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TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. CLEAR: Cost and benefits of each

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46 minutes ago, Randyk47 said:

The few posts on PreCheck look like it’s running around three weeks to get conditional approval which allows you to then schedule an interview.  That can take days to weeks depending on your local TSA office appointment schedule.  Once you’re interviewed and fingerprinted it can run from minutes to weeks before final approval.  

 

Interesting. I was already fingerprinted. I'm not sure I would call it 'interviewed', a quick chat at the pre-check office at my local airport. Showed identity docs, fingerprinted, etc. I think I'm on to 'wait to receive known traveler number'. 

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6 hours ago, perditax said:

 

Interesting. I was already fingerprinted. I'm not sure I would call it 'interviewed', a quick chat at the pre-check office at my local airport. Showed identity docs, fingerprinted, etc. I think I'm on to 'wait to receive known traveler number'. 

 

PreCheck interviews are pretty minimal.  It ramps up a bit with GE and gets a bit more serious with NEXUS with its dual Canadian and US interviews.  As for the wait usually, barring your fingerprints revealing some negative information,  it’s a case of the agent not pushing the submit button right away.    A bit different but the CBP agent that did my interview told me I would be approved and should get an email within a day or so.  He apparently pushed submit right away as I hadn’t even gotten back to my SUV when my approval came through.  Interestingly same airport same agent three weeks later interviewed my wife, told her she’d be approved, and it took three weeks for her to get her approval email.  

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On 6/20/2019 at 8:52 AM, Randyk47 said:

 

Hard to get a good average from my go-to frequent flyer forum that has a large section on Trusted Traveler Programs and PreCheck.   The majority of contributors are frequent International flyers so the tendency is to go with programs like NEXUS and GE.  The few posts on PreCheck look like it’s running around three weeks to get conditional approval which allows you to then schedule an interview.  That can take days to weeks depending on your local TSA office appointment schedule.  Once you’re interviewed and fingerprinted it can run from minutes to weeks before final approval.  

 

Turned out to be three days between fingerprint and KTN.

 

Tomorrow I’ll get on the phone with Delta and start playing the “why doesn’t my profile have my middle name” game, I hear it’s a fun one. 

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On 6/19/2019 at 3:07 PM, Randyk47 said:

I always carry my GE card in my wallet.  If anyone asks for ID, it's what I show.  It doesn't have all the PII that a Drivers License has, so I'm more comfortable with it.  

 

 

On 6/19/2019 at 3:07 PM, Randyk47 said:

When I'd show my GE card, I did get some pushback.  I'd just ask for their supervisor and ask the supervisor to bring the book which listed the legal IDs.  I'd direct them to the list and show that GE was like #4

 

These are great tips! Thank you. I experienced the ignorance and lack of training so often at first that I stopped trying. Good to know things have improved with time. 

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The only glitch, if you can call it that, with GE was flying through Honolulu.  We flew there on an American carrier and stopped over for a few days before continuing on to Australia with Qantas.

 

At the Honolulu airport, the TSA line for the groundlings was very long and very slow, but there was nobody waiting in the per-check line.  I approached the TSA officer, showed him my GE card and requested that we use the pre-check line.  BUT, because Qantas does not print TSA Pre on boarding passes, he said we couldn't use the TSA-pre line.  I reminded him that the GE is a higher security clearance than TSA-pre, but he wouldn't budge.

 

His position made no sense to me, but I didn't want to raise a stink while trying to catch the flight.  Once cleared with the groundlings, I asked to see a supervisor and that person agreed that it makes no sense, but the rule is that TSA-pre must be printed on the boarding pass.

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Posted (edited)

You are not guaranteed expedited screening even if you have PreCheck & not all airports or airlines participate in the program, so I'm not sure why you were arguing with the TSA workers.  The way they determine eligibility for any given flight is via the boarding pass designation.  This is all clearly spelled out in their FAQs and other program literature.

