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You’ve probably felt the pain of airport security and want to combat this is by applying for the TSA PreCheck program.
We sure did.
|What is TSA PreCheck||How To Apply||TSA PreCheck Interview Locations|
|How to get TSA PreCheck||Denials||Airports|
|TSA PreCheck Cost||Military||Airlines|
|Known Traveler Number||Troubleshooting||Global Entry-SENTRI-NEXUS|
With thousands of travelers being approved every month, you’ll need to complete a TSA PreCheck application as soon as possible, and find out all what it entails.
Or maybe one of the other 3 Trusted Traveler Programs will be more suited to your travel habits, such as Global Entry.
We don’t need to tell you what you already know..that the TSA has certainly transformed our use-to-be-simple flying routines.
We got you covered below.
We’ll touch on everything from how to apply for TSA PreCheck, what airlines accept PreCheck and your Known Traveler Number so you are well informed before you decide to apply Trusted Traveler Program.
So, what is TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck is a program developed in an effort to provide low-risk travelers with an opportunity to by-pass excessively long security check points in U.S. airports.
As a response to September 11th, , the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created as an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The primary concern of the TSA is air travel and they are best known for being the ringleaders of the airport security screening process.
When an individual has qualified for TSA PreCheck, they are eligible to by-pass certain TSA security points, while keeping on their shoes, jacket, and belt.
Also, they are able to keep their laptop and 3-1-1 liquids (yes, liquids) in their carry-on.
There are over 3 million members of TSA PreCheck, with the TSA claiming that the average member spends 5 minutes or less in security lines.
TSA PreCheck is provided by 16 airlines (listed below) at 180+ airports domestically, so the chances of using it when flying are pretty good.
Experience a quick security line ONCE and you’ll wonder why you didn’t apply sooner.
You know that this program will make your life easier.
And you need to know how to get TSA PreCheck.
This involves two steps:
The application process should take about 5-10 minutes and is completed through the government’s Universal Enrollment website.
The TSA PreCheck application process is a relatively simple one.
When completing the online application, you will be asked to provide your identity information and other basic questions that are not out of the ordinary.
The application is provided by Universal Enrollment is a very user friendly one, with an intuitive layout and easy to understand instructions.
We wish we could say the same thing for the GOES Global Entry application.
After completion you will have the opportunity to schedule your in-person interview.
During your in-person interview, conducted by a TSA officer, additional travel habit questions will be asked, a background check will be run and you will also be finger printed.
The entire interview process is supposed to take only about 10 minutes.
Most people receive TSA PreCheck approval within 5 business days after the interveiw.
You can check your TSA PreCheck status online, again at the Universal Enrollment website.
You can also send a letter via U.S. Mail to confirm your TSA PreCheck status and to confirm your Known Traveler Number (KTN) within two to three weeks.
Sounds rather lengthy but it is an option.
There are over 300 TSA PreCheck interview locations. More than likely one near you.
You can find a TSA PreCheck Interview Location near you at, yet again, the The Universal Enrollment website and typing in your city
The sheer number of available TSA interview locations make it possible for more individuals to participate in the program.
Even though you’ll get TSA PreCheck benefits with a Global Entry membership (SENTRI & NEXUS as well) the number of interview locations are less. 86 interview locations for Global Entry membership, for example.
How much does TSA PreCheck cost?
This fee is Non-Refundable and covers your TSA PreCheck status for 5 years.
Yes, you can be denied TSA PreCheck, see below, and your $85 fee will not be reinstated back onto your card.
Credit card, money order, and checks are accepted. Payment is accepted online and not at the time of your interview.
The TSA claims that the fee simply covers administrative costs associated with the application, including the required background check.
Your TSA PreCheck membership will come up for renewal after 5 years.
You will be required to pay the $85 once again and visit an enrollment center again for another intervew.
Note that not all applicants are accepted into the program.
Why would you be denied for TSA PreCheck status?
Qualifying applicants must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or lawful permanent residents.
When considering an applicant, TSA will look into past criminal history, past violations of transportation security regulations, and current warrants or indictments.
You may view a complete list of disqualifying offenses as explained by the TSA, here.
Don’t worry about speeding tickets or minor traffic violations.
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to receive TSA PreCheck status.
All U.S. Military members, including those serving in the Reserves and National Guard, may receive TSA PreCheck benefits, whether they are traveling for personal or official reasons.
U.S. Armed Forces members are not required to be in uniform in order to receive TSA PreCheck.
Also eligible for expedited screening through TSA PreCheck are Cadets and Midshipmen of the U.S. Military Academy, Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, and Coast Guard Academy.
Similarly, wounded service members and veterans are also eligible for TSA PreCheck.
Any family member under the age of 12 years old traveling with a member of the U.S. Armed Forces are permitted to join the service member through the expedited screening process.
