The best place to start finding a travel program right for you is the Department of Homeland Security website at the trusted traveler program page. Here you will find the most popular travel programs and a handy chart that will help you determine which program is best for you based on your citizenship, type of passport, and the kind of travel you plan on taking. This site will also give you information on all the different programs and the processing times you can expect. While TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are some of the most popular programs, others such as Nexus, Sentri, and FAST are also options.
The Global Entry program is popular with international travelers as it makes entry into the US smoother and much faster. This program is available to US citizens, permanent residents, and select foreign nationals. One of the most significant benefits of the Global Entry program is that it includes TSA PreCheck, one of the most popular travel programs. While the application fee for TSA PreCheck has recently been reduced to $78, the cost for Global Entry is $100 but also includes TSA PreCheck. Applicants must provide fingerprints, have citizenship and identity documents, and pay the application fee. Once approved for the Global Entry program, your membership is valid for five years.
With TSA PreCheck membership, travelers will not need to remove their shoes, laptops, or 3-1-1 liquids from their carry-on luggage. They will also be allowed to wear belts and light jackets when going through security. This is why going through security is much faster than regular security lines and why most travelers can get through security in the promised five minutes. However, the approval time for a TSA PreCheck application is much less than for a Global Entry one.
The most important thing to do after acceptance into these travel programs is to add your membership number to your airline reservation to get the most of these travel program benefits. When adding information to your reservation, there is often an option for a Known Traveler Number. You can add your program membership number here. However, not all airports and airlines participate in these programs. In addition, not all security lines include TSA PreCheck. Some airports will have designated TSA PreCheck security checkpoints, so travelers need to research to take advantage of the programs at their departure airport.
Please take advantage of these traveling programs; they make the journey much more manageable. Let me know if you found this information valuable in the comment section below.