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6 Ways To Breeze Through Airport Security Lines

6 Ways To Breeze Through Airport Security Lines

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by Alanna Smith
Content Quality Editor

It's happened to all of us. That moment of panic when you enter the airport to see a group of people the size of your high school graduating class waiting at the security line. You don't have time for this—you'd trade away your phone to be at the front of that line.

Lucky for you, your mateys here at TravelPirates have found six "trusted traveler" programs & tools to help you speed through security or customs. Check them out below:


TSA Pre✓®
While you may have seen this on your boarding pass in the past (lucky you!), you may not have known that this is actually a program you can join.

What Is It?TSA Pre✓® allows you access to shorter security lines at participating U.S. airports. In addition, you won't have to take your laptop and liquids out, or remove your shoes or belt.
Where Does It Work?Available at 180 U.S. airports; works for 30 participating airlines (see list here).
Who's It For?U.S. citizens; U.S. lawful permanent residents
How To ApplyOnline application; visit enrollment center to verify ID. Apply here.
Cost$85 for a 5-year membership

CLEAR
This program can be used in conjunction with TSA Pre✓® to make security lines as stress-free as humanly possible.

What Is It?CLEAR is a program that registers your identity and pre-clears you from having to wait in the ID-check security line.
Where Does It Work?Available at 17 U.S. airports (see list here), with Los Angeles coming soon.
Who's It For?U.S. citizens; U.S. lawful permanent residents
How To ApplyOnline application; visit CLEAR location to verify ID. Apply here.
Cost$179 for a 1-year membership; free for children under 18 while accompanying an enrolled family member

Global Entry
This popular program can cut an hour or more from your travel time. Plan ahead, though, because interview slots fill up fast.

What Is It?Before passing through U.S. customs to enter or re-enter the United States, Global Entry members can use special kiosks where they present their passport/permanent resident card and fingerprints, and fill out a customs form. After that's done, they can head out to baggage without ever waiting in the dreaded passport control line.
Includes TSA Pre✓®
Where Does It Work?The kiosks are currently available at 59 airports. These include international airports with U.S. Customs, like Dublin, Ireland. See the full list here.
Who's It For?U.S. citizens; U.S. lawful permanent residents; citizens of certain other countries (see list here)
How To ApplyOnline application; schedule and attend an interview/background check; provide fingerprints/ID. Apply here.
Cost$100 for a 5-year membership (Note: this is considered a "non-refundable application fee," and does not guarantee you will be cleared for Global Entry.)

Certain travel cards will reimburse you for your Global Entry application fee. Learn more about travel credit cards here.

Mobile Passport
This handy free app helps you to expedite the customs process without busting your budget.

What Is It?Mobile Passport Control allows you to submit your passport and customs declaration information with your phone instead of paper using a free app. You still have to go through customs, but in a special, speedier lane.
Where Does It Work?Usable at 22 U.S. airports and 1 cruise port (see list here).
Who's It For?U.S. citizens with a valid U.S. passport; Canadian citizens with both a valid Canadian passport and B1 or B2 visa status
How To ApplyDownload free app here. Fill out profile on app.
CostFree

NEXUS
While a two-interview process may make getting NEXUS a chore, the price can't be beat, especially since it includes Global Entry and TSA Pre✓®.

What Is It?NEXUS allows faster processing for travelers crossing between the U.S. and Canada. It is available whether you are traveling by road, air, or sea.
Includes Global Entry and TSA Pre✓®
Where Does It Work?NEXUS works at certain border crossings, ports, and airports between the U.S. and Canada.
Who's It For?U.S. citizens; U.S. lawful permanent residents | Canadian citizens; lawful permanent residents of Canada
How To ApplyOnline application; schedule and attend an interview/background check; provide fingerprints/ID. Apply here. (Note: you will have to pass background checks with both U.S. and Canadian officials. Interviews take place only at certain locations, so make sure there's one close by before applying.)
Cost$50 for a 5-year membership

SENTRI
SENTRI is an excellent choice for travelers who drive between the U.S. and Mexico. It also includes the 3 government programs listed above: Global Entry, NEXUS, and TSA Pre✓®.

What Is It?SENTRI offers special fast lanes for people traveling between the U.S. and Mexico by land.
Includes Global Entry, NEXUS, and TSA Pre✓®
Where Does It Work?SENTRI lanes are available at southern land border crossings into the U.S..
Who's It For?No citizenship or age requirements; see eligibility rules here
How To ApplyOnline application; schedule and attend an interview/background check; provide fingerprints/ID. Apply here.
Cost$122.25 for a 5-year membership

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