What is TSA PreCheck (TSA Pre✓®)?

TSA PreCheck is a program that allows approved travelers expedited security screening at certain US airports.

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How do you qualify for TSA PreCheck?

To qualify for TSA PreCheck, you can submit an online application and then complete your application at an enrollment center near you that includes a background check and fingerprinting.

Do you always get TSA PreCheck when you apply?

At this time, only US citizens, US Nationals and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) are eligible for the application.

Additionally, there are three types of disqualifying criminal offenses that may cause TSA to deny your application. If a background check reveals criminal offenses in other countries, TSA will deny your application; if you have a record of violating TSA security policies or have any security-related offenses on an airplane, boat, etc. they will also deny your application.

Do seniors automatically get PreCheck?

No. Anyone who wants to receive PreCheck needs to apply. However, TSA does provide people who are 75 years old or older access to an expedited screening process in the regular screening lines: You can keep your light jacket and shoes on.

What documents are needed to apply for TSA PreCheck?

To apply for TSA PreCheck, you must provide an original or certified copy of identity/citizenship status documentation during the application process and the names on all documents must match exactly with the name provided on the application. If you have legally changed your name, you must provide an original or certified name change document (such as marriage certificates and divorce decrees) in addition to the required documentation.

You can use: an unexpired US passport (book or card); unexpired Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC); unexpired Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Card; unexpired US Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) or unexpired Enhanced Identification Card (EID); Permanent Resident Card or Green Card; unexpired foreign passport AND immigrant visa with I-551 annotation of “Upon Endorsement Serves as Temporary I-551 Evidencing Permanent Residence of 1 Year” or unexpired Re-entry Permit (I-327).

If you do not have any of the above documentation, you must provide a valid photo ID and a document that meets citizenship requirements (e.g., a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, etc.)

Can you get TSA PreCheck with a felony?

You will not be able to get TSA PreCheck with certain felony convictions on record, including convictions for espionage, murder, threat, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) violations.

Along with felonies, some criminal offenses, including extortion, bribery, and firearms related incidents, can disqualify you from being approved for TSA PreCheck if they occurred in the last seven years. Additionally, if you were found not guilty by reason of insanity for a crime, you could be barred from participating in the program.

How long does it take to get TSA PreCheck?

The online application for TSA PreCheck takes about 5-10 minutes to fill out (and be sure to complete the application in one go because you will get timed out of the website). After you fill out the application, you must submit the non-refundable application fee and you can make an appointment to get interviewed, submit fingerprints, etc. After the appointment, you should receive written notification within two to three weeks. There is also the option to check your status online.

If you don’t want to make an appointment, you can simply walk up to a participating enrollment center near you and enroll in only minutes.

How long does it take to get a TSA PreCheck interview?

It depends on where you are located. After filling out your TSA PreCheck application, the website will show interview locations that are near to you and potential interview dates and times. You may be able to schedule an interview within 24 hours, or it may take longer.

If you’d rather complete your enrollment all at once, you can also walk up to any participating enrollment center—no appointment needed.

How long does the TSA PreCheck interview take?

The TSA PreCheck interview only takes about 10 minutes

What should I bring to the TSA PreCheck interview?

For your TSA PreCheck interview, you should bring the same form of identification that you indicated on your application (see above). Your photo will be taken, so be prepared.

Can I get a TSA PreCheck interview at the airport without an appointment?

Yes, walk-ups are allowed. You can also pre-enroll online to save time, then complete your enrollment at the airport.

How much does TSA PreCheck cost?

The application for TSA PreCheck costs $77.95. If approved, it lasts for for five years. If you renew online, it costs as low as $68.95.

How can I get TSA PreCheck for free?

TSA does not offer assitance with application fee costs, nor does it waive the fee for persons with disabilities or medical conditions.

The best way to get the fee waived is by using a travel credit card that reimburses you for TSA PreCheck. You’ll pay the fee upfront, but once it hits your bill your credit card will give you a statement credit to match it.

Alternately, being an elite member of certain loyalty programs, like Delta’s SkyMiles, can get your application fee reimbursed; some programs, like United Mileage Plus, allow you to use points for your application.

Members of the US Armed Forces get to access the benefits of TSA Pre for free by listing your DoD ID number into the Known Traveler Number (KTN) when making your flight reservation.

Department of Defense federal civilians can opt-in to TSA PreCheck using the milConnect website.

Which credit cards pay for TSA PreCheck?

