If you are a U.S. citizen and travelling to cities within the United States, here is something of great importance to you. A few years ago, the United States government, the US Department of Homeland Security (DoHS), launched a program for their citizens that would allow expediting security check at airports. Thus, for this reason, a program called “TSA PreCheck” was made available. You can learn more about this program here.
In this blog, we will provide you an in-sight on what is a TSA PreCheck program, what it does, how you can apply and a lot more things.
What is TSA PreCheck?
TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration, which is a US government agency. Briefly speaking, TSA PreCheck is a U.S. government membership program that is available to U.S. citizens, nationals and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). The program allows travellers at U.S. airports to pass through security screening process faster, however, expedited screening is not guaranteed.
The main purpose of this subscription-based program is to enhance security measures within an airport and effectively expedite security screening process of travellers at U.S. airports. It is thus, mandatory for all US citizen travellers to pass through TSA PreCheck security screening lane.
The TSA PreCheck program was launched in the year 2011 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DoHS), following the 9/11 tragedy that took place in the country’s World Trade Centre buildings.
What is the Eligibility Criteria to Apply for a TSA PreCheck Membership?
In order to avail the TSA PreCheck program, there are certain eligibility criteria that must be fulfilled by a U.S. citizen travelling. To begin with, the only individuals that are eligible for the program include US citizens, US nationals and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs).
Secondly, the program’s membership process requires an eligible individual to submit an online application along with necessary documents on the TSA website. After submitting the application, the person will then need to schedule and complete an in-person appointment, which usually takes less than 10 minutes. The process includes taking a fingerprinting scan for a background check.
The in-person appointment can take place at the airport or at any enrolment centres located nearby. Bear in mind that scheduling an appointment can save you a lot of time than visiting in-person without an appointment as you may end up having to wait longer.
TSA PreCheck Program Eligibility Restrictions
On the other hand, in case a person has previously had any type of criminal record or offences, violations, other convictions, etc., then he/she will not be eligible for obtaining a TSA PreCheck program membership.
What are the Benefits of Obtaining TSA PreCheck Program?
At present, the US Department of Homeland Security (DoHS) has made TSA PreCheck program available in more than 200 airports in the United States and also to 79 participating airlines.
The TSA PreCheck program offers a few benefits to travellers that apply for the program. These benefits include the following:
- Members of the TSA PreCheck program get to benefit from faster security screening process at US airports and there is less wait time, i.e., no longer than 5 minutes.
- You can add your Known Traveler Number (KTN) to your airline reservation and take advantage of a faster and seamless security screening at several U.S. airports.
- You do not have to remove shoes, belts, light jackets, laptop computers, 3-1-1 liquids or foods during the security screening process at US airports.
- Parents and/or guardians that have TSA PreCheck membership and are travelling with children aged 12 and under can use the dedicated lanes during security screening process.
How to Apply for a TSA PreCheck Program
You can apply for a TSA PreCheck program membership directly on the TSA website. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps. The steps are given below.
Step 1: Download and fill the online application. You may be required to also submit a few necessary documents.
Step 2: After entering all the necessary details, submit the application and the required fee. The process can take about 5-10 minutes.
Step 3: Next, you will need to schedule an in-person appointment. The appointment can be scheduled to take place either at the airport where you are travelling or at an enrolment centre near your location. You can select the interview date, time and location on the website. This appointment is usually a short process, no longer than 10 minutes, and also involves taking your fingerprint for background check and a photo.
Step 4: Once your application is approved, you will receive a written notification within two or three weeks. You will be granted a membership to the TSA PreCheck program. You can also check the status of your application online on the TSA website.
The application fee for TSA PreCheck costs about $85 and is non-refundable. However, if you use travel rewards credit card, or you are already an elite member of certain loyalty programs, chances are, your application fee may be reimbursed after making the payment. In addition, there are also a few loyalty programs that may allow travellers to use points for the application cost.
How to Renew Existing TSA PreCheck Program Membership
The validity of the TSA PreCheck program is usually for five years. After the expiration of the program’s validity period, you must renew your membership. The renewal process can be done online, or in-person at the airport or at an enrolment centre located near you.
To renew your TSA PreCheck program membership online on the TSA website, simply follow the on-screen instructions and it will be completed within a few minutes. You will also be notified about the renewal of your membership.
Credit Cards Accepted for TSA PreCheck Fee Payment
There are several travel credit cards which you can use for making payment of your TSA PreCheck program’s fee.
We have listed a few such travel credit cards from various banks that you can use.
- American Express
- Bank of America Premium Rewards
- Capital One Venture Card
- Chase Sapphire ReserveSM
- Citi Prestige Card
- Expedia Rewards Voyager Card
- HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard
- MasterCard Gold Card
- United MileagePlus
There are several other travel credit cards which can be used for paying the application fee for the TSA PreCheck program. If you are entitled to a travel credit card, you can enquire from your airline carrier or bank.
TSA PreCheck is a useful program for U.S. citizens and is especially required for getting past the security screening check at the airport quickly, and without having to remove items.