Should you Get a Global Entry Pass or TSA Pre-Check (Everything you NEED to know!)

Last Updated on January 11, 2024 by Christine Kaaloa

SHOULD YOU GET A Global Entry Pass

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Should you get a global entry pass?

Ever wondered how some travelers got to whoosh through TSA and immigration queues while you painfully wait in the back of a long queue? Well, good news– it is surprisingly easy to have that whoosh too. In this post, I share whether you should get a Global Entry pass and answer questions like : What is the difference between Global Entry Pass vs TSA Precheck and which is worthwhile?

Should you Get a Global Entry Pass vs TSA Pre-Check: Everything you need to know

What is the Global Entry Pass?

Global Entry Pass is part of the ‘Trusted Traveler program‘ run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection department. The Global Entry Pass  enables expedited services which helps you skip the airport TSA purgatory of long queues and removing your shoes..

Say goodbye to dreaded TSA Pre-check lines

With your Global Entry pass, you’ll breeze through a dedicated lane. No more removing shoes, unpacking toiletries, or battling for bin space – just a streamlined process that minimizes airport anxiety and maximizes your precious travel time.

Prepare for a speedy welcome home

Global Entry grants you access to dedicated immigration and customs lines. Forget shuffling through lengthy queues and filling out tedious forms – simply waltz up to an express kiosk, scan your fingerprint and passport, and enjoy a streamlined welcome back to the land of the free.

Global Entry isn’t just about speed; it’s about peace of mind.

Knowing you can breeze through airports with minimal hassle alleviates travel stress and allows you to focus on your journey.

How much does the Global Entry Pass cost and when does it expire?

The Global Entry Pass costs a $100 registration fee.  The pass expires 5 years from the date of purchase. That’s paying $20/year for expedited airport services. Visit the website and apply.

What is TSA Pre-check ?

TSA Pre-check is run by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. The TSA Pre-check service expedites airport security lines and allows you access into a line with lighter screening measures: you do not need to remove shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts or light jackets.

The registration fee costs $85 and it expires 5 years from purchase.  Visit here for more.

Both are a part of the Trusted Traveler program TT program. And are good for the next 5 years.

Global Entry Pass vs TSA Travel Pre-check: Which is the best deal?

Global Entry (International travel)

Designed for the jet-setter, Global Entry grants you expedited processing upon returning to the US after international adventures.

  • No more serpentine immigration queues or grappling with customs forms. Simply waltz up to a dedicated kiosk, scan your trusted traveler number (issued with your Global Entry card), and sashay on out.
  • Global Entry also includes TSA Pre-Check, meaning domestic flights are a breeze too.
  • Global Entry Pass costs $100 and lasts for five glorious years.

TSA Pre-Check (Domestic travel)

This domestic service expedites your journey through domestic security lines within the US. No more shoe shuffles, dreaded unpackings, or battling for bin space.

  • Glide through a dedicated lane with your shoes firmly planted and your toiletries tucked away.
  • This domestic delight sets you back $85 and lasts for five blissful years.

Which is best?

If you’re an American who ventures beyond the borders at least once a year, then Global Entry is the undisputed winner. For an additional $15 per year, you unlock the world of streamlined immigration, swift domestic security, and the undeniable swagger of a seasoned traveler.

However, if your travels are only in the United States, TSA Pre-Check offers fantastic domestic convenience at a slightly lower price point.

Ultimately, the choice boils down to your travel habits and budget. But remember, no matter which program you choose, you’ll be waving goodbye to endless queues and hello to smooth sailing through the airport gauntlet. Happy travels!

Is the Global Entry Pass worthwhile?

YES. Getting the Global Entry Pass means a less intrusive and more expedited TSA experience and that is worthwhile. As I mentioned earlier, the costs break down to $20/year, so even if you travel domestically once a year, that is $20 for that roundtrip expedited TSA experience. If you take a few trips a year, it is a no brainer.

Where can I use my Global Entry Pass?

It’s important to remember that Global Entry  doesn’t extend beyond United States Customs, Border & Transportation departments system. Think of it as a streamlined U.S.A. homecoming, not a universal visa.

While your pass may expedite flights to international destinations, you’ll still face the usual entry processes upon arrival in another country.

 All leading U.S. airports and any lawful land and sea ports of entry into the U.S. (i.e. including Canadian and Mexico borders) apply. So you can use your Global Entry Pass if you’re crossing overland, you’ll be expedited to designated lanes and if you’re taking a cruise, disembarking may be speedier.

 Unlocking Global Entry Eligibility: Who can apply?

The Global Entry Pass is reserved for US citizens and nationals, as well as citizens of specific countries that have “trusted traveler” arrangements with the US, currently including Argentina, Colombia, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, and the UK. If you belong to one of these lucky nations, the door to expedited entry swings open.

However, citizenship alone isn’t the only criterion. Applicants must also meet additional requirements, including a clean criminal record and completion of a background check. So, while the application process itself is fairly straightforward – an online form and in-person interview – it’s essential to fit the eligibility profile before embarking on the journey.

How to Apply for a Global Entry Pass

The first step is to complete an enrollment application form and interview at one of the CPB locations for Global Entry Pass. The online enrollment application is a relatively quick and painless process. But then comes the hurdle some travelers face: the in-person interview.

Not all cities boast dedicated Global Entry Pass enrollment centers. So, if your hometown lacks one, you might find yourself facing an airport layover interview during a future trip. Several major airports across the US host enrollment centers. However, if the logistics of in-person interviews prove daunting, remember that TSA Pre-Check remains a fantastic option for domestic speed through security lines, albeit without the international benefits of Global Entry.

Try my Free Ultimate Packing List tool to know what to pack for your next trip!

Is it true I can get my Global Entry Pass for free?

Yes. Some credit card plans have travel perks and will reimburse the $100 expense of the Global Entry Pass. For instance, I used my Capital One Venture card (a highly recommended credit card for travelers) to purchase my pass and was reimbursed the charge a few weeks later, costing me literally, nothing! It is in the rewards section of my mobile app or when you log into your account.

Tip: When signing up for credit cards, always research their mileage reward offers as if you meet requirements, it will pay for your first domestic trip!

Other credit card plans to research are Citi, Chase, American Express, and Bank of America. They all offer Global Entry Pass reimbursement. If you already belong to one of these credit card services,  look into your Rewards section to see if it isn’t already included in your plan.

Booking travel through a travel credit card reward point is super easy. With my Capital One Venture card, I can change flights and cancel bookings for free. During the pandemic, I used my miles as credit for Amazon purchases!


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