TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry vs CLEAR: All You Need To Know

TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry vs CLEAR: All You Need To Know

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Experienced travelers have a secret weapon for how they quickly navigate airport security lines. What is their secret weapon? They will look at utilizing TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry vs CLEAR, all of which are programs designed to expedite the screening process. How these programs work and the way they work are different.

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TSA PreCheck®:What is it?

TSA PreCheck® is part of the trusted traveler program (TTP) and is set up for travelers to experience an expedited screening process at U.S based airports.

Travelers who have TSA PreCheck® will not be required to remove shoes, belts, electronics, 3-1-1 compliant bag, or outerwear. Travelers will experience a less intrusive screening process.

Where Can I Use TSA PreCheck®?

TSA PreCheck® can only be used when flying out of an airport in the United States because there are, unfortunately, no international airport locations. Currently, there are more than 200 airports and 83 airlines in the United States that participate in TSA PreCheck®.

Who Qualifies for TSA PreCheck®?

In general, TSA PreCheck® is available to U.S. Citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents. Members of Global Entry are also granted TSA PreCheck®, as well as members of the Armed Forces, and passengers 12 and younger who are traveling with an eligible passenger.

The Complete List:

  • U.S Citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents
  • Members of Global Entry.
  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are members of SENTRI (TTP).
  • U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and Canadian citizens who are members of NEXUS (TTP).
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces including those serving in the National Guard and reserves as well as government employees from select agencies.
  • Cadets and midshipmen of the U.S. Military Academy, Naval Academy, Coast Guard Academy, Air Force Academy and Merchant Marine Academy.
  • Passengers 12 and younger traveling with an eligible passenger.

How Do You Sign Up For TSA PreCheck®?

The application for TSA PreCheck® can be initiated online by going to tsa.gov or an appointment can be made at a TSA PreCheck® enrollment center to complete the entire process. The process will have to be completed at one of the TSA PreCheck® enrollment locations because a 10-minute in-person interview is required, as well as fingerprinting for a background check.

How Much Does TSA PreCheck® Cost?

Of all 3 programs, TSA PreCheck® is the cheapest at an $85 enrollment fee that is good for 5 years! While it is the cheapest of these three programs, it also is limited to airports in the United States. For someone traveling internationally 2+ times a year, TSA PreCheck® would not be the optimal choice.

To renew your membership with TSA PreCheck®, the cost varies slightly depending on how you choose to renew. By renewing online, the cost drops to $70; however, an in-person renewal remains $85. Regardless, the renewal will be good for the next 5 years.

Do Credit Cards Reimburse TSA PreCheck® Fees?

There are some credit cards that will cover the $85 application fee for TSA PreCheck® as a member benefit. For a list of credit cards that reimburse this fee, click here. For more information, contact your credit card company.

Do Children Need To Sign Up For TSA PreCheck®?

Depends. The decision to sign up a child for TSA PreCheck® is largely influenced by age and with whom the child will be flying. Children 17 or under may use the expedited security lanes if flying on the same itinerary as their TSA PreCheck®-approved parents or guardians.

Nitty Gritty Rules

Children 12 and under: If you have a child who is under 12, they typically do not need to apply for TSA PreCheck®. They are allowed access to expedited screening if they travel with a TSA PreCheck®-approved parent and/or guardian.

Children 13-17: Teenagers are also not required to obtain TSA PreCheck®; however, there may be occasions when they are pulled for random screenings. In these cases, they will have to wait in the airport security line and will not be allowed access to the TSA PreCheck® line. When traveling alone, children 17 and under are required to have their own TSA PreCheck® approval to use the designated TSA PreCheck® expedited screening lanes.

Global Entry: What is it?

Global Entry is also a trusted traveler partner, as well as a U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program. This program is designed for travelers to experience an expedited screening process when entering the U.S from international travel.

Travelers who have Global Entry will have reduced wait times upon re-entry to the U.S, minimal paperwork, and additional access to TSA PreCheck®!

Where Can I Use Global Entry?

