Global Entry launched in 2008 and currently has more than 5.4 million members. As a member, you can bypass U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection lines when entering the U.S. from abroad, using an automated kiosk instead. The service is available at dozens of U.S. airports and preclearance locations at select international airports, The program has a $100 application fee, which is nonrefundable and doesn’t guarantee membership. The application process includes a rigorous background check and an in-person interview. You may be able to book an interview appointment within a few weeks, or it may take months, depending on your location.
TSA Precheck launched a few years after Global Entry in 2011, but the program has grown more quickly, with more than 7 million members today. While Global Entry expedites the customs process for international flights, TSA Precheck is designed for expediting Transportation Security Administration security screening for travelers on flights originating in the U.S. The program is currently available at more than 200 airports nationwide and is supported by 56 airlines.
As a TSA Precheck member, you won’t need to remove your shoes, belt or light jacket, and any laptops or liquids you’re carrying can stay in your bag, speeding up your security screening considerably. To give you an idea of how fast the process can go, TSA says that 93 percent of TSA Precheck members waited five minutes or less in October 2018. To be eligible for the program, you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident. The TSA Precheck application process includes a nonrefundable fee of $85, plus a background check and in-person interview.