TSA PreCheck is a US government program that allows certain travellers to pass through an expedited security system at the airport. If you’ve ever had to wait hours in line just to go through security, then this might sound extremely attractive to you.
In July 2019, reports showed that 93% of TSA PreCheck passengers took less than five minutes to pass through the TSA security checkpoint at American airports. Five minutes? Sign us up!
While it might sound like the coolest travel program around, there are a few things you need to know, and a few requirements you need to meet before you’re eligible for this kind of speedy treatments. Here are seven things to know about TSA PreCheck before you think about signing up.
What To Know About TSA PreCheck
1. You Have To Sign Up For TSA PreCheck
No, you, unfortunately, don’t get contacted by the US government and secretly selected for TSA PreCheck. You can apply directly with the TSA online will eventually have to visit one of the over 380 application centres where they’ll fingerprint you, ask for more documentation, and do an in-person background check.
2. The TSA PreCheck Cost Is $85
Similar to other travel loyalty or member programs around the world, you also have to pay to sign up for TSA PreCheck. Currently, the cost is $85 and it’s non-refundable. This means that if your application is denied you lose the $85.
3. Foreign Travellers Can Apply For TSA PreCheck
Yes, if you’re not American-born you can still enjoy all of the amazing perks that TSA PreCheck offers frequent travellers. However, you have to meet certain residency requirements if you’re not a US citizen.
4. You’ll Receive A Known Traveller Number
Once your application is approved, you’ll receive a known traveller number that’s valid for five years. You can usually find the known traveller number on the back of your NEXUS, SENTRI, or Global Entry card.
5. You Don’t Have To Remove Your Shoes
Finally! You’ll be able to make it through security with your shoes still on. On top of that, travellers who qualify for TSA PreCheck don’t have to take off belts or jackets nor do they have to remove their laptops from their cases. Talk about a time-saver.
6. You Need To Add Your Known Traveller Number To Tickets
When you book a new plane ticket, you’ll be prompted to enter your known traveller number. If you don’t, then your status won’t show up on your ticket and you won’t be eligible to enjoy the expedited line at the airport.
7. There Are Other Trusted Travellers Programs
If you don’t qualify for this program, then you might qualify for other Trusted Traveller programs, such as Global Entry, NEXUS, or Sentri. Sentri, for example, allows any national or foreign travellers to easily enter the US from Canada or Mexico.