Global Entry can be used when returning to the United States, allowing passengers to experience an expedited experience through customs. Currently, there are 53 U.S airports that participate in Global Entry. As an added bonus, passengers with Global Entry will also be granted access to TSA PreCheck®.

Who Qualifies For Global Entry?

In general, Global Entry is available to U.S. Citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and citizens of certain countries.

What Countries?

  • Argentina 
  • Brazil
  • Bahrain
  • India
  • Colombia
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • The Netherlands
  • Panama
  • Singapore
  • South Korea 
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan 
  • Mexican Nationals

How Do You Sign Up For Global Entry?

The application process for Global Entry is a little more time-consuming than if applying for just TSA PreCheck.

To begin the process, head to ttp.dhs.gov and click on “Get Started” for Global Entry. At this point, either log into your Trusted Traveler Program account or set up an account if a first-time visitor. After filling out the questions on the application, you will be required to complete an in-person interview or participate in a new process called “Enrollment on Arrival.”

In-Person Interview: The in-person interview can be difficult for some people to make. Because interview spots quickly fill up and spots are limited, it can make scheduling difficult. Some people also do not live near an enrollment center where in-person interviews occur.

Enrollment on Arrival: To accommodate for these difficulties, a new process was set up called “Enrollment on Arrival.” If a person has conditional approval of their Global Entry application, he/she can complete the interview process at immigration upon entry to the U.S.

How Much Does Global Entry Cost?

Global Entry has a $100 application fee and is good for 5 years. While it does have a slightly higher price tag than TSA PreCheck®, Global Entry would be a better choice if you frequently travel overseas.

Do Credit Cards Reimburse Global Entry?

Like TSA PreCheck®, there are some credit cards that will cover the $100 application fee for Global Entry as a member benefit. For a list of credit cards that reimburse this fee, click here. For more information, contact your credit card company.

Do Children Need To Sign Up For Global Entry?

Unlike TSA PreCheck®, all members of the family are required to have Global Entry in order to enjoy its perks. This includes infants. 

CLEAR: What is it?

Clear is a private service that allows you to quickly get through the initial checkpoint where the TSA agent checks your boarding pass and photo identification. CLEAR does this using biometrics, such as fingerprinting and/or iris scanning.

At this point, a TSA agent will either direct you to the TSA PreCheck® line or physical screening line, depending on if you also are enrolled in TSA PreCheck®.

CLEAR + TSA PreCheck®

The last time we flew, we were approached about enrolling in CLEAR. Josh has been wanting to apply for Global Entry, so this gave me the perfect excuse to do my homework on all of these programs. The more research that I did, the more confused I became… until it clicked!

I kept reading about how CLEAR and TSA PreCheck® work together. I kept asking myself: how do they go together? CLEAR, honestly, just seemed silly to me, until I watched a youtube video that just made sense.

CLEAR gets you through the initial check point where the TSA agent typically checks a photo ID and boarding information. TSA PreCheck expedites the actual screening process so you don’t have to remove clothing or material from luggage. With both programs, time spent waiting in line is maximally reduced.

Where Can I Use CLEAR?

CLEAR can be used at over 50 airports, stadiums, and arenas in the U.S. Unlike TSA PreCheck®, CLEAR can be used at some of the major stadiums to expedite screening and for quicker entry.

Who Qualifies for CLEAR?

CLEAR is available to U.S. citizens and U.S. legal permanent residents who are 18 and older with a valid government-issued photo ID.

How Do You Sign Up For CLEAR?

To sign up for CLEAR, you can start and complete the process at one of the designated CLEAR pods at a participating airport. As an alternative, you can initiate the process online by going here, but will have to complete the process in person at a participating CLEAR airport.

How Much Does CLEAR Cost?

Clear is the priciest program, having an annual fee of $189. For Delta SkyMiles Members (Join – it’s free!), enjoy a $70 discount and get CLEAR for an annual fee of $119. You can also add up to 3 adult family members for an additional $50 each per year. 

