What is TSA PreCheck?
Let's face it: no one likes going to the airport and dealing with security.
Sure, we understand that it's important and necessary and we're grateful for it, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.
You never know what to expect when you go to an airport anymore: are you going to get there early just to find out that there is no line at security, get right through, and then wait hours in the terminal until your flight boards? Or do you risk getting there with just enough time to spare, only to find that there's a ridiculous amount of people trying to get through security and missing your flight suddenly becomes a scary reality?
So, the TSA created TSA Pre✓® Here's everything you need to know about it so you can decide if it's worth it for you.
The program is only open to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and lawful permanent residents of the United States. With TSA Pre✓®, you can keep your belt, shoes, and jacket on. You also don't have to take out your laptop or your liquids. Traveling domestically becomes much, much easier.
Most TSA Pre✓® members experience a wait time of five or fewer minutes when going through airport security. With more than 180 airports and 30 airlines providing TSA Pre✓®, there are already over 4 million members of the program, and there's no age restriction on program members.
TSA Pre✓® is an addition to the trusted traveler programs that make flying a little bit easier for travelers. Instead of issuing a card, the TSA Pre✓® indicator is printed directly on your boarding pass.
Trusted Traveler Programs
Organized by the Department of Homeland Security, these are programs that work to make traveling easier for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Other than TSA Pre✓®, which is best for those who travel primarily within the U.S., these programs include:
This program allows people who travel to the United States to receive expedited clearance by using a Global Entry kiosk (available at select airports) that will scan their fingerprints and passport. Anyone wishing to get approved must undergo an intensive background check and in an in-person interview.
This is best for those who travel both within the U.S. and internationally.
NEXUS program members, who are pre-screened for membership, have dedicated processing lanes in northern border ports of entry and kiosks at Canadian airports (through Global Entry kiosks) and in the U.S. at Canadian Preclearance airports. Members also have quicker processing at marine reporting locations.
This is best for people traveling primarily between the U.S. and Canada.
Members who undergo a thorough background check and in-person interview have access to dedicated lanes for expeditious entry into the U.S. or Mexico.
This is best for people who travel primarily between the U.S. and Mexico by land.
How can I get approved for TSA Pre✓®?
You can get the process started online now by filling out an application that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. The application fee is $85, and that's good for a 5-year membership.
After that, you must complete an in-person background check and fingerprinting, again taking about ten minutes, at an approved center. To determine what you need to bring, visit the TSA's website here to determine your citizenship and necessary documents for the background check.
Then, you can enjoy your status as a TSA Pre✓® member.