By now, I’m sure you have all heard of the Global Entry program, and I imagine you have taken advantage of this great program for traveling! If not, be sure to sign up before your next trip. If you only plan to travel in the United States, you will only need to sign up for the Known Traveler program with TSA, currently $85.00. However, for $15 more, you reap the benefits of the Known Traveler as well as the Global Access program for international travel. If you think you might be going outside the US at any time, this is the way to go.
Here is a brief overview of the process for each program:
Like the Global Entry program, TSA PreCheck is available through an online application followed by a background check at an airport or other facility near you. For this program, which is a five-year membership, you can speed through security and don’t need to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. This is great for business travelers or travel within the states. Here is the link to apply: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck
With a Global Entry Card (following the application and background check interview process), you have expedited clearance upon arrival in the U.S. No more waiting in those LONG lines when you return from an out-of-country trip! Instead of the long line, you find an automatic kiosk (at selected airports–check those you will be returning through). There, you place your passport to be read by the machine, scan your fingerprints, and complete a customs declaration. You then obtain a receipt and proceed to baggage claim and the exit. How great is that!
Here is the link to U.S. Customs and Border Protection where you can complete an online application and get information about the process to obtain status as a known or trusted traveler: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry
Another way to purchase one of these programs may be through your credit card mileage program. I know that Citibank and many other cards allow you to use your frequent flyer points to apply for either of these programs. Those of you who have one of the more exclusive credit cards (read heftier annual fee with some nice perks) can apply for Global Entry as one of your perks. Whether you pay out of pocket or use your points, it is well worth your while to go through this process to obtain your own card for your next trip. I will be using Global Entry for the first time upon my return from my upcoming Venice to Dubai trip, so will share my experience with all of you. Since Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck benefits, I will also be able to take advantage of getting through security without all of the “undressing.”
Now I need to go work on my packing for my upcoming cruise and land stay from Venice to Dubai! Lots to do! I’ll keep you posted.