ELIGIBILITY FOR TSA PRECHECK
There are a variety of TSA PreCheck requirements you must meet before you will be eligible to enroll in this service. This is a popular program for many reasons, but unfortunately, it is not open to everyone who applies. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) turns down applicants who are deemed to present a security risk. Even if you are denied for PreCheck, you can still be eligible to fly, provided you can pass a standard security screening before boarding.
Those who meet the TSA PreCheck qualifications can enjoy shorter wait times for security checks, among other perks. In most cases, a participant of this program will retain these privileges for the entire time his or her membership is valid. However, it is also possible to lose one’s eligibility for the program at any time if certain factors apply. Below, applicants can learn everything there is to know about TSA pre check rules, including how to qualify for the program and how to remain eligible.
How is TSA PreCheck eligibility determined?
Your eligibility for TSA PreCheck is based mostly on your citizenship or legal presence in the U.S., but several other factors can affect it as well. Most importantly, you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) to be approved. If you are a foreign resident, you may be eligible for the program, provided that you meet specific residency and citizenship requirements. When you do not qualify for TSA PreCheck based on your citizenship or lawful presence, note that you may be approved for other Department of Homeland Security programs, such as Global Entry, Nexus or SENTRI, which may have different requirements.
This program is available to applicants of all ages, but there are a few additional requirements that all applicants must be aware of, regardless of age or citizenship.
First, the rules for TSA PreCheck state that enrollees need to pass a criminal background check, as this will reveal any disqualifying factors. Second, petitioners must submit a fingerprint. Those who cannot provide a fingerprint for any reason may still apply by undergoing an alternative verification process with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Does TSA PreCheck eligibility extend to family members?
Children younger than 12 years of age do not need to apply for PreCheck if their parents are already members and the family is traveling together. However, every family member older than 12 years of age must qualify for TSA PreCheck on his or her own to use the benefits of the program. In other words, eligibility does not extend to children who are older than 12 years of age, nor does it cover spouses or other family members who may be traveling in the same group. With that in mind, note that children younger than 12 years of age who will be flying alone cannot use PreCheck, regardless of whether their parents are members.
Download our guide for more information on TSA PreCheck.
What TSA paperwork do I need to have?
One of the most important steps in the application process is to verify your identity. The TSA precheck requirements state that you must provide an unexpired, government-issued form of identification and proof of your citizenship or nationality. You can meet this requirement by providing one of the following:
- A U.S. passport, which verifies your identity and citizenship on its own
- A driver’s license accompanied with a birth certificate
- A photo ID card with a birth certificate
Does anyone qualify for TSA PreCheckautomatically?
If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or are a Department of Defense (DoD) federal civilian, you automatically qualify for the program. Because of the partnership between the DoD and the TSA, you do not need to submit any TSA paperwork or undergo the verification process required of regular applicants. However, if you are a DoD federal civilian, you do need to opt in to receive the benefits through this program. If you are a member of the armed forces, on the other hand, you will simply need to use your DoD identification number when buying a boarding pass.
Military members and DoD civilians may be the only individuals who automatically meet the TSA PreCheck requirements, but you may be eligible to get a free or reduced-cost membership under other conditions. Certain credit card providers and other loyalty programs will allow you to waive the application fee for your membership. However, even if you qualify for free enrollment, you still need to apply and pass the screening procedures to be accepted.
You will not qualify for TSA PreCheck lines automatically if you are disabled, nor will you get a free membership. Furthermore, you cannot use a PreCheck lane simply because of your disability status. To use the expedited security lane, you must apply for a membership just as any other traveler would. With that in mind, the TSA does offer assistance if you need help during the screening process. It is recommended that you contact the TSA in advance if you need extra assistance going through airport security.
Losing Your TSA PreCheck Eligibility
There are a variety of TSA PreCheck disqualifications that you may want to be aware of if you are a member. Some circumstances will prevent you from getting approved for a membership in the first place, but it is also possible to lose your eligibility at any time.
Under the TSA pre check rules, it is likely that you will be disqualified for committing certain felonies or if you are wanted under a warrant or indictment. Note that the severity of your offense determines how long your membership is suspended. Serious crimes such as treason or espionage may result in a permanent disqualification, while lesser offenses typically lead to a temporary loss of your membership.
The TSA continually checks for security threats using sources such as Interpol, terrorist watchlists and other government databases. If your eligibility for TSA PreCheck is called into question based on information from these sources, you will receive a letter with instructions on what to do next. Remember, some disqualifications result in a permanent ban from the program, but others are temporary. If you are able to meet the TSA PreCheck requirements at a later date, you may reapply in the future.
Download our guide for more details on TSA PreCheck qualifications.