travel programs offer discounts on the cost of CLEAR or credit card credits for the purchase of TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or CLEAR. Also check out the Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted traveler page, which contains a questionnaire that you can fill out to see which program would be right for you.