TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. Clear: Which is best for you?

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If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ve got three trusted traveler programs to choose from if you want to speed your way through the security line.

How do you know which is best for you?

A closer look at the services

We all know traveling can be a nightmare. From computer outages that cause tremendous delays to airlines that shrink the size of permissible carry-ons, flying isn’t exactly easy.

But there’s one aspect of flying that you can control: How long you spend in line waiting to get to your gate to board the plane.

Here’s a look at three trusted traveler programs you may want to consider…

TSA Precheck

This is the expedited security screening program from the TSA. You can apply online at tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply. It costs $85, and if approved, is valid for five years.

Here’s the process of getting in the system:

  1. Complete the online application or you can complete the entire process in person at an application center.
  2. Schedule an appointment online or by calling (855) 347-8371 weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments take priority.
  3. Visit an application center to:
  1. Provide required documentation and fingerprints. Bring your current U.S. passport or a driver’s license and birth certificate. See other acceptable documents.
  2. Pay a non-refundable $85 fee valid for five years with a credit card, money order, company check or certified/cashier’s check.
  3. You can check your status online at any time.

Global Entry

Global Entry is specifically geared toward international travelers. There is a $100 application fee, good for five years. But note that the application process is rigorous.

‘You have to go through an in-person meeting with an immigration officer, a background check, fingerprinting and eye scans, but once you’re through, you can bypass immigration lines when checking into other countries,’ Clark says of Global Entry. ‘You’ll also be able to take advantage of pre-check lines at major airport terminals across the U.S.’

Clear

Clear is a third option for speeding your way through airport security. It costs $179 annually and is available at 50+ major airports.

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Here’s a visual recap of what the services offer…

TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. Clear: Which is best?


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