Edited by bEwAbG

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24 minutes ago, SargassoPirate said:

The only glitch, if you can call it that, with GE was flying through Honolulu.  We flew there on an American carrier and stopped over for a few days before continuing on to Australia with Qantas.

 

At the Honolulu airport, the TSA line for the groundlings was very long and very slow, but there was nobody waiting in the per-check line.  I approached the TSA officer, showed him my GE card and requested that we use the pre-check line.  BUT, because Qantas does not print TSA Pre on boarding passes, he said we couldn't use the TSA-pre line.  I reminded him that the GE is a higher security clearance than TSA-pre, but he wouldn't budge.

 

His position made no sense to me, but I didn't want to raise a stink while trying to catch the flight.  Once cleared with the groundlings, I asked to see a supervisor and that person agreed that it makes no sense, but the rule is that TSA-pre must be printed on the boarding pass.

 

Qantas is not a participating airline so you can’t get PreCheck from them.    That said many feel that since it’s the individual that goes through the background check PreCheck should be connected to the person and not the airline.  Luckily most of the major, and minor for that matter, airlines have applied for PreCheck status and the list gets longer all the time.   

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19 minutes ago, Randyk47 said:

 

Qantas is not a participating airline so you can’t get PreCheck from them.    That said many feel that since it’s the individual that goes through the background check PreCheck should be connected to the person and not the airline.  Luckily most of the major, and minor for that matter, airlines have applied for PreCheck status and the list gets longer all the time.   

 

^^What Randy said.  It wouldn’t matter which airport you were flying from.  If the airline doesn’t participate in TSA-Pre then you don’t get that security lane.

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bEwAbG  brings up a good point and that is even if enrolled in PreCheck or in one of the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) the associated benefits are not absolutely guaranteed.   You can be randomly non-selected and forced to go through the regular security lane.  Even NEXUS and GE benefits are not 100% guaranteed and you can get randomly selected to go through the full customs and immigration drill.   One of the things I see people get really upset about is getting the dreaded “SSSS” on your boarding pass which leads to a full bag search, explosives swabbing, and sometimes the body pat down.   Neither PreCheck or TTP enrollment will shield you from those.  Does that happen often?  No but it can happen.   

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1 hour ago, Randyk47 said:

 

Qantas is not a participating airline so you can’t get PreCheck from them.    That said many feel that since it’s the individual that goes through the background check PreCheck should be connected to the person and not the airline.  Luckily most of the major, and minor for that matter, airlines have applied for PreCheck status and the list gets longer all the time.   

 

In my example of the Honolulu airport, it seemed inefficient to me that someone with GE who was flying on a non-participating international carrier would not be able to use the pre-check line - especially since the pre-check line was empty.

 

Interestingly enough, when we got to Sydney, with GE we were able to use the immigration kiosks.

 

The only thing consistent with any government operation is inconsistence.

 

Patience is the key.

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16 minutes ago, SargassoPirate said:

 

In my example of the Honolulu airport, it seemed inefficient to me that someone with GE who was flying on a non-participating international carrier would not be able to use the pre-check line - especially since the pre-check line was empty.

 

Interestingly enough, when we got to Sydney, with GE we were able to use the immigration kiosks.

 

The only thing consistent with any government operation is inconsistence.

 

Patience is the key.

 

I do understand your frustration and point.   We had a something similar happen a few years ago when flying British Airways before they became a participating airline.   Huge line for the regular TSA security checkpoint and virtually nobody in the PreCheck lane.  I think that's when I really started thinking about the benefit being personal and not connected to the airline.  

 

There is some talk about changing the PreCheck program but mostly in the vain of making it easier to enroll and possibly offering an annual fee option rather than the present $85 for five years.   When the program first started in 2013 the Department of Homeland Security projected, or at least hoped for,  25 million members.  Some six years later and there are only 8+ million members.   Unfortunately the changes they are talking about don’t mention anything about changing the participating airline requirement.  I’ve seen nothing on changing the Trusted Traveler Programs or benefits.    

