With the current government shutdown affecting travel in the US. Airline security lines are getting longer and longer. Every trip I book, I normally have clients ask how they can best prepare for their trip and what is available to them to get through check in and security quickly. It can be confusing to decide between things like TSA Pre-check and Global entry and clear and mobile passport. There are a lot of options and hopefully this will be a helpful guide so you can figure out what will work best for you.
TSA Pre Check
Pre check is probably the most well known to US passengers flying domestically. It is incredibly useful to get you through security and to your gate with enough time to stop by Starbucks or head to the bathroom. With pre check going through security is so much easier, no more taking your shoes off or shedding jackets. Once you apply and have your background check approved, you are given a known traveler number to use every time you book an airline ticket. When you arrive at a domestic airport, look for the pre check lanes. The TSA official will double check that your boarding pass says TSA Pre Check and point you through to the security line.
Cost: $85 for a 5 year membership
To Apply: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck
If you frequently fly internationally, global entry is your very best friend. Similar to TSA pre check, once you have applied and passed a background check, you will then have an interview at a Global entry office. After you have been approved, you receive a known traveler number to use each time you book a flight. With global entry, you have a faster customs experience. At airports, program members proceed to Global Entry kiosks, present their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification and complete a customs declaration. The kiosk issues the traveler a transaction receipt and directs the traveler to baggage claim and the exit.
Clear can be used in conjunction with both TSA pre check and global entry. Instead of scanning your license, Clear uses biometrics to scan your eye and fingerprints to give you a unique code you can use to identify yourself at the airport. At the moment, it is only available at 35 airports. When you arrive at the airport, you will proceed to the Clear kiosk, where your eye and fingerprint is scanned. An agent will then show you through to an expedited security line.
Cost: Annual membership is $179
To Apply: https://www.clearme.com
Mobile passport is the cheapest of the 4 options (its FREE!). All you need is to download the mobile passport app to your phone. Set up your user profile which includes your passport information. Before you return to the US from an international destination, log onto the app and answer a few questions and submit your answers in the app. You will receive a receipt that you will use when you arrive at customs. Follow the mobile passport signs, show your passport to the customs official and scan your receipt. Currently, Mobile passport is only available at 25 airports within the US.
To Apply: https://mobilepassport.us