HOW TO AVOID AIRPORT SECURITY HASSLES

How to Breeze Through U.S. Airport Security and Customs Like a VIP

We want to help our clients have a Top Shelf travel experience from start to finish, including as you go through airport Customs and Security screenings.  

  • For those traveling internationally, of any age, we encourage you sign up for the Global Entry program, which includes TSA Pre✓®.   

  • For those traveling domestically only, we recommend TSA Pre✓® (ages 12 & older) OR CLEAR (ages 18 & older) depending on travel frequency and home airport. 

Let us explain further. 

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FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS

Traveling Internationally, Choose Global Entry…for Everyone!

 

Global Entry gets you through U.S. Customs AND U.S. Security Lines faster.  Why, because Global Entry allows you to use a self-service kiosk to clear customs, and automatically provides you with TSA Pre✓® to get you through U.S. security lines faster.   If you plan to travel internationally, Global Entry is the only program that will expedite processing through U.S. Customs, and is run by the U.S. government.   The benefits are:

  • Reduced wait times with self-serve kiosks at 75+ airports when returning to U.S.

  • No paperwork to be filled out by hand.

  • Includes TSA Pre✓®   for use with domestic travel

To receive Global Entry’s full benefit, enroll all traveling family members since each family member must be signed up separately to streamline the Customs and Security protocols. It wouldn’t make sense for you to breeze through Customs on your return from vacation, only to have to wait for the rest of your family to make it through the impossibly long Customs line! 

What Does Global Entry Cost?

The cost is $100 p/p for a 5-year membership (i.e., $20 per year) for all ages, including infants. 

Once you have Global Entry, do you need anything else? 
 

No, you don’t NEED anything else to easily get through customs and security internationally and domestically.   However, a relatively new program called CLEAR, may be really useful as an ADDITIONAL program to Global Entry.   For more information on CLEAR, review the specific section on it below for Domestic travelers.  

 

So, In Summary What Should International Travelers Enroll In?
 

  1. Apply for Global Entry and also receive TSA Pre✓®

    1. $100 p/p (all ages) and valid for 5 years (i.e. $20 p/year)

    2. Apply for all family members traveling internationally

  2. ALSO, if you are a frequent traveler and your home airport has CLEAR, apply:

    1. $179 p/adult, p/year

    2. Those under 18 traveling with a CLEAR member they may use the CLEAR lanes free of charge.   So very valuable for those traveling frequently with minors. 

How Do You Apply for Global Entry? 

  • Apply Online - Submit the online application

  • Enroll - Schedule & attend your in-person appointment to provide fingerprints, supply citizenship and ID documents, and pay the fee.

  • Once Accepted

    • You will receive a membership card that will last for 5 years.   

    • Know Your “Known ID” Number — Your membership card will have this number and it needs to be recorded on each flight reservation you book.  This number alerts the TSA to your Pre-Check qualification status.  

 

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FOR DOMESTIC TRAVELERS

TSA Pre✓® use to be the only expedited security clearing service for domestic travel.  Now CLEAR is also an option and makes sense for certain travelers.  Allow us to explain below.

TSA Pre✓®  is Uncle Sam’s Security Clearing Service in the U.S. 

TSA Pre✓®  provides expedited security screening within the U.S.   The  benefits are: 

What Does TSA Pre✓® Cost?

Required for those 12 years and older for $85 for a 5-year membership ($17 p/year).  Children 11 and younger may accompany a parent/guardian with TSA Pre✓® in the designated lanes. 

Is There An Alternative to TSA Pre✓® ?   Yes, CLEAR, but what is it? 

Good Question!    CLEAR replaces your photo ID and uses biometrics like your eyes and fingerprints to ‘clear’ you on your way in select U.S. airports, plus in sports stadiums and other arenas.  It is run by a private company.  This in-essence replaces TSA Pre✓®. for those over 18 years old.  The benefits are: 

  • CLEAR is valuable if you are a frequent traveler and live in a city where CLEAR operates so you can bypass the TSA Pre✓® lines.   The CLEAR locations are listed here

  • Children under 18 can use the CLEAR Lane for free when accompanied by a CLEAR member. No enrollment is required for the child. 

  • Also, it can be used at select stadiums and arenas.

  • Lines are typically very short and you & accompanying minors will be placed in the screening line in front of those with TSA Pre✓®.   

CLEAR Cost - The cost for CLEAR is $179 per year for those 18 year and older.  Additional family members who are 18 years and older can be added for $50 each per year.  And as we just stated, children under 18 are free!   


So, In Summary What Should Domestic Travelers Enroll In?
 

  1. If traveling frequently, perhaps one trip p/month, and:

    1. Your home airport has CLEAR, get CLEAR as it will justify the additional expense

      1. $179 p/p 18+, under 18 traveling with a Clear member is free

    2. Your home airport does NOT have Clear, then apply for TSA Pre✓®

      1. $85 p/p for those 12 yrs & older, valid for 5 years


How Do You Apply? 

  • TSA Pre✓®

    • Apply Online - Submit the online application

    • Enroll - Schedule & attend your in-person appointment to provide fingerprints, supply citizenship and ID documents, and pay the fee.

      • TSA Pre✓® :   $85 p/p 12 yrs & older, valid for 5 years

      • Remember to NOT enroll is you are getting global entry as it includes it

      •  Find an enrollment center near you. They are at many major airports

    • Once Accepted

      • You will receive a membership card that will last for 5 years.   

      • Know Your “Known ID” Number — Your membership card will have this number and it needs to be recorded on each flight reservation you book.  This number alerts the TSA to your Pre-Check qualification status.  

  • CLEAR

    • The application process only takes about 5 minutes in the airport for anyone 18 years or older with specific government approved photo identification.

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