When you are rushing through a busy airport, which expediting service should you use?
TSA PreCheck vs. CLEAR vs. Global Entry vs. Mobile Passport
Wating in a long queue inside a busy airport is never a great way to start a vacation. It can be a pain if you’re a frequent business flyer or running late and trying to catch a flight. Then you arrive jetlagged at another airport and have to go through a similar ordeal again with customs or immigration.
Maybe it’s high time that you sign up for a travel program that will let you breeze through airport checks. There are several available, but which is the right one for you?
Cost: $85 for five years | Available in more than 200 US Airports
With a membership of over seven million, TSA PreCheck is the largest and most popular airport security program and operated by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA). It’s for US citizens, Canadian members of NEXUS, or foreigners enrolled in Global Entry.
After going through fingerprinting and a background check in the enrollment process, you’ll be entitled to a separate and more efficient security line. Gone are the days where you have to whip out your laptop, open your suitcase, untie your shoes, etc.
Cost: $170 a year | Available in more than 35 US Airports
CLEAR is run privately and works with TSA PreCheck to speed up your experience by expediting the checking of travel documents on departing flights. Only US citizens or legal permanent residents 18 years old and above can join. Children below 18 need not enroll and can enter a CLEARlane for free if accompanied by CLEAR family members.
Members head over to a CLEARlane where a biometric fingerprint or iris scan quickly verifies their identity. After that, a CLEAR representative will escort them past other security lines and straight to their physical screening. That’s the point where TSA PreCheck takes over if they’re also members. The company claims the whole process only takes about five minutes.
Cost: $100 for five years | Available in more than 200 US Airports
It’s a program of the US Customs and Border Protection. Global Entry has over five million members consisting of US citizens and permanent residents and also citizens of several countries.
Its purpose is to expedite the screening process of international travelers arriving in the US. Their biometric scanning is similar to the facial recognition used on smartphones. They’ll take a picture of your face and match it with your passport photo. Members can skip the long customs lines and avoid the paperwork that goes with it.
Mobile Passport Control
Today, millions of travelers have benefitted from the Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app since its release in 2014. It’s programmed to help travelers ease their return to the US. To register, open the app and fill your profile with basic info such as your legal name, photo, passport number, etc.
All you need to do is answer the same questions that you typically find on a customs declaration form. After that, the app generates a QR code that you can show to a CBP officer assigned to the dedicated Mobile Passport line. Users claim it’s just as quick as Global Entry, and it’s free.
Now, you can get through the airport like a King…