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Just an update on the status of our GE renewal.  As of today we’ve in the “pending review” stage for five weeks now.   Checking on another website I’m still seeing average waits of about 12 +/- weeks.   There are a few reports of approvals in literally days but those are the exception.  Serves as a reminder not to wait to too close to your expiration date. 

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On 7/4/2019 at 12:48 PM, Randyk47 said:

Just an update on the status of our GE renewal.  As of today we’ve in the “pending review” stage for five weeks now.   Checking on another website I’m still seeing average waits of about 12 +/- weeks.   There are a few reports of approvals in literally days but those are the exception.  Serves as a reminder not to wait to too close to your expiration date. 

 

We’re now at 60+ days and still pending review.   If any of you have Global Entry and are within the renewal window I would strongly recommend you do it.  The reported average waiting time is 100+ days.   

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Just an update on our Global Entry renewal applications. We’re now at 114 days caught in “pending review” status.  Over on a frequent flyer forum recent posts on Global Entry renewal applications report either almost immediate approval, like in less than a week, or a four month grind with the majority in the four plus month wait.  Obviously the forum only represents a small sample population of the literally millions of GE members so hard to say how representative are the reports.  Funny is there don’t seem to be any what I would call “in between” approval reports, you either get approved immediately or fall into the long haul bucket.  And despite several posts trying to sort out some kind of trend there doesn’t seem to be any valid connection to recent travel frequency, countries visited, employment status, residence changes, and so on.   The other interesting, and maybe frustrating, aspect is that some renewals get approved outright while others require a follow-on interview.  Again no discernible reason other than random selection.  The downside is that if you get selected for a follow-on interview finding and scheduling an interview can take weeks if not months.  Our fingers are crossed that we first get approved here around the end of September and that neither of us has to do an interview.    

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My GE card arrived in the mail yesterday. I did the online application (first time doing this) in August and was surprised to get a notification in only a few weeks that I'd passed the first step and could make an appointment. So I looked at the appointment calendar for September and it was all full except for one day. September 11 had openings, sort of ironic. So I grabbed the appointment.

 

I'm close enough to Newark that it wasn't a long drive, just the hell of finding the short-term parking. I was early, so I sat and waited outside the office--signs tell you NOT to go to the door, just sit and wait. I was 15 minutes early and was just taking out the book I'd brought with me when someone came out and said I could go right in. Interviewer was pleasant and it didn't take long. I was out of the terminal a few minutes before my scheduled interview time. Got the approval email that night and the card yesterday. 

 

I was expecting all the steps to take longer. I guess it pays to have "no wants, no warrants," as they say on cop shows. 😀

 

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13 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 I was early, so I sat and waited outside the office--signs tell you NOT to go to the door, just sit and wait.

 

I remember that sign at the location where we went for our interviews.  Hubby (adorable, but SO naive about some things) said "But how will they know we're here?"   I pointed to the 14 cameras in the ceiling and told him "They'll know."  LOL

 

Smooth Sailing!  🙂🙂🙂

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For whatever reason new GE applications seem to be getting processed very quickly versus the renewal grind.  Our best friends, who we met cruising by the way, stopped getting PreCheck a few months ago.   They weren’t enrolled in TSA PreCheck and probably getting it through their advanced frequent flyer status and random selection.  TSA has supposedly started clamping down on non-members getting PreCheck so they decided to enroll in one of the programs.  After watching us breeze through US Customs and Immigration a couple of times they decided on Global Entry for that and the added PreCheck benefit.  Only cost $15 more than just PreCheck.  Anyhow, they were approved and interviewed in just a few weeks and they had applied after we initiated our GE renewals.   Should note that Customs and Border Protection recognizes they are behind in GE renewals and are extending eligibility up to 12 months if the renewal was submitted after April 2019 and if your GE enrollment had not reached its expiration date.

