How To Get the TSA Pre-Check A guide on Getting the TSA Pre-Check

Are you tired of long airport security lines, where you have to take off your shoes, belt, and empty your pockets? If you are, you’re not alone. TSA PreCheck is here to make your travel experience smoother. In this article, we’ll break down what TSA PreCheck is and how you can easily apply for it.

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What is TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck is a program that started in 2011, and it lets approved travelers breeze through security checks at airports. Currently, over 32 million people enjoy the benefits of TSA PreCheck. The program collaborates with more than 80 airlines and is available in 200 airports across the United States.

Unlike the regular security line, TSA PreCheck passengers don’t have to remove their shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops, or small liquids from their bags. This means less time in line and more time to relax before your flight. In fact, in April 2023, 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes in a security line.

Why Get TSA PreCheck?

Traveling can be stressful, especially with long security lines. TSA PreCheck offers a solution. In February 2023, 90% of TSA PreCheck passengers passed through airport security in under five minutes. The secret lies in dedicated TSA PreCheck lanes, where you can keep your shoes, belts, and more on, making your journey hassle-free.

How to Apply & Eligibility for TSA PreCheck

Before you apply, ensure you’re eligible for TSA PreCheck. The program is open to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and lawful permanent residents without a criminal record. Children under 12 don’t need their own PreCheck number and can go with a parent or guardian in dedicated lanes. For kids aged 13-17, they can accompany a parent or guardian, but they must have the TSA PreCheck indicator on their boarding pass.

  1. Online Application: Start by visiting the TSA website and clicking “Apply Now.” This will take you to the official TSA PreCheck application page.
  2. Provide Information: The online application is straightforward and divided into four easy steps. In the first step, you’ll enter your basic information like your name, gender, date of birth, email, and phone number.
  3. Confirm Eligibility: The second step involves confirming your eligibility by answering a series of yes or no questions about your citizenship, residency, and criminal record.
  4. Documents: In the third step, you’ll list the documents you’ll bring to your TSA PreCheck appointment, such as a U.S. driver’s license or a passport.
  5. Select Enrollment Center: In the final step, choose an enrollment center based on your ZIP code, and schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome, but those with appointments get priority.

Alternative Ways to Get TSA PreCheck

If you’re already part of other government programs, you might be eligible for TSA PreCheck without a separate application:

  • Global Entry: If you’re approved for Global Entry, you’re automatically approved for TSA PreCheck.
  • Nexus and Sentri: If you’re approved for Nexus or Sentri, you’re also automatically enrolled in TSA PreCheck.
  • Military Personnel: Active members of the armed forces can get TSA PreCheck benefits by using their Department of Defense identification number as their KTN.

TSA PreCheck Appointment

During your 10-minute appointment, bring the documents listed in your online application, including one photo ID and one citizenship/immigration document. You’ll go through a background check, have your fingerprints taken, and review the information you provided.

The cost for TSA PreCheck is $78, payable by credit card, money order, company check, or certified/cashier’s check. Some credit cards also offer statement credits for the application fee, essentially waiving the fee.

How Long Does it Take to Get TSA PreCheck?

The time it takes depends on the availability of appointments at your nearest airport. After your interview, you’ll receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) by email within 3-5 days, though in some cases, it might take up to 60 days. Your TSA PreCheck membership will be valid for five years, so you won’t have to go through this process often. Remember, approval isn’t guaranteed, and those with disqualifying criminal offenses won’t be refunded the $78 fee.

To ensure a seamless experience, renew your TSA PreCheck membership at least 60 days before it expires. After receiving your KTN, make sure to add it to your flight reservations and airline loyalty program profiles before checking in to enjoy TSA PreCheck benefits.

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