Over the Thanksgiving weekend I was waiting at the airport with my son as he was preparing to board his flight.  He noticed the CLEAR signs and the travelers who visited the CLEAR kiosks then proceeded to a separate queue for security.  He inquired as to how CLEAR is different from the regular TSA line.  Let’s get educated together on all of the trusted traveler programs as well as changes coming with the REAL ID Act…

REAL ID Act

  • Enacted in 2005 by Congress and sets certain standards for driver’s licenses and identification cards
  • Changes are coming in January 2018
  • For travelers in states that are Real ID-compliant with licenses that are marked as Real their identification cards will be adequate to fly domestically
  • Identification issued by states that are non-compliant but have an extension to comply, will also be accepted
  • The status of each state can be found on the Department of Homeland Security’s website
  • As of the end of November, 25 states were compliant, while 17 states and territories were non-compliant but with extensions; Four (4) states had limited extensions, and one territory, Guam, was still under review; Nine (9) states were non-compliant
  • Full enforcement will begin in 2020
    • states will be listed as either compliant or non-compliant as all extensions will have expired at that point
    • travelers in non-compliant states will need to produce federally acceptable identification to fly; acceptable forms of ID to fly include enhanced driver’s licenses (available in Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington), a U.S. passport or passport card, trusted traveler cards like Global Entry or a U.S. military ID
  • Only about 35% to 40% of the U.S. population has a passport, in some states that number may be as low as 15%
  • Travelers in non-compliant states should apply for passports early
    • 2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which required that all U.S. Citizens have passports to travel to and from the U.S. and Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean as a result, the State Department is expecting a large influx of passport renewals

TSA Pre 

Expedites traveler screening through TSA security checkpoints

How It Works

  • Priority screening
  • Do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets
  • Available at 180+ airports and through 19 airlines

Application Process

  • Apply online and schedule an appointment at one of 380+ enrollment centers
  • Undergo a 10 minute, in person appointment that includes a background check and fingerprinting
  • Add your Known Traveler Number to every ticket

Cost

  • Five year, $85.00 membership

CLEAR

CLEAR is a privately-owned trusted-traveler program

How It Works

  • Preferred access to airports, stadiums, arenas and more
  • Separate lane for identity verification
    • Utilize biometric authentication (fingerprint or eye scan) at kiosk rather than wait in the TSA line
  • After identity verification a CLEAR representative will escort you to the security screening; if already enrolled in the TSA Pre-Check, you can proceed directly to the Pre-Check line
  • Clear advertises the ability to go through security in 5 minutes or less
  • Currently available in only a handful of airports, 14 as of this writing, with more soon to come

Application Process

  • Start application online and complete it in person
  • Complete application in person at the airport presenting acceptable form of ID and submitting biometrics

Cost

  • Standard annual membership is $15.00 per month, billed annually at $179.00
  • Kids under 18 are free
  • Certain corporations offer CLEAR as a membership benefit
  • Active military members can receive a 15% discount off the annual membership fee
  • Delta Diamond Medallion members are offered a complimentary membership

http://news.delta.com/clear-enrollment-pricing-now-available-skymiles-members

Global Entry

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance upon arrival in the United States

How It Works

  • Program members proceed to Global Entry kiosks in the customs area
  • Using a machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card, members place their fingerprints on the scanner for fingerprint verification
  • Complete a customs declaration form at the kiosk
  • A transaction receipt is issued and the member is directed to the baggage claim and the exit

Application Process

  • Complete a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account
  • Log into GOES account to complete the application, pay the $100.00 non-refundable fee
  • CBP will review the application, if the application is conditionally approved, applicants will then be instructed to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center
  • As of this writing, available in 59 airports, including international locations such as Abu Dhabi, Dublin and Saipan

Cost

  • $100.00 one-time fee with application; fee is non-refundable even if an application is denied

NEXUS

Allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada

How It Works:

  • Program members receive a radio frequency identification card to use when entering the United States and Canada at designated NEXUS air, land and marine ports of entry
  • Reduce wait times by using:
    • Designated processing lanes at land border crossings
    • NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada
    • Global Entry kiosks upon arrival in the United States
    • A marine telephone reporting center to report arrival into the United States and Canada

Application Process:

  • Complete a Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account
  • Log into GOES account to complete the application, pay the $50.00 non-refundable fee
  • CBP will review the application, if the application is conditionally approved, applicants will then be instructed to schedule an interview at a NEXUS Enrollment Center
  • Available in 9 Canadian airports

Cost

  • $50.00 one-time fee with application; fee is non-refundable even if an application is denied

Certain credit cards and airlines miles rewards programs offer discounts or waived fees for some of the above programs.

 

There’s an app for that….

Stay up-to-date on airport wait times with flightSpeak.  flightSpeak is an app that provides security wait times at airports in addition to airport shopping locations, hours, coupons and restaurant information.  As of this writing, flightSpeak has information for 302 airports and 53,365 stores.