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18 minutes ago, Randyk47 said:

For whatever reason new GE applications seem to be getting processed very quickly versus the renewal grind.  Our best friends, who we met cruising by the way, stopped getting PreCheck a few months ago.   They weren’t enrolled in TSA PreCheck and probably getting it through their advanced frequent flyer status and random selection.  TSA has supposedly started clamping down on non-members getting PreCheck so they decided to enroll in one of the programs.  After watching us breeze through US Customs and Immigration a couple of times they decided on Global Entry for that and the added PreCheck benefit.  Only cost $15 more than just PreCheck.  Anyhow, they were approved and interviewed in just a few weeks and they had applied after we initiated our GE renewals.   Should note that Customs and Border Protection recognizes they are behind in GE renewals and are extending eligibility up to 12 months if the renewal was submitted after April 2019 and if your GE enrollment had not reached its expiration date.

 

I was expecting the process to take longer. It doesn't make sense to me that new applications would be faster than renewals. 

 

I don't fly out of the US a lot, and mostly it's to England and I sail home. Brooklyn port (QM2) has always been quick to get through. And for a while Mobile Passport made Port Everglades easy. I usually got precheck from United. So I never bothered about GE. But Port Everglades doesn't do mobile passport any more and I didn't get precheck last time I flew. So I said, just do it. For $15 extra it didn't make sense to do precheck and not GE. 

 

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21 minutes ago, 3rdGenCunarder said:

 

I was expecting the process to take longer. It doesn't make sense to me that new applications would be faster than renewals. 

 

I don't fly out of the US a lot, and mostly it's to England and I sail home. Brooklyn port (QM2) has always been quick to get through. And for a while Mobile Passport made Port Everglades easy. I usually got precheck from United. So I never bothered about GE. But Port Everglades doesn't do mobile passport any more and I didn't get precheck last time I flew. So I said, just do it. For $15 extra it didn't make sense to do precheck and not GE. 

 

 

I haven’t read anything recently but I think last year CBP and at least one of the cruise lines (RCCL?) tested using Global Entry kiosk for disembarkation.   I know for our one entry in Port Everglades at Terminal 19 there were no kiosks and the one lane signed for Global Entry was not operating.   The real benefit of GE for us has been reentries at airports on the way home from our Med cruises and a Mexican resort trip.   Of course PreCheck for our domestic personal and business travel is a nice benefit.   

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1 minute ago, Randyk47 said:

 

I haven’t read anything recently but I think last year CBP and at least one of the cruise lines (RCCL?) tested using Global Entry kiosk for disembarkation.   I know for our one entry in Port Everglades at Terminal 19 there were no kiosks and the one lane signed for Global Entry was not operating.   The real benefit of GE for us has been reentries at airports on the way home from our Med cruises and a Mexican resort trip.   Of course PreCheck for our domestic personal and business travel is a nice benefit.   

 

I've used the kiosk system for entry into Canada at Montreal airport and for boarding a ship in Vancouver. So fast and easy! 

 

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On 6/15/2019 at 7:43 PM, *Miss G* said:

😳or with my GE, tied to my NEXUS, and they saw me with about a 5 minute wait.

 

After seeing this thread I remembered I needed to update my new drivers license information.  When I logged in I saw I am due to renew again.  The last renewal my husband got approved and I got called for another interview.  I hope I can get approved without an interview this time.  Except they’re moving to facial recognition, now, so I may not be so lucky.  I always seem to get the grouchy ones.

I was petrified at the ATL GE off airport site.  Everyone in the waiting area was super quiet and the reception guy boomed "passport please" as soon as I walked in, no smile, no greeting, no eye contact and was just abrupt. 😲  I drove 45 minutes to get there and asked to use the "facilities", the look I got from the "greeter" would scare anyone, he just pointed to the door and said "in there".

The interviewer was not much nicer.

 

Manner classes for public employees should be mandatory!

 

If I didn't have such hideous drive back, I would have stopped somewhere and had a drink🙄.

