The truth behind TSA Precheck and Global Entry… Is Global Entry worth it? Forking out 100 dollars to save some time standing in line sounds a little bit crazy but um yes, Global Entry and TSA Precheck seriously rock!! If you are a frequent traveler, this is one of our top suggestions for making the airport experience easier especially if you are traveling with young children. TSA Precheck and Global Entry is a dream come true for parents (or for anyone)!
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What is TSA Precheck and Global Entry?
We are sure you have seen these signs and often wondered “Why are those people moving so much faster through security and customs?”. TSA Precheck and Global Entry are essentially expedited programs that allow for swift, quick airport security and expedited entrance into the United States.
When you have TSA precheck you do not need to remove; shoes, airplane approved liquids, jackets, laptops, iPads or other tablets when going through security. Going through normal security with young children can be a nightmare (I can’t tell you how many times our blasted car seat got “bomb checked”) but going through TSA Precheck is totally doable and relieves a lot of the stress.
*Looking for other stress-busting tips when traveling with young children? See our Top Tips for Surviving a Long Haul Flight with Children!
We have waited for hours at times to go through customs when coming back home to the US, especially in the Atlanta airport, that place is a madhouse!! Having to wait for hours with a crying baby in a hot and sweaty customs line is one of my least favorite memories I have while traveling with my little one. Global Entry expedites this entire process down to minutes. Yes, minutes.
TSA Precheck vs Global Entry
TSA Precheck – 85 dollars per person for an application fee. This application is valid for 5 years.
Global Entry – 100 dollars per person for an application fee. This application is valid for 5 years.
Here is a money saving hint get both for the price of one! 99% of the time, if you have Global Entry you will automatically be put in the system for TSA Precheck. Because of this, we signed up for Global Entry and did not do the separate application for TSA Precheck. Since signing up for Global Entry we have always had TSA Precheck. So we paid 100 dollars per person and have received the benefits of both programs.
Our advice – REGISTER FOR GLOBAL ENTRY and get the benefits of both TSA Precheck and Global Entry!
How do I register for Global Entry?
Call us crazy but we didn’t sign up for this until just recently, because we weren’t entirely sure how to do it! What? Did we not know how to use Google??
How to Register for Global Entry in 10 Easy Steps:
Go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Website
Set up a TTP (Trusted Traveler Program) account. Pick a username and password you won’t forget and write it down somewhere safe and easily accessible. It is nearly impossible to reconfigure this once you have already set it up.
Using your TTP account information fill out the Global Entry application for EVERY person in your group that you want to have TSA Precheck and Global Entry – yes even the littlest ones.
Filling out your Global Entry Application Hints:
Have your passports and driver’s license nearby. If you use your passport for your first proof of citizenship, you can use it for almost all of the other required documents. Limiting your need to fish out your birth certificates and such.
Have your work history and address history available for 5 years back. If you were unemployed or a student and/or a child you HAVE to mark this down or you will not be able to submit your application. Beckham was only three at the time of registration and we still had to fill out our housing background for five years for his application.
Go through your application and make sure all of the information is correct. If you get rejected due to an error, the chances of being able to be accepted into the program are slim to none.
Pay the 100 dollar fee
Wait for an email (about 3-5 days) and then schedule an interview at the nearest Global Entry Enrollment location. Usually, it is at the nearest international airport. Find your closest Global Entry Enrollment Center here.
Scheduling an interview is the hardest part of this gig. The actual scheduling part isn’t a challenge, you can just do it through your account, but depending on your location it can take months to get an interview. When we applied, we ended up deciding to go to our interview in Long Beach California while we were there, because the soonest we could get an interview appointment here in Salt Lake City was 6 months out.
Go to the interview. (It is not a big deal, they ask a couple of questions, do some fingerprinting and you are on your way.)
Wait for your acceptance into the program (about six weeks)!!
Attach your Global Entry Number to your account for the airlines that you fly with and enjoy expedited flying!!!
Is Global Entry worth it?
Yes, all in all, the registration and the actual interview process take only about 2-4 hours total. In our experience, it is most definitely worth it!! When we just returned home from Africa, it honestly took us 15 minutes from landing to walking out of the airport with our luggage when we arrived in the US. The hardest part of the process is waiting for your interview.
Applying for Global Entry Tips
- Give yourself ample time to get an interview scheduled. Sometimes it can take up to 4-6 months to get an interview.
- When filling out the application, prepare to sit down and get it done in one sitting. It is far easier to just get it done in one swoop. I decided one night that I was going to knock out Stefen’s, Beckhams, and mine all at one time. By the third application, I was a pro.
- Make sure your username is something you can remember. You can not reset it.
What are your tips for getting through the madness and security? We would love to hear them below!
Happy and Safe Travels!!
-The Smith Fam
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