Don’t Pay for TSA PreCheck
If you get my weekly newsletter (sign up here) or visited the website last week (here’s the story) then you know that I have a love/hate relationship with TSA PreCheck. I love it because the line is usually much shorter and I don’t have to take off my shoes, belt and jacket, etc.—but at the same time I sort of hate it because it seems they’ve been allowing totally random, unapproved people enjoy the benefits of the program. Here’s my rant on the subject.
However, according to the New York Times, it looks like the Transportation Security Administration plans to end the free rides for those who haven’t applied. So, you’ll need to get TSA PreCheck if you want the benefits—but you don’t need to pay for it. Instead, sign up and pay for one of these:
- Global Entry—for international travel — TSA PreCheck costs $85 for five years, which seems like a fair deal. But if you travel internationally at all (and especially if you do it frequently), it makes sense to instead get Global Entry, which gives you expedited processing through CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) at airports and land borders upon arrival in the U.S. as well as TSA PreCheck for only $15 more ($100 total) and is also good for five years!
- NEXUS—for travel to Canada — An even better deal, if you travel to and from Canada often, is to get NEXUS. It’s basically the same thing as Global Entry except only for Canada—and it also includes Global Entry and TSA PreCheck and only costs $50 for five years. The downside is that you need to have your face-to-face appointment in Canada or one of their enrollment centers near the Canadian border, like in Seattle or Niagara Falls.
- Sentri—for travel to Mexico — For those frequent travelers to and from Mexico, get Sentri ($122.25) as it’s just like NEXUS but for Mexico and it too includes Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.
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