TSA PreCheck® and Global Entry are Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP). Members of either program can bypass certain aspects of the respective screening processes without sacrificing security. TSA PreCheck can streamline airport security screenings, while Global Entry can expedite U.S. Customs screenings.
Unfortunately, upgrading your TSA PreCheck membership to Global Entry is not possible at this time. However, there is some good news if you've yet to apply for either program.
Travelers cannot upgrade from TSA PreCheck to Global Entry
Although TSA PreCheck and Global Entry can speed up different screenings at airports, you cannot upgrade a TSA PreCheck membership to include Global Entry. A main reason is that the programs have distinct purposes. TSA PreCheck can help travelers pass through airport security checkpoints. Meanwhile, Global Entry is specifically for travelers arriving in the United States from another country.
TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry: The differences
TSA PreCheck and Global Entry have several key differences in terms of eligibility, the application process and the benefits each program offers.
Both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are available to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents. However, Mexican nationals and citizens of the following countries are eligible for Global Entry:
- United Kingdom
- The Netherlands
- South Korea
The key parts of the application process are similar for both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck: an online application, nonrefundable fee and in-person appointment. Both applications have multiple questions and fields to complete, and the required fees are collected at different times. New TSA PreCheck applicants pay the fee at their in-person appointment, while Global Entry applicants pay the fee as they finish the online application.
Individuals must be approved for either program through a serious background check and in-person appointment. At TSA PreCheck appointments, you'll need to present required identification and have your fingerprints taken. The in-person portion of the Global Entry application process is more like an interview.
TSA PreCheck allows members to access designated lanes at airport security, mostly in U.S. airports. PreCheck members don't have to remove shoes, belts or light jackets, and certain devices can stay in carry-on luggage. As a result, TSA PreCheck lines tend to be shorter and move more quickly than standard security lines.
Global Entry benefits can ease the process of arriving in the United States. All travelers who do so must pass through U.S. Customs. However, Global Entry members do not have to complete paperwork or wait in normal screening lines. Instead, they can access Global Entry kiosks, scan their identification and usually be on their way.
Should you apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck first?
Your travel habits are perhaps the most important point to consider when deciding which program you'd like to apply for. Global Entry tends to suit frequent international travelers well. TSA PreCheck may be suited better to flyers who frequently fly within the United States.
On the one hand, Global Entry can expedite entry into the United States by allowing travelers to skip paperwork and lines at U.S. Customs. On the other hand, TSA PreCheck benefits can streamline TSA screenings in many airports in the United States.
Another point to consider is that Global Entry members are eligible for TSA PreCheck. If you'd like membership in both programs, review the eligibility requirements for Global Entry. You may find the process of enrolling in TSA PreCheck straightforward if you have already enrolled in Global Entry.
Is it easy to get Global Entry if I have TSA PreCheck?
Strictly speaking, TSA PreCheck membership does not make a Global Entry application easier. However, Global Entry and TSA PreCheck have similar application processes.
If you've applied for TSA PreCheck, you may find the process for enrolling in Global Entry somewhat familiar:
- Create an account online: You need your own TTP account regardless of your age.
- Complete the application: You'll be asked several questions and have to complete multiple fields identifying yourself.
- Pay the application fee: At the time of writing, Global Entry applications cost a $100 non-refundable fee and must be paid as you complete an application. Some credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve®, provide a statement credit up to $100 every four years for the Global Entry application fee.
- Schedule an interview: If your application is conditionally approved, you can schedule your interview at a Global Entry enrollment center. This required step can also be done as you arrive in the United States through a program called Enrollment on Arrival.
Can you roll over TSA PreCheck to a Global Entry membership?
TSA PreCheck membership has no influence on a successful enrollment in Global Entry. The programs have distinct benefits and eligibility requirements. Nevertheless, if you've gone through the application and interview for PreCheck, the process is similar for Global Entry. Enrolling in both programs takes a few essential steps: online application, in-person interview and an application fee.
Can you pay for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry with a credit card?
For either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, the application fee can be paid using a credit card. When you first apply for TSA PreCheck, your application fee will be due when you attend your in-person appointment. Conversely, the application fee for the Global Entry fee is due as you complete an online application.
Some travel credit cards offer reimbursement for TTP application fees. Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, offers up to a $100 statement credit every four years for the fee to apply for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or NEXUS. To be eligible, you would have to pay the application fee with your Sapphire Reserve card.
TSA PreCheck cannot be upgraded to Global Entry membership. Although the programs offer benefits that expedite your time in certain travel checkpoints, the benefits and eligibility requirements are different. One way to remember the difference is that TSA PreCheck helps with U.S. airport security screenings while Global Entry helps with the U.S. Customs screening process.