TSA PreCheck: An Overview
TSA PreCheck is a program in the United States that allows eligible travelers to experience expedited security screening at participating airports. If you travel a lot and want to wait in line less, it might be an option for you! For our team, we travel with a lot of gear. TSA PreCheck is worth it because we don’t have to take every single camera out of its bag because we are verified travelers.
Here are some key points about TSA PreCheck:
- Expedited Security Screening: Members can enjoy faster security screening processes at airports. This typically includes shorter lines, keeping your shoes, belts, and light jackets on, and leaving laptops and compliant liquids in your carry-on bag.
- Eligibility: U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and lawful permanent residents can apply. Certain other groups, such as members of the military, may also be eligible. However, not everyone is guaranteed approval.
- Application Process: To join, you need to apply online, undergo a background check, and complete an in-person appointment for fingerprinting. There is an application fee, and membership is valid for five years.
- Cost: The application fee was $78 when we applied. Some credit cards and loyalty programs offer reimbursement for this fee, so it’s worth checking if you already have access through other means.
- Is it Worth It?: Whether TSA PreCheck is worth it depends on your travel habits. If you frequently fly domestically and value the convenience of faster security screening, it can be a worthwhile investment. It is particularly beneficial for business travelers or individuals who fly frequently for leisure.
- Global Entry: If you also travel internationally, you might consider applying for Global Entry, which includes TSA PreCheck benefits and provides expedited U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing when entering the country.
To apply for TSA PreCheck, you can follow these steps:
- Pre-Enrollment Online:
- Start by pre-enrolling online on the official TSA PreCheck website. Fill out the required information and submit the application.
- Schedule an In-Person Appointment:
- After completing the online pre-enrollment, you will need to schedule an in-person appointment at an enrollment center. During the appointment, you will provide biographical information, fingerprints, and other necessary details.
- Documents and Fee:
- Make sure to bring the required documents to your in-person appointment. This may include proof of citizenship and identity. Check the TSA website for the list of acceptable documents.
- Pay the non-refundable application fee.
- In-Person Appointment:
- Attend your scheduled in-person appointment at the enrollment center. During this appointment, your fingerprints will be taken, and your documents will be reviewed.
- Background Check:
- The TSA will conduct a background check based on the information provided during the application process.
- Notification of Approval:
- If approved, you will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN). This number is used when booking flights to ensure you receive TSA PreCheck benefits.
- Use TSA PreCheck at Airports:
- Once approved, you can start using TSA PreCheck lanes at participating airports. Enjoy the expedited security screening process.
It’s important to note that eligibility for TSA PreCheck is not guaranteed, and applicants may be denied for various reasons. Additionally, program details and fees may have changed since this post, so check the official TSA website for the most current information and any updates to the application process.