Does My Child Need TSA PreCheck Or Kids Global Entry?

Travel2 years ago
Picture of a parent and a child in an airport

Traveling with children brings a whole host of new considerations and questions for a new parent or legal guardian. So before you arrive at the airport it is important that you do your research and make sure that you don't get held up by any unexpected processing hold-ups while trying to catch your flight. One of the big questions you may have might be whether your child needs TSA precheck or kids' global entry.

You may have already applied for a kids passport for your child, but is that enough to get them through the airport and onto the plane? Read below to discover the answer to your questions about kids' global entry and TSA child requirements, and how you need to prepare before you travel.

Airport Travel with Kids - Trusted Traveler Programs Will Make Your Experience Quicker and Easier

if you aren't familiar with the time-saving wonder that is Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, it will be beneficial to check out the benefits of these programs. Trusted traveler programs will allow you access to expedited screening during security checks at the airport, meaning you won't; have to worry about long waits and checks before you can start heading to your gate.

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Here are three of the main providers of Trusted Traveler Programs in US airports:

TSA PreCheck - This service offers expedited processing with its own security lanes. And when you apply for TSA precheck and are approved, you won't have to deal with taking off your shoes, going through a full body scanner, or removing your laptop.

Global Entry - This expedited security screening process is part of the US Customs and Border Protection Service which will allow you to cut down on wait times at security clearance checks by using Global Entry kiosks at eligible airports.

Nexus - This is a joint expedited security screening service provided by both US Customs and Border Protection Service and the Canada Border Services, offering quicker border control checks for their pre-approved members.

Once you have passed all the requirements for one of these trusted traveler programs, then you will have a valid five-year membership which will allow you to cut down on frustration and long waiting times waiting in the normal security lanes.

Naturally, no parent wants the discomfort and extra stress of waiting in queues with tired or over-stimulated children for security checks. But what are the kids' Global Entry enrollment requirements and TSA guidelines for children's travel?

Below we will give you a breakdown of the answers to "Does my Child need TSA Precheck" and "What are the requirements for kids Global Entry?"


What is the TSA Guideline for Children's Travel?

When it comes to TSA child requirements, you will be glad to discover that children ages 12 and under will be able to use TSA precheck security lanes when traveling with a parent or guardians who have their own membership.

So, if you are already a TSA precheck member and all children fall under the age of 13, you don't need to worry about getting them their own TSA precheck membership for kids.

Children who are 13 and older can also access TSA PreCheck lanes as long as their parents are members and the children have a TSA precheck indicator on their boarding pass. However, you should be aware that TSA also states that your child ages 13-17 may be "randomly excluded" from receiving a precheck symbol on their boarding pass and will consequently have to wait in the standard security lanes.

If you are traveling with children ages 17 and above, they will need to apply for their own TSA precheck membership even if their parents or guardians are members.


What are the Requirements for Kid's Global Entry?

In contrast to the TSA guideline for children's travel, it is not enough for you to have Global Entry membership for your children to access the benefits. Under the Global Entry membership scheme, you will need to apply for global entry enrollment for your child as well.

As part of the process, children under the age of 18 applying for Global Entry membership need consent from their parent or legal guardian to apply. They will also need to be accompanied by that adult when they attend their in-person interview at the enrollment center.

The consenting adult does not have to be a member of Global Entry themselves for their child to be approved, (but in all likelihood they will be if they are planning to travel with their family.)

So if you are currently a member of the Global Entry prechecks scheme, you will need to apply for a separate membership for your child if you want to be able to avoid having to process them through normal security lanes.


What are the TSA Child Requirements for Nexus?

As with Global Entry, you will need to apply for a separate membership for your children even if you hold a Nexus membership. However, if your child is 18 and under, you won't need to pay an application fee when enrolling them in the Nexus scheme.


Summary: Does My Child Need TSA PreCheck or Kids Global Entry?

If you are just starting to plan your first airport journey with your child, you will need to take some steps ahead of time to make sure that you are ready. Even if you are not a current member of a Trusted Traveler Program, you might consider it if you want to make your airport processing as stress-free as possible.

In that case, applying for TSA precheck membership will be the most straightforward process as your children aged 12 and under can also access expedited processing. If you are a member of Global Entry, however, you should apply for enrollment for your children as soon as possible as they will need to be present at a precheck interview at an enrollment center before they can access membership.

The answer to "Does my child need TSA precheck" will depend upon their age, but, in the case of kids' global entry requirements you will need to apply for separate membership, no matter what age they are.

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