TSA PreCheck- All You Need to Know

TSA PreCheck- All You Need to Know | Fly.com Travel Blog

If you’re a frequent flyer, you’re familiar with long queues at the security check. While you may understand the importance of rigorous security procedures, it’s only fair to wish it took a little less time.

The TSA PreCheck program (TSA Pre✓®) addresses the tedious process of security checks at the airport, saving travelers both time and stress. In July 2019, 93% of TSA Pre✓® members waited just under 5 minutes. Interested to find out more? Here is all you need to know about the TSA PreCheck program.

What is TSA PreCheck?

Started in October 2011, TSA (Transportation Security Administration) PreCheck is a US Government program which allows low-risk travelers enrolled with it to pass through security checks quickly and unhindered, when flying domestically. The usual requirements of removing shoes, liquids, gels, laptops, jackets, and belts are circumvented with this program, making it especially useful for frequent fliers. Currently, 200+ TSA PreCheck airports exist across the US.

How Can I Apply?

You can qualify for this program if you are a US citizen, or a Lawful Permanent Citizen, and don’t have a criminal record. Applying for TSA’s PreCheck is simple – visit TSA’s official website and apply online. Enrollment only takes only a few minutes and costs $85 for a period of five years.

After applying online, you will need to visit a TSA PreCheck enrollment center to furnish documentation and confirm your application. If you qualify, you’ll receive a written notification within 2-3 weeks. Once qualified, you’ll be issued a Known Traveler Number (KTN). To avail your TSA PreCheck privileges, you must provide this number at the time of making a booking.

If you’re a member of the US Armed Forces, you’re automatically eligible for expedited screening. You just have to provide your Department of Defense identification number when booking a flight.

What is the Interview Like?

At the application center, you will be required to sit through an interview. TSA PreCheck interview questions tend to be variants of the questions you’ve already answered on your online application. You may be asked about your employment status and your reasons for applying for PreCheck. If you happen to have a criminal record, be prepared to furnish an explanation.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

It is important to keep in mind that the name you use when booking a flight must be the same you use to apply for this program. Otherwise, you will not be eligible for expedited security checks.

Apart from this, family members cannot go through expedited checking if they’re not enrolled with the PreCheck program, unless they’re less than 13 years of age. You’re also not guaranteed to breeze through security every time you travel, as TSA’s security measures are sometimes unpredictable and the definition of a low-risk traveler may change over time. Despite this, you’ll be able to access expedited screening most of the time if you’re enrolled in PreCheck.

How Can I Go Through the PreCheck Lane When Flying Internationally?

If you want to take advantage of the TSA PreCheck international program, apply for Global Entry. You’ll have to pay an additional $15, which makes it an attractive proposition for people who have to make frequent trips abroad.

If you primarily fly between the US and Canada, applying for NEXUS can be more beneficial. This program requires you to be a citizen of either the US or Canada or a Canadian Landed Immigrant (Permanent Resident) and comes with a fee of $50. A similar program for frequent travelers between Mexico and the US is SENTRI, which costs $122.25 for a 5-year membership. Enrollment in either of these programs qualifies you for expedited screening through PreCheck.

All in all, the TSA PreCheck program saves travelers time as well as the hassle of waiting in long lines at the security check.

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