If you’ve ever been delayed at regular airport security lineyou’ve probably wondered how to get TSA PreCheck, the government program that pre-approves passengers for a faster version of the screening process.
The application process is relatively simple. And although there is a fee to join, it can be a worthwhile investment because TSA PreCheck lasts for several years. It can make a big difference in speeding through a crowded airport and gives travelers peace of mind that they won’t have to unpack their carry-on luggage before running their bags through the x-ray scanner. As airports see record numbers of travellers, now is the time ideal for planning ahead to avoid stress before your next trip.
Below, we answer all the questions about how to get TSA PreCheck, what the program offers and which airlines participate, what to expect from the application process, and tips for getting a free membership.
What is TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck is a government-sponsored program that began in October 2011 and grants approved passengers an expedited security check before boarding an aircraft. At last count, there are 32 million registered members. More than 80 airlines work with TSA PreCheck, and the service is present in more than 200 airports across the United States.
Unlike the usual security line, PreCheck passengers do not need to remove their shoes, laptops, travel liquidslightweight belts and jackets, which means less time in line and more in the living room. Still not convinced that TSA PreCheck is worth it? Here’s a fun fact: In April 2023, 94% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes in a security line.
How to Get TSA PreCheck
Submit an online application herethen make an appointment at more than 400 registration centers Across the country. Enrollment centers allow walk-in interviews, but clients with appointments are given priority. The agency says it is currently receiving a high volume of TSA PreCheck enrollment requests. But unlike other Trusted Traveler programs such as Global Entry, TSA PreCheck appointments are largely not suffering from an ongoing backlog due to the pandemic.
How long does a TSA PreCheck appointment take?
During your in-person appointment, you will be required to give your fingerprints and undergo a brief background check. Appointments usually last about 10 minutes.
How long does it take to get TSA PreCheck?
Most new applicants will typically receive their TSA PreCheck number (officially known as a Known Traveler Number) within three to five days of their in-person appointment. depending on the agency. However, some applications may take longer, up to 60 days or more. This is partly due to the agency receiving a higher than normal number of applications for registration. Other issues that may cause a longer processing time include difficulty capturing fingerprints during the in-person appointment or missing registration data on the application. The TSA encourages prospective members to check the status of their application online.
How much does TSA PreCheck cost?
TSA PreCheck is now $78 for a five-year subscription. The government recently lowered the price, compared to $85 for five years. Fees can be paid via credit card, money order, company check or certified/cashier check. Payment is usually made at the in-person appointment. The cost of renewing a TSA PreCheck membership after five years is even cheaper: just $70 for the next five years. You can renew up to six months before your membership expires.
How can I get TSA PreCheck for free?
Although the government itself does not offer any discounts or reimbursements for fees, several loyalty programs offer to pay membership for their most elite level of flyers. There are also several travel rewards credit cards that will cover the cost charges in the form of statement credit, including some of the cards most popular with travellers. Among the nine credit cards currently waiving the TSA PreCheck fee every five years are: the Platinum Card from American Express, the Reserve Chase SapphireCapital One Venture X Card, United Explorer Card, Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and SunTrust card Credit card with travel rewards.
How do I find my TSA PreCheck number?
Also known as a Known Traveler Number (or KTN), your TSA PreCheck number is your unique identifier linked to your account and used to grant you access to the separate lane through airport security. To find your KTN, you can search for it on the TSA website filling out a form. Simply enter the same information you used during registration, follow the instructions and you will be directed to a page displaying your number.