The following credit cards offer a statement credit for the TSA PreCheck application fee:

  • Aeroplan® Credit Card
  • American Airlines Credit Union Visa® Signature credit
  • Arvest Visa Signature® Credit Card
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
  • Capital One® Spark® Miles Card
  • Capital One® Venture® Card
  • Capital One® Venture X® Business Card
  • Capital One® Venture X® Card
  • The Business Platinum Card from American Express®
  • The Platinum Card from American Express®
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card
  • Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®
  • Citi Prestige® Card (not open to new applicants)
  • Commerce Bank® World Elite Mastercard®
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
  • Diners Club® Carte Blanche® Corporate Card
  • HSBC Elite World Elite Mastercard®
  • HSBC Premier World Mastercard®
  • IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • IHG One Rewards Premier Business Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
  • MasterCard® Black Card™
  • MasterCard® Gold Card™
  • Navy Federal's Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Card
  • PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • Provident World+ Travel®
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
  • Truist Business Travel Rewards credit card
  • Truist Enjoy Beyond credit card
  • Truist Enjoy Travel credit card
  • UBS Visa Infinite Credit Card
  • United Club® Infinite Card
  • United® Explorer Card
  • United Quest® Card
  • USAA Eagle Navigator™ Visa Signature® Credit Card
  • U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card
  • U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card

Is TSA PreCheck worth it?

If you’d like to go through what is usually a shorter security without taking off your shoes, coats or removing your computer and quart-sized bag of liquids, yes, TSA PreCheck is worth it, especially if you travel frequently.

What are the benefits of TSA PreCheck?

With the TSA PreCheck symbol on your boarding pass, you can utilize a dedicated security line in which you don’t need to remove your: shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets.

Will I get TSA PreCheck every time? Is PreCheck guaranteed?

If you include your Known Traveler Number (KTN) when you book your ticket (or save it in your airline user profile), then you’ll most likely find the TSA PreCheck symbol on your boarding pass. However, the TSA site states that TSA “uses unpredictable security measures, both seen and unseen, throughout the airport. All travelers will be screened, and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening.”

Can my spouse get TSA PreCheck if they are traveling with me?

No. Your spouse must also have PreCheck to travel through that lane with you.

Can I bring a guest through TSA PreCheck?

No, you cannot bring a guest through TSA PreCheck.

Can I bring my family through TSA PreCheck?

If your family member is aged 12 years or younger and you have a TSA PreCheck symbol on your boarding pass, then they can go through the PreCheck lane with you. If they are 13-17, they can join you as long as they’re on the same reservation and have the TSA PreCheck indicator on their boarding pass.

Is there an age restriction to apply for TSA PreCheck?

No. However, if a person 12 years or younger is traveling with a parent or guardian who has TSA PreCheck, they can go through the lane with them. If they’re 13 to 17, they must be on the same reservation and have the TSA PreCheck indicator on their boarding pass.

Is known traveler number (KTN) the same as TSA PreCheck?

No. Enrolling in TSA PreCheck will give you a KTN, but these numbers are also issued with Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI. If you’re in the US Armed Forces, you can use your Department of Defense issued ID number as your KTN and receive TSA PreCheck.

TSA PreCheck vs. CLEAR Plus: Which is bettter?

CLEAR Plus is great when paired with TSA PreCheck. Each program gets you short wait times at the airport, but in different ways.

CLEAR Plus is an annual membership for $189 that gets you through airport security faster. Instead of showing your ID, you verify your identity with your eyes or fingerprints.

Then, you get escorted to the front of the security line where you can take advantage of the perks of TSA PreCheck, like not taking off your shoes or removing your 3-1-1 liquids.

Just be aware that not all airports that have TSA PreCheck will also have CLEAR Plus available. As of 2024, CLEAR Plus is available at 56 US airports and 15+ stadiums and sports arenas.

Several cards offer CLEAR Plus statement credit. This includes the American Express Green card, the Platinum Card from American Express, and the Business Platinum Card from American Express.

You can also get discount on annual membership if you have attained certain tiers of elite status with United MileagePlus, Alaska Mileage Plan or Delta SkyMiles.

Which is better, TSA PreCheck vs Global Entry?

Global Entry has an edge. It not only saves you time when you’re returning from an international trip and you need to go through customs but since it includes TSA PreCheck, it also saves you time in the security line when departing. If you apply for (and receive) Global Entry, you are eligible receive TSA PreCheck. Enrolling in TSA PreCheck doesn’t get you Global Entry, so it has an advantage there.

Can I upgrade from TSA PreCheck to Global Entry?

No, you can’t upgrade from TSA PreCheck to Global Entry. You’ll have to apply for Global Entry separately, or wait until your TSA PreCheck is about to expire and then apply for Global Entry. ‍

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Last updated Apr 26, 2024