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TSA Pre-Check/GE

We are considering applying for TSA Pre-Check/GE. Our trip is 6 months away and it is probably safe to say we will not get an appointment prior to our trip and I don't think it is a good use of our time to travel hours to a location that has an available appointment...I know this is a great option for some though.

My question is- when does the 5 year expiration start? Is it at approval or once you are 'official' and have received your number?

Renewal- for those that have renewed...is renewal any easier? What is the process?

Posted by
4695 posts

TSA-Pre is well worth it if you travel much at all, even in the US. Once a year? Maybe not worth driving hours for an appointment.

Global Entry costs only a little more than TSA-Pre, so if there is any possibility you might take another trip abroad in the next five years, it would be worth paying extra for Global Entry.

It might be too late now to get it for a trip six months from now anyway as there is a huge backlog right now. I applied to renew more than two months ago - still waiting for hear that my renewal has been approved. (They have extended the grace period to a year - expires on my birthday - so at least I get some extra time and don't have to worry about my benefits expiring immediately.)

Posted by
1217 posts

IIRC, a number of airports offer an 'interview on arrival' around the point where you hit immigration on the flight back home. Would that kind of thing work with your return flight and connection plans?

Posted by
7762 posts

Approval starts the date you have your interview with the Border Patrol and you are approved. I got my number at the interview.

I haven't renewed yet but I just renewed my passport and had to update my GE account. Good grief...I could not believe how many steps I had to go thru to sign into my account. I had an older one and the new ones require 2 factor authentication and a number of other hoops.

What airport will you use to re-enter the US?

Posted by
5010 posts

My GE/TSA Precheck expired a bit more than a year ago. The renewal process wasn't bad. Yes, the web interface and account sign-in/security required a bit of hoop-jumping (but wasn't crazy complicated, when you consider how focused on security this form of ID is). When I was going through the renewal, there had been one of our periodic "government shutdowns" that had occurred a few weeks earlier, so there was a backlog in processing these (it stated so on the website). The process was pretty pain-free on my end, all done online, it just took about 9 weeks from my renewal app to notification that it was approved. I believe the approval time is typically much faster if you're not doing it in the wake of our periodic federal budgetary gamesmanship events.

Agree that having both GE and TSA Precheck is the way to go. If you travel more than a couple times per year, seems like a good investment to save yourself some time and hassles.

Posted by
201 posts

Hope you realize that TSA Pre-check and Global Entry are two different things.

With TSA Pre✓®, you are able to speed through security and don’t need to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. It is expedited screening and can save time at most US airports.

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Members enter the United States through automatic kiosks at select airports.

Posted by
3401 posts

If you keep checking for an appointment, you might be surprised. Simply check the nearest location(s) for you every day. If you luck up (and lots of people have), you could get one very quickly. We recently renewed and it was very easy- no new appointment, just some on-line stuff. We feel that our Global Entry/Pre-Check is well worth all we had to do.

Posted by
2777 posts

We settled for Pre due to small savings from GE. Now we wish we had gotten GE after seeing some real advantages in arriving back in SEA - GE holders were moved to the front of the line. We will get GE when our Pre expires.

Posted by
5910 posts

We renewed last year, easy to do it all online.
If you flying anywhere in the US, see if you can an appt at those airports you transit through. There was a delay as it was at the time of the govt shutdown. It is then best $100. you can spend if you travel internationally. I just returned into ORD from the Middle East and was through passport control in less than 10 minutes.

Posted by
5010 posts

Now we wish we had gotten GE after seeing some real advantages in arriving back in SEA - GE holders were moved to the front of the line. We will get GE when our Pre expires.

Indeed, a couple weeks ago I returned to SEA on a flight from Bangkok via Tokyo, and as it happened there were multiple other international flights arriving at the same time. Passport control had a huge line (looked like the wait could easily be an hour or more)! I was directed to the GE kiosks, where there was literally zero waiting. I nodded to myself, yeah, this thing is gold - after a looooong flight home, it's great to breeze through at least that task.

