Because I travel a lot, I applied for the so-called “trusted traveler” pass, to get me through airport security and US Customs lines faster, on special security lines. With the impending sequestration budget cuts for federal employees, including TSA and Customs and warnings of up to 90 minute waits for TSA and Customs screenings, I’m glad I did. The priority lines are much shorter and less stressful even without sequestration cutbacks.
I’ve been speeding through security lines in the US with these great perks — I don’t have to take off my shoes or remove my computer or carry-on liquids from their carry-bag. But the absolute most important bonus is that I don’t have to go through those awful, intrusive X-ray machines. That alone is worth the $100 cost of the card. Click here to read the article by my friend Johnny Jet on why he opts out of them, and you should, too. It’s because of radiation, not privacy concerns.
The official name of the TSA pre-check trusted traveler pass is Global Entry. You can register online – click here to start the process online – by filing such information as US Passport and driver’s license numbers, and other information to verify your identity as a US citizen or legal resident. The final step is an in-person interview at a US Customs office, including at many airports, to have your photo taken. My in-person visit was at the US Customs Building in Lower Manhattan, just steps from the World Trade Center.
The Global Entry pass also is honored by several foreign governments, including Canada, Mexico and Netherlands, so you can speed through their customs and immigration process on arrival by showing your card.
I’ve added my Global Entry card number to all my airline frequent flyer membership programs, so it is included when an e-ticket or boarding pass is issued. Smaller US airports aren’t equipped with special Global Entry/TSA Trusted Traveler priority lines, like on my recent return trip from skiing at Steamboat, Colorado, but you can still use the card as ID instead of your drivers license, and being recognized as a road warrior will most likely get you directed to the fastest and most efficient of the “regular” lines.
Safe and speedy travels.
- My article on documents your child needs to travel, with or without you, on sister website Living on the Cheap.