Unfortunately, showing your common access card at a TSA security check point is not enough to process a U.S. Armed Forces member’s TSA PreCheck status; instead, the DoD identification number must be included on all flight reservations.
Your Known Traveler Number (KTN) is the primary way through which you will be identified for TSA PreCheck.
You will receive your “KTN” after successfully completing your PreCheck interview. It will be available for you to view online, and through the letter sent to you by TSA in the mail.
When booking a flight online or over the phone, a PreChecked traveler should provide their Known Traveler Number in designated fields upon check out.
All major online booking agents have easily seen fields for you to enter your KTN. These fields are sometimes labeled “Redress Number”.
By providing your Known Traveler Number when booking your ticket with airlines that support TSA PreCheck, you will have a small logo on your issued ticket, showing that you have been cleared for PreCheck.
When we first started using the program, we were informed that having TSA PreCheck printed on your boarding pass is still a Random Process and being a member only improves your chances.
We were informed from our travel agent that this is to keep PreCheck members honest.
If you find yourself without TSA PreCheck on your boarding pass, re-inquire with your ticketing agent and show them your KTN if you have it printed out or your Global Entry card, SENTRI card or NEXUS card. They should be able to add it on for you.
Similarly you can call your travel agent or airline booking agent and they should be able to assist.
Unfortunately, not all airlines in the U.S. engage in the TSA PreCheck program.
Listed below are the participating TSA PreCheck airlines.
|Air Canada||JetBlue Airways|
|Alaska Airlines||Seaborne Airlines|
|Allegiant Airlines||Southwest Airlines|
|American Airlines||Sun Country Airlines|
|Cape Air||United Airlines|
|Delta Airlines||Virgin America|
|Lufthansa (Aug 31st, 2016)|
Flying to Australia on Qantas? There will be no opportunity for TSA PreCheck at LAX or any U.S. based international airport.
There are over 180 airports with TSA PreCheck in the U.S.
You can look up the specific TSA PreCheck airports in your state using the PreCheck Map
We listed them all for you as well.
If you entered your Known Traveler Number when booking your airline ticket, but the TSA PreCheck logo is not on your boarding pass, there could be several reasons why.
If you did book directly through the airline and entered your Known Traveler Number at the time of booking, but made changes to your reservation, there is a possibility that the airline removed your Known Traveler Number in the process.
Similarly, if you have flights with multiple carriers, you should contact each individual carrier to submit your Known Traveler Number. If you check-in online before your flight and the TSA PreCheck logo is not on your boarding pass, contact your airline ahead of time!
For almost any TSA PreCheck issues regarding your boarding pass, you will need to contact your airline directly.
Your Known Traveler Number will be issued following the approval of your application, by the TSA. This number is what will be used in every circumstance in order to identify your TSA PreCheck status.
Your Known Traveler Number can be found online…on the Universal Enrollment page again, here.
There are other options in addition to TSA PreCheck that frequent flyers may choose to participate in instead.
There are 3 managed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and are called Trusted Traveler Programs.
They are made up of:
All these programs were created to provide expedited travel for low risk citizens traveling into the U.S. from international travel.
Citizens of the United States can apply for Global Entry, a program that allows for expedited entry into the U.S. following international travel.
Citizens of the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, Columbia, Singapore and Mexican nationals are also eligible to enroll for the Global Entry program.
Once approved, members of the Global Entry program will experience accelerated entry processes when entering the U.S., which means reduced security line wait times, no paperwork, and no processing lines.
Global Entry members also receive SENTRI and NEXUS benefits as well for expedited land and sea border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada, respectively.
Pretty handy for road trips!
The actual physical card, along with all included benefits are why many choose to enroll in Global Entry instead of TSA PreCheck.
At only $100 for 5 years of membership it’s quite affordable comparing it to the cost of TSA PreCheck.
The SENTRI program allows for accelerated border security processing upon arriving to the U.S. by land or air from Mexico.
Again, Members of the SENTRI program have TSA PreCheck included in membership.
SENTRI members also receive Global Entry and NEXUS benefits.
You can find all about SENTRI here.
Members of the NEXUS program receive expedited border security processing when entering the U.S. from Canada by land or sea.
Low-risk citizens of the U.S. and Canada are eligible for NEXUS memberships.
A radio frequency identification card is issued to every approved member of NEXUS, to be used at designated kiosks.
You can find out more about NEXUS and here.
Really…there is not huge difference between the above three programs once you are accepted as all share benefits and all have TSA PreCheck.
So there you have it. Our rundown of TSA PreCheck.
We use Global Entry and having TSA PreCheck on our board pass every time we fly is well worth any application fee. We turn into happy travelers not having to wait in line.
Now it’s your turn to decide which is right for you.
And do so soon, before more the CBP or TSA change membership requirements!
Have additional question or information you think is helpful for others to know about TSA PreCheck applicaion or locations? Let us know!