Applying for Pre TSA Check-in

tsa pre-check

If I told you there is a way you could have better domestic airport experiences for the next 5 years for $85, would you be interested? With TSA PreCheck you can glide by the long lines of people taking off their belts and jewelry. You won’t have to put your liquids or laptops in the plastic bins. And best of all you can keep your shoes when flying to Seattle or Sicily.

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TSA-airport-checkpoint Applying for Pre TSA Check-in

The TSA PreCheck

Launched in 2013, TSA PreCheck is a program for travelers who are considered low-risk by the Transportation Security Administration. Once accepted, preCheck holders can go through specially designated security lines at airports that often move much faster than the standard lanes.

In addition, preCheck passengers do not have to remove their shoes, belts, or remove laptops or liquids from their bags. Travelers are also usually screened with walk-through X-ray machines rather than the full-body scanners most people are subjected to.

Be aware that if your shoes or clothing has metal in them, you may have to go through the regular screening. I learned this from persona experience.

First, if let me say this might be the easiest government application I’ve ever applied for. Everything I’ve read about the application says it’s pretty straight forward. After going through the process myself, I totally concur. The application takes less than 5 minutes.

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tsa-pre-check-692x360 Applying for Pre TSA Check-in

Online Application

Go to www.tsa.gov/precheck and input the preliminary information. Besides the standard name and address information, you’ll need your social security number. If you’ve lived there for less than a year you’ll also need your previous address.

In addition, you’ll choose 2 forms of identification for verification. Make sure you choose two forms where your name is identical. For example, make sure both forms use your middle name. If not, your application will be rejected.

Once you complete the application, you’ll be asked to select a TSA enrollment location. Here in Manhattan, Kansas, I could pick from centers in Salina, Topeka or Wichita. I chose Salina because it was close and offered the earliest appointment date. Sometimes the in-person interview is done at the airport and you can opt for a walk-in appointment too.

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TSA Enrollment Center

What You’ll need: Two (2) forms of ID, a credit card, money order, company check, or certified/ cashier’s check.

There wasn’t much to the enrollment center I went to in Salina. When I first walked in, I thought I was in the wrong place. It looked like someone was moving in. But it turned out they were moving out because they were about to lose the TSA contract. However, the office was very busy, with new applicants every 10 minutes.

The enrollment clerk verifies all the information you entered online. Then she makes copies of two pieces of information. In my case, I provided my passport and driver’s license. And I had my fingerprints taken for the FBI background check. Again, make sure you choose two forms of id where your name is identical. I paid the $85 fee with my credit card.

The Background Check

It generally takes two to three weeks, but I received my KTN (Known Traveler Number) in an email a few days later. Refer to the FAQ titled “How do I use my KTN here.

Once you have been assigned a KTN, you should include that number in the ‘known traveler number’ field of each reservation you make with a participating airline. You can check your status here. The KTN must be added when booking reservations online via a participating airline website. You can do so yourself, by phone with an airline reservation agent or with the travel management company making reservations. Save your KTN to any frequent flyer profiles, employer booking systems, or online travel websites that you use. You will not receive a card or benefit from the service without your KTN being printed on your boarding pass.

I’m curious, do you have TSA PreCheck? Do you think it’s worth the time or money?

Free to Military Personnel

If you are currently serving in the US military or are a Department of Defense federal civilian employee, you are eligible to receive TSA PreCheck at no charge. Here are a few things you should know about the TSA PreCheck.

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Update

My first experience with precheck did not go without a hitch. Make sure you wear shoes that don’t have metal in the soles because you will still have to remove your shoes to be cleared. And this—surprise, surprise—makes people behind you in the precheck lane a bit upset.

In addition, check with your credit card/ bank. You may be eligible for a refund of the TSA Precheck or Global Entry Application fees.


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Comments

  1. Catherine

    It’s crazy what you have to go through to travel these days…the world has changed so much. In many ways I feel like times were simpler when I was younger…everything is so invasive nowadays but it’s the world we live in. Cest la vie!

  2. Shilpa bindlish

    I guess these tips will help my friends too. Will share the article with them to learn about TSA.

  3. Ashlee

    First of all, wow! I did not even know TSA precheck existed or that it does seem pretty easy to register. Also thank you for those pointers, didn’t even think of metal in shoes!

  4. Melissa Cushing

    This is for sure a smart choice for those that travel regularly like my father. I pos the other hand love road trips ore the flying so I do not do much of it…. with the exception of international travel. Thank you for sharing!

  5. MELANIE EDJOURIAN

    That sounds like it would be really useful for some that travel a lot. It would be a great time saver and so much more convenient.

  6. Lisa

    It’s interesting reading this from a European point of view. I’m not sure when we’ll get to visit the US again but this is useful to know. I’d definitely do this.

  7. Amy Smith

    I am still pondering how I feel about this. I would love it for myself but I would worry that nothing is high enough security without the checks. Anyone who is a terrorist always starts with a clean record… it takes the FIRST situation to break that perfect background check. I sure wouldnt want it to be while I am in a plane with them. So, I am torn on this!

  8. Katie

    Great tip for getting through the airport. International travel can be made so much easier with tricks like this. Hope you had a great trip!

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