Those following our posts earlier this year may have noticed an increase in travels, especially during the first quarter of 2016. Several times it was VERY close as the lines were long and time tight. This picture is from a recent trip, recording the lengthy line in our most commonly used airport!
Last week, after a 5 minute interview and an approximate 10 minute wait in the lobby, the gun wearing customs agent announce…
“You have just been approved for Global TSA pre-check! A card will be mailed to you in a few weeks, but your known traveler number is ready to use.”
Here is the US Customs website, here is the TSA website, but before you sign up….read on!
How Difficult was the Process?
Not knowing just how tedious the process would be, expectations were low. First a couple of items worth mentioning.
Global TSA versus TSA (Transportation Security Administration)
Global costs $100 for five years and TSA is $80- Global gets you TSA automatically, TSA does not get your global. Global allows you fast track passage through international travel BUT Global TSA requires an interview at limited locations. Fortunately a location is near our residence.
Also worth noting, Global scheduled interviews are full for months in advance. Walk-ins are welcome, but are completed as time allows around the scheduled appointments. TSA has various and more numerous interview locations. Through word of mouth of others, TSA seems to be faster process.
One last item, Global requires you have a passport, TSA does not.
Our Family Time Line Process
After deciding we wanted the entire family to be able to have the option of Global TSA, here is our time line-
Passports – yaya, none of us had one- We had a tough time with Dallas scheduling and found relief in a neighboring state on family travel. Ten days turn around from the time of submission — NICE – Cost about $125 per person – tedious application and picture process, understandably due to world events (Copies already saved in our New Personal Vault and used several times for proof of birthdates for tennis tournaments)
GOES – Global Online Enrollment System – One week of processing for approval three weeks delayed to get a scheduled appointment – Cost $100 – Easy process to complete application and interview
Good News- due to a sudden (scheduled last week) out of town, FAST turn around appointment with a very small window to make the return flight… the first TSA use may be handy and comforting. At least at this point, overcoming the hurdles and costs seems worth it!
Bad News – We were informed by the custom agent during our interview that our 8 and 11 year old ALSO need a pass, not just a passport, and would not be allowed to fast travel with us … rats…
If you think you might travel out of the country (recall Canada and Mexico need passports now) soon, go with the Global. If you have no intentions, regular TSA will do the trick.
Have patience, the process is time consuming, but for all of our protection!
Have a Great “Fast Traveling” day!
John A. Kvale CFA, CFP