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TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck — is a U.S. state program that allows individuals considered safe by the TSA to go in the airports under quick procedure. The program is called «Trusted Traveler», it was created in 2011. TSA PreCheck covers the members of the «frequently flying passenger» program, members of similar programs, military officers, students of military schools, and midshipmen of service academies. 

Receiving and Utilizing of the TSA PreCheck

The regular procedure of the security check may take a lot of time. Gate agents check the clothes, carry-on, and documents. It is necessary to avoid the contraband of explosives and narcotic substances. A passenger needs to take off the coat, and shoes, open the bag, uncase the notebook, and remove the metal things. 

The advantage of the TSA PreCheck is the possibility to reduce the time of checking. Participants of TSA PreCheck have their special queue. They don't have to take off their shoes, belts, and outer garments, or don't uncase the notebook and bottles with liquidity. 

To submit a request for the TSA PreCheck, it is necessary to visit the TSA site. Here, the individual should fill out a special form for a request and provide the list of documents they will take on the interview. Then, the individual should select one of the TSA centers and appoint the day and time for an interview. After all, they receive a confirmation email. However, the center may decline the application because of criminal charges and security risk assessment. In this case, the individual can appeal this decision and request a reconsideration.

Things to provide for application:

  • name and surname;
  • information about the citizenship (passport, birth certificate, driver's license);
  • physical description;
  • residence address;
  • postal address;
  • contacts (phone number or email);
  • criminal history, if any;
  • identity document with photo. 

During the interview, the individual should provide the documents confirming the identity and tell about the profession and traveling habits. The individuals receive the individual number (KTN) after paying $85, back investigation, and passing the procedure of dactyloscopy record. Passengers are informed if they get PreCheck by having a special mark on the boarding pass. 

Some individuals can receive the TSA without payment. These are the military officers and participants of the promotional programs. Some credit cards refund the money for the TSA PreCheck fee. Also, some airline companies allow the clients to use the miles for the payment.

The program doesn’t cover relatives except for kids under twelve. They can pass TSA PreCheck with the parent or guardian. When the child turns twelve, they should obtain their PreCheck. 

TSA PreCheck is active for five years. However, if some personal information changes, it should be renewed as soon as possible. To do so, the member should call the hotline or send the online request. Prolongation of membership costs $70.  

Alternative of TSA PreCheck

Despite its widespread usage, the TSA was criticized. There were complaints about the long waiting and random suspension for the conditions of travel. Also, the travelers were admitting that PreCheck isn’t available on every flight. Not all airline companies take part in TSA PreCheck, and the owners of TSA still go through the standard checking. 

The main complaints were related to the speed of luggage examination. The research has shown that waiting time without the PreCheck is only 10 minutes longer, and TSA PreCheck doesn't speed up the checking. Besides, TSA PreCheck doesn’t always save from the additional checking. There were situations when the owners of KTN were subjected to heightened screening.

That’s why travelers often use alternative programs. The most well-known are Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI. The NEXUS program helps individuals to receive a special card for a quick security check on flights between the USA and Canada. The SENTRI program provides a card for quick checking on international flights. 

The Global Entry was developed by United States Customs and Border Protection. The residents of some other countries may also get it. To get a Global Entry ID, the passenger should fill in the request and have an interview. When the individual receives the ID card, they may utilize the Global Entry Kiosks in airports for a quick checking.

Comparison of TSA PreCheck and Global Entry:

TSA PreCheck

Global Entry

Quick security check 

Quick security check and quick custom check during the home flight in the U.S.

Valid only on the U.S. flights 

Valid in international and inner flights

$85 for 5 years, $70 for updating

$100 for 5 years, $100 for updating

380 registration centers

116 registration centers 

As we see, there aren’t too many differences between these programs. TSA PreCheck is cheaper, but Global Entry gives more opportunities. So, it is the passenger who decides which program to select because it all depends on the destination of the flight. Some programs suit the inner flights, others are better for international traveling.

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