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Which Trusted Travel Program is Best For You?


traveler programs infographic

Many people planning to fly have questions about traveler programs such as Global Entry, TSA Precheck, and Mobile Passport Control. Can they make your trip easier? Will they expedite the time you spend going through security, customs, and immigration? Are they worth the cost?

Here’s the lowdown on these three popular traveler programs, so you can decide which one works best for you.

people waiting in line

Global Entry is the most common immigration screening program used by travelers living in the U.S. It provides speedier processing through U.S. Customs and Border Protection when you're returning home from traveling internationally, by cruise or by air.

Approved travelers receive a membership card and a known traveler number (KTN), so they can confirm their information at Global Entry kiosks. Global Entry helps alleviate standing in long lines while your passport and traveler information is verified, so the process to re-enter the country goes faster.

What You Need To Know

  • You need to submit an application, undergo an interview, and be fingerprinted.
  • The cost is about $100.
  • There is a wait time (varies between 4 weeks and 6 months).
  • Every traveler must have their own Global Entry membership to use this service, including children.


  • Increased ease and speed moving through customs and immigration after returning to the U.S. from international destinations.
  • Includes access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Membership is good for five years.
  • U.S. citizens who travel internationally more than a few times a year will appreciate the benefits this membership offers.

tsa precheck

TSA PreCheck is used to identify low-risk travelers and enable them to move more quickly through security lines within the U.S. and its territories. TSA PreCheck is included in Global Entry membership, but if you only travel within the U.S, this may be all you need.

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What You Need To Know

  • You need to submit an application, undergo an interview, and be fingerprinted.
  • The cost is about $80.
  • You won’t have to remove shoes, belts, and light outerwear, or remove liquids and larger electronic items from your bags. when moving through designated PreCheck security lanes.
  • Membership is not required for minors under the age of 12, if traveling with parents who have TSA PreCheck. Minors over the age of 12 must have their own PreCheck membership.


  • Increased speed moving through security lines when traveling domestically in the U.S.
  • A lower-cost traveler program (compared to Global Entry).
  • Useful for families traveling domestically, as an alternative to Global Entry.

passport control sign

Mobile Passport Control is a free app that can speed up your passage through customs and immigration at 31 U.S. international airports and other U.S border crossings. Note: not all U.S. entry points use this program, so check your airport/port of entry before you travel.

When you have the app on your smartphone, and when you're headed back into the U.S. from an international destination, enter your traveler information and photo and have them screened before you actually arrive. Upon arrival, follow signs to the lines for Mobile Passport.

What You Need To Know

  • No application process.
  • Free to download and use, via the Mobile Passport Control app.
  • Requires you to manually enter your travel information at least four hours before arriving.
  • Not used at all U.S. entry points.


  • A no-cost, easy method to speed up moving through customs and immigration after an international trip—without an application process.
  • Useful for travelers who don’t leave the country often and always return via a participating border crossing site.