APPLYING FOR TSA PRECHECK
Many travelers find that the TSA PreCheck cost is well worth the money, given all of the benefits they receive in the program. In order to enjoy perks, such as an expedited security lines, travelers need to submit an application and go through a screening process. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires a thorough background check due to the fact that all members of the program can get through security without undergoing the same level of inspection as other travelers. For this reason, the TSA has to prescreen enrollees during the application process.
After submitting a TSA PreCheck application and getting approved, you will be able to start using your benefits at participating airports. Once your membership expires, you must undergo the renewal process in order to continue using the program. Below, learn how to get TSA PreCheck and find everything you need to know about renewing your membership.
How to Apply for TSA PreCheck
A TSA application is easy to submit online or over the phone. When filling out your application, be prepared to enter information, such asyour:
- Full, legal name.
- Date of birth.
- Preferred language.
- Phone number and/or email address.
When providing out your name, note that it must match your name exactly as it is printed on any identification documents you plan on presenting, such as your passport or citizenship paperwork.
TSA PreCheck applications also require that you enter any previous names or aliases that you have used in the past, as this information is used to complete your background check. Furthermore, the name you enter on your application will need to be the same one that you use when ordering boarding passes.
After you sign up for TSA PreCheck, you will need to take several other steps to complete the process. This includes going to an interview, giving a fingerprint and paying an application fee, which covers the cost of a background check.
Does everyone need to apply for TSA PreCheck?
In most cases, applying for TSA PreCheck and undergoing the security screenings is required for all members. However, there are a few instances in which an application is not necessary. Individuals who do not need to apply include:
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Federal civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DoD).
- Individuals who already participate in a different trusted traveler program.
- Children younger than 12 years of age who are traveling with a parent who is a member.
Rather than signing up for TSA PreCheck, military members can use their DoD identification number to enjoy the benefits of the program. Federal civilian employees, on the other hand, do not need to sign up, but they must opt in to receive membership benefits.
When it comes to civilian travelers, individuals who have a membership with Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI may be able to use PreCheck as well without signing up separately. Furthermore, children younger than 12 years of age must go through the security line with a parent who is a member in order to use the program. All family members older than 12 years of age must submit their own TSA application even if a parent is enrolled in the program.
How is theTSA PreCheck costdetermined?
Most applicants must pay afee for TSA PreCheck, but some individuals will receive a membership at no cost. U.S. military members and DoD civilian employees, for example, do not have to pay anything to receive the benefits of the program. Travelers with certain credit cards or loyalty program cards may also receive a free or reduced-cost membership. Furthermore, frequent flier miles can sometimes be used towards the program fee.
The cost to apply for TSA PreCheck covers several important things, such as an extensive background check, verification of your identity, fingerprinting and various administrative expenses. Unless you qualify for a free or reduced-cost membership as described above, you cannot have the fee waived. For example, the TSA does not waive the fee to apply if you are disabled or if you are a senior citizen
Download our guide for more information completing the TSA PreCheck application.
Completing the TSA PreCheck Interview
Attending a short, 10-minute interview is one of the most important steps in the application process. First, you will need to find a TSA PreCheck enrollment center in your area. There are hundreds of centers around the country, making it easy to schedule an appointment at a convenient location. Common TSA PreCheck interview locations include:
- International airports.
- Regional airports.
- Permanent enrollment centers.
- Pop-up events.
In most cases, you will need to schedule an appointment ahead of time, which is easy to do online. Making an appointment requires entering relevant personal information, most of which you already entered when submitting your application.
While most TSA PreCheck appointment locations require you to sign up ahead of time, others may not. TSA pre check walk in service is usually available at pop-up events, which can be found at various locations such as hotels and other locations. Some permanent centers, such as airports, will host additional pop-up events that you can attend as well.
At your TSA appointment, be sure to bring documentation that confirms your eligibility for the program. An unexpired, government-issued credential, such as your passport or drivers license will verify your identity. If you do not have a passport, be prepared to show your birth certificate or other documentation that proves your citizenship or legal presence in the U.S.
TSA PreCheck Renewal Process
Once you get TSA PreCheck, you will need to renew your membership every five years in order to keep it valid. The TSA will notify you when it is time to complete a renewal, but you can also keep track on your own and renew up to six months in advance. In many cases, the TSA allows you to renew your benefits online by logging into your account, but you may be required to attend an in-person interview instead. There are several reasons why you may need to renew TSA PreCheck memberships in person, such as needing to update your personal information or needing to submit new fingerprints.
For more details on the TSA PreCheck application process, download our guide.