Posted by
8715 posts

I renewed last year and had to go for an interview. I did it "on arrival" at JFK. Took a whopping 15 minutes.

Is it worth it....I flew back into the U.S. a couple of weeks ago into JFK. Terminal 7 is using face recognition machines. I put my passport in the machine and it took my picture. I walked to the desk where the officer took the slip. He didn't bother to look at my passport but just said "thank you." I stood there stunned for a few seconds.

From stepping off the plane to exiting the terminal was 8 minutes. So is GE worth it.....yep.

Posted by
343 posts

We fly 7 or 8 times a year, both domestically and internationally, and have never paid for TSA pre-check. Yet every time we fly Delta, we both get TSA pre-check anyway on our boarding passes.

I am not sure whether it's because we are frequent flyers with Delta or some other reason, but I sure would not pay for it since we are already getting it for free.

Posted by
889 posts

And has been already noted: Global Entry also gives you TSA pre for 5 yrs. Once you have your GE number, go into your personal profile page on each of the personal info pages of the airlines that you usually fly (you have to be a frequent flyer, etc, member) and put in your GE number (or TSA # if you go that way). Then, whenever you buy a ticket on that website, if you are logged in, it will automatically populate your reservation with that GE ((or TSA pre) number. Then, lo and behold, when you check in online, you will automatically be TSA pre. So GE thus gives you TSA pre benefits on Southwest, etc, and other domestic flights.

Posted by
5379 posts

Also, the GE card can be used as "RealID" on domestic flights -- no need to pay extra to have your driver's license enhanced.
Expiration date on mine is my birthday in 2025 (interviewed and approved January 2020.)

Posted by
4695 posts

We fly 7 or 8 times a year, both domestically and internationally, and have never paid for TSA pre-check. Yet every time we fly Delta, we both get TSA pre-check anyway on our boarding passes.

I am not sure whether it's because we are frequent flyers with Delta or some other reason, but I sure would not pay for it since we are already getting it for free.

I got it free for a while too at first, then that stopped. Who knows why? When you stop getting TSA-pre on your boarding passes for free, you'll soon want to pay for it like the rest of us do.

Posted by
69 posts

Adding GE is only $20 more than the TSA precheck ($80) or was. Good for 5 years, so basically $4 per year to tack it on. I was told that renewal was tied to my birthday so I actually got it for a bit longer than 5 years the first time since my birthday was a few months off. When we flew back from Dublin last year, I was through the security/customs line 45 minutes before my husband, who does not have it, I often, but not always, got TSA precheck when I flew domestically. Now I know i will. Our airport is an hour away. No more long lines. And so far it looks like, if I book both our tickets, my husband seems to get the benefit of TSA (not GE). For $100, I have saved a tons of time in the two years I've had it.

Posted by
2044 posts

My Global Entry Renewal story:

Applied for renewal Tuesday, February 4
Received approval e-mail (without interview) Saturday, February 8 at 1:40 am

Posted by
2992 posts

Natalie, I’m not sure where you live. However, if it a state on the Northern border, NEXUS is a great option. You get NEXUS (easy border crossings with Canada), Global Entry, and TSA pre-check for $50.

Posted by
3144 posts

Natalie, if you reside in New York State, you can't apply for GE now. Read the news to find out why so this thread doesn't turn political.

Posted by
3 posts

I just applied for TSA pre and have an appointment for an interview on Friday. Is it correct that TSA pre and Global Entry are for two different things? I find it a bit confusing.

Posted by
5010 posts

They are indeed two entirely different things (although you may get TSA Precheck along with your Global Entry).

TSA Precheck gets you into the (usually faster) TSA Precheck lines to clear security (at many but not all US airports, on airlines that participate in the program - there are a few other minor caveats/exceptions, but most of the time it works). Doesn't work in other countries (with just a few exceptions). Keep your shoes on, etc.

Global Entry allows you to bypass most (not all) of the bureacratic process (and most of all, the long waiting in line) to clear immigration/passport control when you return to the USA from an international destination.

Both are nice to have.