While CLEAR is more expensive, keep in mind that it is starting to be used more at major stadiums and arenas in the U.S. If you are a big concert goer, this could be helpful and may be a tempting choice.

Do Credit Cards Reimburse CLEAR?

There are some ways to complimentary or discounted rates on a CLEAR membership. There are 3 credit cards currently that will provide a credit statement for a CLEAR membership:

  • The Platinum Card® – American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card® – American Express
  • Centurion Card®- American Express

For a discounted rate on CLEAR, there are a few credit cards that will offer this perk. Delta has built a strong partnership with CLEAR, so look into some Delta Air Lines- Branded Credit Cards. If you do not have one of these credit cards, but would still like a discounted rate, sign up to be a Delta SkyMiles Member. The program is free to join and will give you a $70 discount on CLEAR.

Do Children Need To Sign Up For CLEAR?

Unfortunately, CLEAR is not available for children under 18. To qualify, one must be 18 or older. While children under 18 don’t need a membership, they are allowed to go through the CLEAR lane when accompanied by an adult with a CLEAR membership.

TSA PreCheckGlobal EntryCLEAR
Where does it apply?Flying out of the U.S; >200 participating airports in the U.SUpon entry into the U.S; 53 participating U.S airports
(expedites customs)
Flying out of the U.S, Some Stadiums/ Arenas
> 50 airports in the U.S.
Who Qualifies?U.S citizens and U.S lawful permanent residentsU.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and citizens of the certain countries U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents over the age of 18
How Do You Sign Up?Initiate online at: tsa.gov/precheck
Must be completed in person at a TSA PreCheck enrollment center
Initiate online at: ttp.dhs.gov
Must be completed an in-person interview or Enrollment on Arrival
Can initiate online: enroll.clearme.com
Complete at a participating CLEAR airport.
What Is The Cost?$85$100
(includes TSA PreCheck)
$189
($119 for delta SkyMiles member)
Cost To Renew$85 (in-person) or
$70 (online)
$100
(includes TSA PreCheck)
$189
($119 for delta SkyMiles member)
How Long Does It Last?5 years5 years1 year
Separate Membership Required For Children?NoYesN/A
BenefitsExpedited screening process: No need to remove shoes, belt, electronics, or liquidsReduced wait times with self-service kiosks.
No paperwork to be filled out by passengers upon entry.
Includes TSA PreCheck®
No waiting at the initial checkpoint. Can be used at sports arenas and stadiums

To Summarize, TSA PreCheck and CLEAR are used when flying out of a U.S airport, while Global Entry is used to expedite return to the U.S. CLEAR can be used at locations other than airports; however, does not expedite the physical screening process without TSA PreCheck.

To decide on which program is best for you and your family, think about the frequency of your travel and the location of your trips. Whatever you decide, plan ahead in the application process as there is often a delay in processing, especially with the increase in travel following COVID-19.

TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry vs CLEAR FAQ’s

How long does a TSA PreCheck® interview take?

The in-person interview typically takes 10 minutes and includes fingerprinting for a background check.

How much does Global Entry cost?

Global Entry has a $100 application fee and is good for 5 years. While it does have a slightly higher price tag than TSA PreCheck®, Global Entry would be a better choice if you frequently travel overseas.

Does CLEAR include TSA PreCheck®?

No, CLEAR does not include TSA PreCheck®. Many people are members of both programs as they work very well together to expedite the screening process.

How much does TSA PreCheck® cost?

TSA PreCheck® has an $85 enrollment fee that is good for 5 years! To renew your membership with TSA PreCheck®, the cost varies slightly depending on how you choose to renew. By renewing online, the cost drops to $70; however, an in-person renewal remains $85

Sara & Josh

While Sara and Josh may be new to the travel blogging world, that doesn't mean they lack knowledge or experience in booking bougie vacations. With a talent for finding travel deals, Sara and Josh are here to teach YOU some of their tricks to traveling "bougie on a budget." Learn more about their story and please reach out with any questions or comments via e-mail at: [email protected].

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