TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or CLEAR?

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If you travel even once a year, no doubt you’ve been bombarded with advertisements and signage for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and CLEAR! Unless you spend a few hours doing online research, understanding what the differences between each program are can be difficult.

Below is the pricing, benefits and application process of each so you can decide which program is right for you based on how you travel.

TSA Pre-Check

How much does it cost?

$85 paid once you are approved

How long does it last for?

5 years

Who is eligible?

Any US citizen or legal permanent resident is eligible

What are the benefits?

  • Expedited security process through a separate, fast-track line
  • No need to take off shoes & belts or remove liquids & laptop from bag during security

What is the application process like?

Once you complete a short online application, schedule an interview at your local TSA PreCheck center to verify your residence and employment information. Once approved, you pay the $85 fee and are assigned a Known Traveler Number.

Global Entry

How much does it cost?

$100 paid when you first apply online

How long does it last for?

5 years

Who is eligible?

Any US citizen, legal permanent resident or resident of the following countries is eligible:

  • UK
  • Colombia
  • Panama
  • South Korea
  • Germany
  • The Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • Mexico

What are the benefits?

  • Expedited process for clearing customs, meaning you can skip customs officials and instead use a kiosk that scans your fingerprints, passport and customs form
  • Service available at US airports and these select airports around the world
  • Automatic enrollment in TSA PreCheck (includes all benefits above)

What is the application process like?

The online application takes about 20-30 minutes and is fairly easy to complete. In addition to filling out basic information about your place of residence and employment, you must list all the countries you’ve traveled to in the last five years and when.

Once your background check clears (shouldn’t be more than a week), you are notified to schedule an interview at your local enrollment center. When it comes time for your appointment, bring your passport, driver’s license (or other form of ID) and proof of residence (like a utility bill). At your interview, you’ll be asked questions to verify your employment & residence and asked why you want Global Entry. It’s not a trick question – word for word I responded, “because I like to travel.” 😉

Your ID will land in your mailbox in 1-2 weeks and VOILA! Global entry approved.

TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry: Which is right for you?


How much does it cost?

$15 per month

How long does it last for?

As long as you are paying the monthly subscription!

Who is eligible?

Any US citizen or legal permanent resident is eligible.

What are the benefits?

  • Expedited security process whereupon you check in on a CLEAR machine (simple fingerprint and eye scan) and are led directly to security screening, past both the TSA Pre-Check and regular line

What is the application process like?

  • Sign up online and create a user profile
  • After signing up online, enroll at a CLEAR enrollment center at the airport, where you will scan your eyes and fingerprints – You’ll need your ID and social security number!


If you travel less than once per month, I recommend enrolling in TSA Pre-Check so that your security screening is expedited. Since you don’t travel very often, it’s not worth paying for anything more.

If you travel within the U.S. or internationally quite often, you should enroll in both Global Entry and CLEAR. Your travel experience will a complete breeze.


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  1. Carmen says:

    Great info, thanks! If you already have TSA precheck, can you be expedited for global entry, or is it a separate process?

    • Christina says:

      So happy you found this post to be helpful! They are completely separate, so if you have TSA PreCheck, you will unfortunately have to go through the normal process of applying for Global Entry.

  2. Mike Clegg says:

    Very interesting. I need to check if there is something like this for the UK.

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