I have come to find after having discussions with various individuals, that there is much confusion about how TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry work. So I felt it necessary to address this to help people better understand the two.
Global Entry is a service you apply (and pay) for to re-enter into the United States in an expedited fashion after traveling internationally. The cost of this service is $100.00; however, again, you must apply and be approved in order to receive this benefit, as the service is not guaranteed with the payment, and the payment is non-refundable. In order to be considered, create an account online, which you will use to submit your application and non-refundable fee (https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/how-apply). Your application will then be reviewed, and you will be contacted to appear for an in-person interview if you have been selected to move on to the next step. If ultimately accepted to receive Global Entry, you will have the service for five years. Of note, Global Entry also includes TSA Pre-Check, which I will discuss next. Lastly, Global Entry is only for re-entry into the United States. Now, what about TSA Pre-Check?
TSA Pre-Check is a service that you apply for to lessen the amount of time you have to spend going through the TSA line when traveling. With this five-year service, you go through an exclusive TSA line where you do not have to take off your shoes, you can keep your liquids in your bag, and you do not have to remove your electronics–all of which you would normally have to do in the standard TSA line. In order to apply, you must go online and submit an application along with a fee (https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/workflows?servicecode=11115V&service=pre-enroll). The fee to apply is $85.00, which like Global Entry, is non-refundable, and the process is almost identical to the Global Entry procedure as described above. So if you are not approved for whatever reason, you will not be receiving this money back. Of note, not all airlines participate in the TSA Pre-Check program, so be sure to check in advance to avoid any surprises. Lastly, some of the much smaller U.S. airports do not partake in the program so this is also something to be aware of.
The Take-Home Message: Global Entry includes TSA Pre-Check. So if you are approved for Global Entry, you will also be enrolled in the TSA Pre-Check program; however, TSA Pre-Check does not include Global Entry. If you do not plan to travel internationally, it is more than likely not worth it to spend the extra money for Global Entry, and you should only look into TSA Pre-Check. If you plan to travel internationally, then the more expensive Global Entry program is probably worth your while.