TSA due diligence: everything you need to know
Now that most states have lifted travel restrictions, many are looking to take long-awaited vacations. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), daily passenger flow approaching pre-pandemic levels.
If you’re considering applying for the TSA PreCheck to streamline the airport security process, here’s your guide to everything from the interview process to tips for using your membership for the first time.
What is TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck is a trusted traveler program designed to speed up the airport security clearance process. The program is administered by the TSA and gives passengers access to special security lines at participating airports in the United States.
If you are traveling within the country, having TSA PreCheck can be a real benefit. If you are looking to get back to the United States more quickly after an international trip, however, Global entry is the program to watch.
TSA PreCheck is available at over 200 airports in the United States. When you arrive at the security line after check-in, an agent will direct you to the PreCheck line after confirming your membership via your boarding pass.
This allows you to keep your shoes and belt on and ensures that liquids and electronics can stay inside your luggage. Then it’s as easy as going through a security scanner and you’re good to go to your doorstep. Membership in TSA PreCheck costs $ 85 and is valid for five years.
How to get the TSA PreCheck
Becoming a member of the TSA PreCheck program will take a few steps, starting with your application.
To apply for TSA PreCheck, you must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident. There is no age limit for applicants, although children under 12 can use their parent or guardian’s memberships and do not need to make a formal request.
Once you’ve applied, you’ll also need to make an appointment for a background check and fingerprinting. At this meeting you will pay your membership fee and find out if you have been approved.
Once you have been approved, you will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) which you can use each time you book a flight (you will also receive a written notification of your approval). The process can take up to three weeks.
Complete the application
The TSA PreCheck request can be found on the website TSA website. When completing your application, it is very important that your name appears exactly as it appears on your government ID. Other information you will need include:
- A means of contact (email or phone)
- Citizenship Information
- Permanent and residential address
- Physical description
- Criminal history (if applicable)
- Official ID with photo
During the completion of your application, you will be prompted to schedule your appointment for your background check and fingerprinting, and you will be given a list of enrollment centers to choose from in your area.
You will also be able to set a time and date for your appointment; registration must be completed 120 days from the time you submit your application.
What you need to know about the TSA PreCheck interview
TSA PreCheck allows appointments for interviews, but applicants with appointments have priority. Appointments are scheduled to last approximately 20 minutes, but if the registration center is busy it may take a little longer.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may need to wear a mask to enter the registration center. Each state has different protocols for this, so check your local government site for the most recent information.
At your appointment, you will need to present a valid photo ID and proof of citizenship. If you have a passport or enhanced driver’s license, this will verify both.
You will also take your fingerprints, your photo will be taken and you will pay your membership fees. Membership fees are non-refundable and can be paid by credit card, cash or cashier’s check. Because you are going to be having your photo taken, it is best to wear neutral clothing and minimal jewelry.
The interview itself is quite low-key. You will be asked to verify your application information and may also be asked about your work history and travel habits. If you have a criminal history, you should be prepared to provide more information on this.
How to get a TSA PreCheck appointment earlier
The best way to get an early TSA PreCheck appointment is to schedule it while completing your application. You will have the option to choose from a variety of registration centers in your area. Be open to looking at a few different centers to determine which day and time you prefer.
Tips for using TSA PreCheck for the first time
Getting the most out of TSA PreCheck really starts before you use the service. In fact, you can start to get the most out of TSA PreCheck during your interview when you pay if you pay with credit card rewards as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Although this map has many benefits of the travel card, the one that applies here is up to a $ 100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership. Once you have your PreCheck subscription, here are some more tips that can help you get the most out of it.
- Be sure to use your KTN every time you book a flight to ensure “TSA Pre” appears on your boarding pass.
- If you are a frequent traveler, add your KTN to your profile.
- Check in online for your flight 24 hours in advance to ensure your PreCheck status is there. If not, contact the airline.
- Arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight to ensure your PreCheck status is confirmed (if you are unable to do so online or over the phone).
- Make sure you are traveling in a airport with TSA PreCheck services.
Family travel: is one TSA PreCheck enough?
The short answer to this question, unfortunately, is no.
TSA PreCheck membership is not automatically transferred to your family members. The only exception is for children 12 and under. Children in this age group can go through the TSA PreCheck line with a parent or guardian who is a member of the program. However, children over 12 years old will need to have their own subscription in order to use the line.
How to update personal information in the TSA PreCheck program
Your TSA PreCheck membership is valid for five years. If during this time your personal information changes, you should update it as soon as possible.
The most direct way to do this is to call; the line for personal information changes is (855) 347-8371 and is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST.
You can also send a request online for information on how to change your personal information. This may take a little longer, however, as you will have to wait for a response.
How to update your US passport information
TSA PreCheck is a Trusted Traveler (TTP) program. If you have a Trusted Traveler account, you can update your information online from your account dashboard. This option is available if you have TSA PreCheck through Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST.