TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry: How to Choose the Right Trusted Traveler Program

Passport and Global Entry cards in a blue handbag.

TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry: Which Program Is Right For You?

Quick answer? When comparing TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry, if you’re not sure which program is right for you, consider your most frequent destinations.

If you fly exclusively domestically, then TSA PreCheck is the best program for you.

If you regularly fly overseas, then you will want Global Entry. Both programs offer similar benefits, so you can’t go wrong with either.

Comparison table for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry trusted traveler programs.

If you’re a frequent business or leisure traveler flying out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, you should consider joining a trusted traveler program. Trusted traveler programs offer a lot of benefits to regular travelers.

These programs are offered through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. The two most common trusted traveler programs are TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.

Here is everything you need to know about trusted traveler programs and the differences between TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry for 2023*.

What Is A Trusted Traveler Program?

Trusted traveler programs were created by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its sub-departments.

They are designed to offer modified screening protocols for pre-approved members. For travelers, this makes it easy to pass through the TSA security check when you are flying.

For the TSA, trusted traveler programs improve the efficiency of screening protocols and help facilitate legitimate travel and trade. Trusted traveler programs are accepted at every major airport in the United States including the Minn-St. Paul Airport in Minnesota.

Trusted traveler programs include TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, as well as NEXUS for the Canadian border, SENTRI for the Mexican border, and FAST for trucking professionals crossing U.S. land borders.

Airport security checkpoint   sign for TSA PreCheck.

What Are The Benefits of TSA PreCheck?

The first most common trusted traveler program is TSA PreCheck. Offered by the TSA, TSA PreCheck is essentially a pre-screening service. By having the TSA do a thorough background check, the TSA can identify you as a safe and legitimate traveler.

When you fly this cuts down on your security screening. The benefits of TSA PreCheck include:

  • Waits typically less than five minutes to get through security screenings
  • 200+ airports have dedicated lanes for TSA PreCheck members including MSP Airport
  • You don’t need to remove shoes, belts, or jackets during screenings
  • Children under 12 are included

You’ll move quickly through airport security without hassle or headache.

What Are The Benefits of Global Entry?

Global Entry is similar to the TSA PreCheck as it will help you move through security faster. The main differences are that Global Entry is accepted at international airports as well and is provided by the CBP. You can see the full list of participating airports on the CBP’s website.

Global Entry includes many benefits:

  • No processing lines, paperwork, or long wait times
  • Access to expedited entry
  • Available at all U.S. airports and many airports overseas

As with TSA PreCheck, you’ll move quickly through airport security without hassle. The key difference between TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry is Global Entry was designed for international travelers while TSA PreCheck was designed for domestic travelers.

Customs signs at the airport.

Who Should Join A Trusted Traveler Program?

Because Trusted Traveler Programs allow for less hassle and decreases the amount of time spent in the security line, here’s who might benefit the most…

  • Frequent flier travelers
  • Professionals who travel for their job
  • People who find it difficult to take shoes off and on or need more time to do so
  • People who want the convenience of just zipping through the line without taking everything out and off

Essentially, if you fly three or more times a year, they are worth considering.

What Eligibility Requirements Are There To Join a Trusted Traveler Program?

The eligibility requirements when comparing TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry are relatively the same:

  • You must be 18 years or older or have the permission of a parent
  • You must be a legal United States citizen
  • You must have a clean criminal record

The eligibility requirements are very strict because they have to do with national security. However, the majority of legitimate travelers meet the requirements.

What Is The Application Process For TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry

The process to submit a TSA PreCheck application includes:

  1. Start by accessing the application online or visiting at TSA PreCheck Enrollment Center in person.
  2. Fill out the application and pay the application fee. The current for TSA PreCheck is $78 for 5 years and includes all rates.
  3. Interview in person. You will need to bring your valid passport and a second form of ID like a driver’s license to the interview. This interview is usually around 10 minutes.
  4. Once you complete the interview you will be declined or approved. If approved, you will receive a TSA PreCheck membership card and ID to present at the TSA.
    The process to submit a Global Entry application includes:
  5. Create a Trusted Traveler Program account with CBP
  6. Complete the Global Entry application and pay the entry application fee. The current fee is $100 for a five-year membership and includes all rates.
  7. Your application will be reviewed and if conditionally approved, you will be instructed to schedule an interview at a Global Enrollment Center. You will need to bring your valid passport and a second form of ID like a driver’s license to the interview.
  8. Once you complete the interview you will be declined or approved. If approved, you will receive a Global Entry membership card and ID to present at the TSA.
    Note that some travel credit cards will reimburse you for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, and other trusted traveler programs. So it is beneficial if you are either getting TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry to pay for the fee with those cards.

How To Use TSA PreCheck And Global Entry When You Travel

Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, and other Trusted Traveler Programs all provide you with a membership number.

When you book your airline tickets, you will include this number in the reservation. They will then place your information on your boarding pass. If you did not add your member number when you booked the flight, you can also add the number before you check in for your flight.

Then when you arrive at the airport, you will go to the right TSA line. Both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry include TSA screening in a special line. That line is usually marked by signage.

Comparison table for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry trusted traveler programs.

FAQs: TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry

Q: Does Global Entry include TSA PreCheck?
A: Yes. Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck benefits so members do not need to have both programs.

Q: Will a criminal history always disqualify me for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck?
A: No. It depends on the details of your criminal history. In general, CBP and TSA are looking for security threats like customs violations, immigration offenses, and outstanding warrants.

Q: What should I bring to the interview?
A: You’ll need to bring documents like your passport, proof of address. and a secondary form of identification. If there have been any major changes in your life, you will also need to bring things like court documents, change of address notification, or anything else instructed by the TSA or CBP.

Q: What do I need to know about the interview?
A: The interview mainly consists of questions to confirm your identity and to determine if you are involved in any illicit or illegal activities that could create a national security threat. Though the interview can be intimidating, most travelers will have no problems with the questions.

Q: How long are TSA PreCheck and Global Entry good for? Do they have to be renewed?
A: Both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are good for five years. The renewal process for both is the same as the initial application.

When deciding between TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry, it all depends on where you are going. Most frequent Minnesota travelers would benefit from either. If you’re a frequent traveler from MSP airport, we offer a Customer Reward Program at EZ Air Park. We’ll help you save time and money on parking, to make your travel even easier.

*Information valid as of 1/1/2024