TSA PreCheck, CLEAR & Global Entry – What’s REALLY the Difference?

It has been a while since something new in regards to airport security has been brought up. With the rapid growth of CLEAR resurfacing itself I took it upon myself to give you a simple breakdown on TSA Precheck, CLEAR and global entry.

TSA PreCheck

As I stated before in my “Flight Ready Essentials For Airport Travel” blog post, TSA PreCheck is basically a program where you get expedited passage through Transportation Security Administration at DOMESTIC airports. Costing at $85 lasting for 5 years it’ll have you breezing through the security lines.

While traveling using TSA Precheck you do not have to remove:

  • shoes
  • belts
  • light jackets

Applying is super easy. You just submitting a 5 minute application online, select an appointment time, do a in person 10 minute background check and fingerprint scanning & upon enrollment you’ll get a “known traveler number” which is what you’ll enter when booking your flight. – In smaller airports, I get to the airport 45 minutes before boarding and I am at my gate within 10 minutes.

TSA PRECHECK SAVES LIVES.

BONUS: If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or are a DOD employee you can access this service for free by opting in this on your milConnect website.

CLEAR

CLEAR is a “bio-metric secure identity platform that stores individuals’ personal information and links it to bio-metric data, allowing them to bypass the travel document checker at security checkpoints by using fingerprint and/or iris identification.” – In other words, CLEAR is a techy system that allows you to go through security using your eyes or fingerprints. CLEAR is currently $15 a month and is billed annually.

While using CLEAR in the airports you:

  • walk straight up to the security bins hassle free

This is what the main difference is between TSA Precheck and CLEAR. You still have to get your bags checked through security, but instead of waiting in line – whether that be the standard line or TSA Precheck expedited line, you now do not have to present your boarding pass and ID you just walk up to the kiosk, get scanned and then proceed.

Applying to CLEAR is fairly simple as well. You start off giving some basic information online, then finishing at a CLEAR location (There are now 60+ airports, click this to see where). While going to the kiosk at the airport, it is reported that it takes no more than 5 minutes to complete.

Global Entry

Global Entry is “a program of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance through automatic kiosks at select airports upon arrival into the United States.” – Basically this is the “CLEAR” for entering the U.S. after coming from an international destination.

While using Global Entry in airports you:

  • present your machine readable passport or permanent resident card at the KIOSK
  • place fingerprints on scanner for scanning
  • complete customs declaration

By having Global Entry you bypass the long long long wait lines that are at customs. For every country I have been in or had to reenter through customs, there was literally no one at the global entry lines. This is a PERFECT gem for all the international travelers whose home base is in the United States.

Applying to global entry is also a simple task. First you must create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account, then you log into your account and pay a $100 non refundable application fee, finally CBP will review your application and if you are approved you will instructed to schedule an in person interview. To check the documents needed for your interview, click here.

BONUS: Global Entry can be used for Air, Land and Sea AND it includes TSA Precheck.

For me, after applying for global entry. If I get approved I will definitely stick with Global Entry and CLEAR. Essentially, it’ll be having all three in one anyway. 🙂 Happy traveling…

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply