What is TSA PreCheck®?

When arriving at the airport, you might be eager to get to your gate. But security lines can get long, and you often have to unpack things from your bag and remove your shoes, belt and jacket. TSA PreCheck® lets travelers head to an expedited line for a smoother security process.

Learn more about TSA PreCheck® benefits and how to apply.

Key takeaways

  • TSA PreCheck® can help you move through U.S. airport security more quickly and efficiently.

  • With TSA PreCheck®, you can use a separate security line and don’t have to remove your shoes, belt or light jacket. You can also keep your laptop and small liquids in your luggage.

  • An online application, a fee and an in-person appointment are required to enroll in TSA PreCheck®.

  • Many travel credit cards, including Capital One travel cards, will cover the TSA PreCheck® application fee for cardholders.

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How does TSA PreCheck® work?

TSA PreCheck® is a Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) run by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that offers expedited security screening to low-risk travelers at more than 200 airports and 90 airlines. A TSA PreCheck® application costs $78 or $85 depending on the provider and lasts for five years.

TSA PreCheck® members receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN). When the KTN is added to airline reservations, a TSA PreCheck® indicator will be printed on the boarding pass.

TSA PreCheck® benefits

Using TSA PreCheck® lines can mean a faster security screening when entering the airport. TSA says that 99% of TSA PreCheck® members wait in line for fewer than 10 minutes.

In the TSA PreCheck® line, travelers don’t have to remove these things:

Who is eligible for TSA PreCheck®?

U.S. citizens, nationals and lawful permanent residents are eligible to apply for TSA PreCheck®. Children under 12 years of age can also use TSA PreCheck® with an eligible adult.

Applicants with a criminal history or a violation of federal security regulations may be ineligible or suspended from TSA PreCheck®.

How to get TSA PreCheck®

Here’s how to apply for TSA PreCheck®:

  1. Choose a provider, Idemia or Telos, that has an enrollment center near you.

  2. Apply online on the provider’s website, which takes about 5 minutes.

  3. Schedule an in-person appointment at one of the provider’s enrollment centers.

  4. Attend the appointment for fingerprinting, documents handoff and fee payment. TSA PreCheck® costs $78 or $85, depending on the provider.

  5. Once approved, you’ll receive a KTN to add to flight reservations.

How to get TSA PreCheck® for free

There may be a few ways to get a free TSA PreCheck® membership:

  • Military members and Department of Defense (DOD) civilians: Active duty military members, DOD employees and U.S. military academy cadets and midshipmen can use their DOD ID number as a KTN.

  • Other TTP memberships: Members of other TTPs like Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI may also have access to TSA PreCheck®.

  • Travel credit cards: Some travel credit cards, like Capital One’s Venture, Venture X, Spark Miles and Venture X Business cards, will reimburse cardholders with up to a $100 statement credit for the TSA PreCheck® or Global Entry application fee.*

  • Loyalty programs: Some airline and hotel loyalty programs may allow members to use points or miles to pay for TSA PreCheck®.

TSA PreCheck® in a nutshell

If you fly often and would like to spend less time with fewer hassles waiting in airport security lines, then TSA PreCheck® may be a good choice.

You could see if you’re pre-approved for a Venture card with no harm to your credit to receive up to a $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck® and other travel rewards.

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