TSA Pre Check
In an effort to both improve the safety of flights around the globe and to increase the efficiency at airports, the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers a PreCheck security screening program to travelers who meet certain eligibility requirements. If you’re thinking about applying for the TSA PreCheck Program or if you’re wondering whether you’re eligible in the first place, there are a few key things you should know.
What is TSA PreCheck?
Those who have been admitted into the TSA PreCheck program are allowed to pass through TSA checkpoints at all major airports without taking the following steps that are normally required of all travelers:
- You don’t have to remove your shoes.
- You don’t have to remove your belt.
- You don’t have to take items like liquids, gels, laptop computers and other portable electronics from your carry-on bag.
- You don’t have to remove any light outerwear that you may be wearing, like a jacket.
Who is Eligible for TSA PreCheck?
Currently, the TSA PreCheck program is limited to only those who meet the following criteria:
- You must be a United States citizen.
- You must be a Lawful Permanent Resident, otherwise known as an LPR.
- You cannot have been convicted of certain crimes like felonies or drug-related offenses.
It’s important to note that there is a certain amount of overlap between the eligibility for TSA PreCheck and the Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler Program. If you are a member of any of the following CBP programs, TSA PreCheck access is also available:
- Global Entry
Getting Approved for TSA PreCheck
You can begin the TSA PreCheck application process by first applying on the TSA’s official website. Once you have submitted all requested information, your application will be processed by a representative. This could take a period of several weeks or more depending on the time of year that you’re applying and the volume of additional applicants who all submitted at the same time.
As of 2016, the cost to sign up for the TSA PreCheck program is $85. Once your application has been approved, you will receive a notice of approval in the mail. It is at this time that you will also schedule an interview to finish the application process.
How to Travel With TSA PreCheck
After getting admitted to the TSA PreCheck program, you will enter the associated membership number that you receive into the box labeled “Known Traveler Number” when booking any online ticket reservations. If you participate in a frequent flyer program with any major airline, you can also enter this number there.
When you arrive at the airport, you will go through a separate TSA PreCheck line and will be entitled to all benefits that come with membership.
Other Considerations About TSA PreCheck
Once your TSA PreCheck application has been approved, you are generally authorized for multiple trips over a period not to exceed five years. Note that this two years may be limited if your passport expires before that date.
It is important to note that if you are a traveler coming into the United States and are a participating member of the TSA PreCheck program, this does NOT mean that you are eligible to say in the country for up to five years. The TSA PreCheck program only affects your ease of travel. You are still required to stay and leave the country under the terms dictated by the Visa Waiver Program. Currently, this only allows people visiting the United States to stay up to a period of 90 days.