Edited by Judyrem

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I hope this is not considered a "hijack" of a thread, but I wanted to share my recent GE story and hope to get some insight or advice.  Upon recent receipt of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, I immediately applied for GE.  My application was approved in a couple of weeks.  Then I started looking for appointments at my home airport BWI.  Nothing is available online.  I called the office and listened to a recording (did this twice).  The recording indicated that appointments were walk in and available M-F beginning in the afternoon (2PM I think) until later in the evening (9PM, I think) and on alternating Saturdays.  The recording did not provide a reference point for me to figure out which Saturdays were available . I left two messages inquiring about the Saturday dates.  No return call.  I also spoke with a colleague and she indicated she did a walk in after work (during the week) and it worked out.  On my third attempt to reach the CBP office at BWI, I used a different prompt and was connected to a CBP agent.  I was told by CBP that there are no appointments available, just walk in, and no evening hours or Saturday hours (contrary to their recorded message).  I hope to make it to BWI and try the walk in option this fall.  I am flying to MCO in November and FLL in February.  Online I could not secure an appointment at either airport.  I will keep trying to make an online appointment at all three locations, and plan to take my approval and documentation to MCO in November to see if the CBP office will accept a walk in.  

 

Has anyone on this thread had a similar experience and been successful as a walk in?

 

Thank you.

BaltimoreCruise 

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22 hours ago, BaltimoreCruise said:

I hope this is not considered a "hijack" of a thread, but I wanted to share my recent GE story and hope to get some insight or advice.  Upon recent receipt of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, I immediately applied for GE.  My application was approved in a couple of weeks.  Then I started looking for appointments at my home airport BWI.  Nothing is available online.  I called the office and listened to a recording (did this twice).  The recording indicated that appointments were walk in and available M-F beginning in the afternoon (2PM I think) until later in the evening (9PM, I think) and on alternating Saturdays.  The recording did not provide a reference point for me to figure out which Saturdays were available . I left two messages inquiring about the Saturday dates.  No return call.  I also spoke with a colleague and she indicated she did a walk in after work (during the week) and it worked out.  On my third attempt to reach the CBP office at BWI, I used a different prompt and was connected to a CBP agent.  I was told by CBP that there are no appointments available, just walk in, and no evening hours or Saturday hours (contrary to their recorded message).  I hope to make it to BWI and try the walk in option this fall.  I am flying to MCO in November and FLL in February.  Online I could not secure an appointment at either airport.  I will keep trying to make an online appointment at all three locations, and plan to take my approval and documentation to MCO in November to see if the CBP office will accept a walk in.  

 

Has anyone on this thread had a similar experience and been successful as a walk in?

 

Thank you.

BaltimoreCruise 

 

I can’t speak for every CBP office.  Four plus years ago the office at San Antonio International (SAT) had a sign saying “no walk-in interviews”.   There apparently is no fixed agency policy that walk-in appointments are or are not allowed so it differs from office to office.  I’m hoping we get full approval on our renewals and don’t have to be reinterviewed.  Some folks who applied for renewal are reporting they got approval without interview and others reporting they got conditional approval and had to schedule an interview.  That could be an issue locally as the only reason SAT is considered an international airport is because of the few flights that come in here from Central and South America.   That has meant when they were looking for CBP agents to help at the land border so SAT with its Spanish speaking agents got leveraged to provide support.  Not sure how many or how it has impacted interviews.  Four years ago I initially found a slot some 90 days out.  By checking virtually every morning and afternoon over about two weeks I was able to keep finding closer slots until I hit one that was about a week out.   

Edited by Randyk47

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The BWI website says the hours are M-F from 2:15 to 5:15p.  Same info on the CBP site.  

 

"The enrollment center at BWI Marshall Airport is located on the lower level of the international terminal."

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Thanks Randyk47 and bEwAbG.  Part of my issue with the CBP is that the information for BWI is inconsistent.  Unless the voicemail message has changed in the past week, it did not have the same information as the CBP site.  And, the information from the CBP agent that I spoke with was different.  As Randyk47 indicated in the response, I will be checking twice each day and hope that something opens up at the three airports I will be flying.  I also plan to try the 'walk in' route if I am unable to schedule an appointment.  

 

Thank you again for your insight.

BaltimoreCruise

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