Call me boring, but I love practical gifts. So, when it was time to make a birthday list this year, I knew exactly what I wanted. I asked for TSA Pre✓ ® with Global Entry so that I could speed through security without taking my shoes off and unloading everything. Because if you know me, patience is not something that comes easily to me, and long lines drive me nuts.
The process can be a bit confusing, but it’s actually fairly simple. Today I’m going to walk you through the steps to get your TSA Precheck, so that you can travel like a pro.
Why should I get TSA Precheck?
Because it makes your life so much simpler. Shorter lines, less hassle when you’re in the lines, no more customs forms. And TSA Precheck with Global Entry is really just $20 per year, which is a great deal if you travel often.
Who should get TSA Precheck?
I fly multiple times throughout the year, and getting stuck in those long security lines is annoying and could even make me miss a flight. TSA Precheck is for airports within the United States, but if you’re wanting to speed up your time in airports, add on Global Entry to your application for $15 more.
My advice to you is if you take even two or three flights in one year, get TSA Precheck because it simplifies life and lasts for five years.
What is TSA Precheck, and how do I get it?
TSA Precheck is basically a Fast Pass at the airport. You get through security faster, and you won’t have to take off shoes, belts and jackets or take out your electronics and liquids. Click for the full list of benefits. Your membership lasts five years, and 73 airlines accept TSA Precheck, according to TSA.
TSA says that in October 2019, people with TSA Precheck waited for fewer than five minutes.
All you have to do is fill out a brief online application and agree to a background check. To access this online application, click here. Once you’re conditionally approved, you have to set up an interview at a participating airport through the online portal.
What can I expect at the interview?
The word interview sounds scary, but it’s actually the easiest interview you will ever have. Be sure to bring your passport, driver’s license and Known Traveler Number, which can be found on your online application.
At this interview, they’ll ask you a couple questions. The only question they asked me was what my birthday was. Suuuuuuper tough, right? They took my fingerprints and my photo and also verified my driver’s license and passport. I was told more about my benefits through TSA Precheck and Global Entry, and that was literally it. There’s nothing to worry about; it seems like just a formality to me. And at the end of my interview, the guy told me I could start using these privileges right away.
My best advice for the interview is to schedule when you’re already traveling because it takes maybe 15 minutes. And if you don’t live close to an airport with an enrollment center, it’s a bit obnoxious to drive all the way there, pay for parking, etc. Also, make sure you write down your interview time because I didn’t receive any type of reminder.
What is Global Entry?
If you like to travel internationally, this is for you. Global Entry includes the basic TSA Precheck along with additional benefits. Spend the extra $15 to get speed benefits abroad. You won’t have to fill out the customs form on your flight back into the U.S., and you won’t have to wait in the regular customs line. You’ll go to a kiosk that says Global Entry and declare your goods that way. Easy peasy! This membership also lasts for five years. You might as well knock out two birds with one stone and get TSA Precheck and Global Entry together for $100. Click for full Global Entry details.
Travel can be flustering, but with great tools like TSA Precheck (great for domestic travelers) and Global Entry (great for international travelers), you can slide through airport security in a jiffy so that you’re off to your next adventure sooner.