You’re not eligible if you’ve…
- Provided false or incomplete information on your TSA PreCheck application.
- Violated transportation security regulations.
- Had disqualifying criminal offenses, as defined by the TSA.
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TSA PreCheck is a government-issued program that helps you get through airport security faster.
It’s available only for flights that depart from US airports. This is a contrast to Global Entry, which includes TSA PreCheck benefits and gets you through customs faster as you arrive in the US. Neither Global Entry nor TSA PreCheck assists with travel documentation.
The exact time you save depends on the airport, the day of the week and the time of the year. In general, TSA PreCheck lines can save you between 20 and 45 minutes that you would otherwise spend on the standard security check.
Because of that, TSA PreCheck is typically more useful in large airports and at peak times.
The current coronavirus pandemic impacts TSA PreCheck screening in several ways.
A TSA PreCheck application costs $85. This fee is non-refundable, even if you’re not approved.
Don’t want to pay? Look for a credit card that offers a statement credit for your TSA PreCheck application.
If you want to use this feature but don’t want to pay for it — consider a travel credit card with a TSA PreCheck statement credit.
The way this works is you apply for TSA PreCheck, pay the application fee and then you get a statement credit from your eligible credit card as a reimbursement. Most of these cards offer the perk once every four or five years, so you can keep getting TSA PreCheck without paying for it.
Typically this is a feature offered by more premium travel credit cards. But you can also find “cheaper” cards with this perk, like the Venture® Rewards from Capital One® or the UnitedSM Explorer Card.
If you don’t want to pay with cash or use one of the credit cards that offer TSA PreCheck application fee credit, you have other options.
You can apply for TSA PreCheck if you’re a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Children under the age of 12 can use expedited screening if they are traveling with a parent who has TSA PreCheck.
If you’re a Canadian citizen or resident, apply for the NEXUS program. It gives you expedited passage through customs when you enter the United States or Canada.
With a quick online application and in-person interview, you could be on your way to a TSA PreCheck membership. Follow these steps to apply:
According to many travelers, you’ll typically hear back about approval within one to two weeks. If you’re approved, you’ll receive your Known Traveler Number (KTN) online or via mail.
Don’t go all the way to an appointment center only to be turned away. Have the following documentation on hand:
On the Universal Enroll website, you can use the “What to Bring” tool to determine documents you’ll need at your interview.
Interviews are usually under 10 minutes long. You’ll give details about yourself: your travel habits, why you want a PreCheck membership, your criminal record and more.
You’ll also have your fingerprints and photo taken.
On the Universal Enroll website, you can use the Enrollment Center Locator to find a TSA PreCheck interview location near you.
If you’re approved for Global Entry, you can access TSA PreCheck benefits at no additional cost.
You can also qualify for TSA PreCheck if you’re approved for NEXUS or SENTRI.
What is Global Entry?
If you’re part of a frequent flyer program, add your KTN to your account. When you book your flight through the account, your KTN will automatically be added to your reservation.
These are all of the airlines that participate in TSA PreCheck, according to the TSA.
|Enrolment fee||What is it?||Does it include TSA PreCheck?||Does it apply to travel by land, air and sea?|
|TSA PreCheck||$85 five year membership||Expedited airport security screening||Yes||Only at airports|
|Global Entry||$100 five year membership||Expedited US customs screening on arrival from foreign soil||Yes||Airports, land and seaports|
|CLEAR||$179 annually||Speed through travel document check on departing flights||No||Airports and statiums|
|NEXUS||$50 five year membership||Expedited border control between the US and Canada||It may include||Airports, land and seaports|
|SENTRI||$122.50 five year membership||Expedited border crossing from Mexico to the US||It may include||Airports and land|
|FAST||$50 five year membership||Expedited entry and exit for truck drivers from Canada and Mexico to the US||No||Only at land borders|
No, there’s no option to upgrade from TSA PreCheck to Global Entry. But you can apply for Global Entry and get TSA PreCheck with the same application.
By investing a bit of time and money upfront, you can save a lot of time in the airport security line with TSA PreCheck.
For more products that can help you travel more easily, check out a few airline credit cards.
What’s the difference between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?
TSA PreCheck costs $85 and Global Entry costs $100.
TSA PreCheck is only for flights that depart from US airports. Meanwhile, Global Entry gets you through customs faster when you enter the US. It also gives you TSA PreCheck benefits.
Both offer five-year memberships.
Can my family go through TSA PreCheck with me?
Children 12 and under can go through the line with you if you have the TSA PreCheck designation on your boarding pass.
Unfortunately, children 13 and older can’t piggyback off your TSA PreCheck membership. They need to go through normal security lanes.
Do all airports participate in TSA PreCheck?
According to the TSA, over 200 airports participate in TSA PreCheck. Meanwhile, there are over 19,000 US airports according to the Federal Aviation Administration — around 5,000 of which are public.
This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s hard to find a TSA PreCheck-compliant airport. If it’s a major airport, chances are you can use your TSA PreCheck membership.Back to top
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