The Basics of TSA Precheck

What is TSA Precheck?

TSA Precheck is a service available to select passengers traveling within the U.S. which allows for an expedited security experience at airports.

What are the major advantages?

According to the TSA’s website, the average person utilizing the TSA precheck line waits less than five minutes.

Additionally, those with TSA Precheck do no have to remove their shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops, or 3 oz liquids from their bags.

The bottom line is that Precheck status will save you a lot of time and hassle when it comes to traveling.

Who Is Eligible?

Precheck is available to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and lawful permanent residents, without any criminal record.

How Do I Apply?

Visit the TSA website and click on apply now. The entire application should take less than 5 minutes.

There are 4 steps to follow.

In step 1, you will be prompted to enter your personal details such as your name, birthday, your height, and hair color.

In step 2, you will be asked to answer several ‘yes’/’no’ questions to confirm your eligibility. For example: Are you a U.S. Citizen?

Step 3 will ask you to provide the details of what government issues documents you will be bringing to confirm your identity. Most people will use their driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport. The full list is available on the TSA website.

In Step 4, the last step, you will be required to make an appointment for an in-person interview at an enrollment center. There are over 400 to choose from.

How Does the In-Person Interview Work?

The appointment itself will be ten minutes or less. Generally, the enrollment center will confirm your name on the documents you provide, perform a background check, and take your fingerprints.

*Note* Your legal name must match the documents you provide.

Is there a fee?

Yes. TSA Precheck costs $85, but once approved, your status is valid for 5 years. You will pay at the appointment by credit card, money order, company check or with a certified/cashier’s check.

What If My Credit Card Offers a Credit for Precheck?

You should use that card to pay for the Precheck application. The credit card issuer will then issue you a statement credit.

Do Children Have to Apply?

If a child is under the age of 12, they may join their parent in the TSA Precheck security line.

How Long Does It Take?

Once you’ve completed the application, it may take up to 60 days, but generally you’ll receive an email with a Known Traveler Number in 3-5 days.

The KTN is what you will tie to your airline profile or when booking your ticket to ensure you have Precheck.

Are There Other Ways to Obtain Precheck?

Yes! I applied for Global Entry and it came with TSA Precheck. Use the number on the back of your pass card. You can find more information about it here.

If you have NEXUS or SENTRI, those also come with Precheck. Visit here for more information.

Lastly, if you are a U.S. military member, you may obtain Precheck by using your Department of Defense number from your common access card.

If It Worth It?

If you travel at least once a year, I 100% think it is. Having had TSA Precheck for three years now, I will never go without it again. It’s saved me so much time and hassle.