TSA PreCheck FAQs

Advertiser disclosure
TSA PreCheck FAQs

Does TSA PreCheck membership mean you can skip security entirely? Can you wear lace-up boots and your usual watch without the hassle of removing shoes and jewelry? Can your teenager use the same security line? 

If you’re curious about the TSA pre-screening process but have questions, we’ve got answers for you. Let’s walk through these common TSA PreCheck FAQ to set your mind at ease and help you decide if the trusted traveler program is a good fit for you and your travels. 

#1 What Is TSA PreCheck and How Does It Work?

Before we cover the rest of the TSA FAQ, let’s start with the basics and some TSA PreCheck benefits

TSA PreCheck program is one of five Homeland Security Trusted Traveler Programs that provide pre-screening of eligible travelers to improve security by extending the amount of background checking on travelers ahead of time and to reduce the amount of time spent at security checkpoints.1

Once approved, you can use a dedicated TSA PreCheck laneat security and you won’t have to remove: 

  • Shoes
  • Belts
  • 3-1-1 liquids
  • Laptops
  • Light jackets

As of August 2022, the Transportation Security Administration or the TSA reports that 95% of TSA PreCheck passengers spend less than five minutes going through security checks.2

#2 What Is a KTN?

Once you’ve been approved by TSA PreCheck you’ll receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN). 

Enter your number into the KTN box when you book a flight. This will trigger display of the TSA PreCheck indicator on your boarding pass and allow you to use expedited screening. 

#3 Who Is Eligible to Apply for TSA PreCheck? 

Both adults and minors can apply for TSA PreCheck. However, they must be a: 

  • U.S. citizen, 
  • U.S. national, or 
  • U.S lawful permanent resident (LPR)

A criminal history may disqualify you—either permanently or temporarily—from the program depending on its severity, nature, and how long ago acts occurred.3 You can also be disqualified if you: 

  • Are currently wanted or under indictment for a disqualifying crime 
  • Have certain mental illness classifications, conditions, or findings
  • Are legally classified as a non-competent adult (requiring guardianship)

#4 How Long Does TSA PreCheck Status Last and How Much Does It Cost? 

There’s an $85 TSA PreCheck application fee to the program, which lasts for a duration of five years.4 The fee is due at your enrollment center appointment and can be paid by debit or credit card, company check, certified/cashier’s check, or money order. 

After that, you can renew TSA PreCheck status every five years—it will cost $70 if renewing online or $85 if renewing at an enrollment center.

#5 How and Where Do You Apply? 

First, you need to prepare your TSA PreCheck requirements and complete an online TSA PreCheck application to provide personal data, answer several questions, and schedule an appointment at a local enrollment center. During your in-person appointment, you’ll: 

  • Be fingerprinted
  • Show identification and citizenship or residency status documents
  • Pay the application fee

#6 Can Family Members Use TSA PreCheck? 

Can my child go through TSA PreCheck with me Your child age 12 or younger can join you at expedited security if your boarding pass displays the TSA PreCheck indicator. Children age 13 to 17 must apply to the program directly and receive their own TSA PreCheck approval. 

Can your spouse travel with TSA PreCheck? Spouses or partners are not eligible to rely on your TSA PreCheck status; all adults must apply, be granted their own KTN, and use it when booking a flight.

#7 Once I Apply, Is TSA PreCheck Status Guaranteed?

Your application or renewal may be refused either temporarily or permanently based on the eligibility factors (criminal, etc.) noted above. 

Additionally, the Transportation Security Administration or TSA randomly selects individuals to receive further security screening, including those who have KTNs. This can occur either at the security checkpoint or by your boarding pass not displaying the TSA PreCheck indicator (check with a ticket agent to ensure it’s not an airline error).

#8 What Name Should I Use on the TSA PreCheck Application?

Use your full, current, legal name. You’ll also be asked to provide all previous and maiden names and aliases. 

#9 What Are the Gender Declaration Requirements for TSA PreCheck?

You will need to declare a gender on your application. Options include: 

  • Male
  • Female
  • Another gender

However, your selection does not have to match what is shown on either your identification documents or airline reservations, and it can change over time without medical proof. 

What’s the Best Way to Apply for Your TSA PreCheck Membership?

Instead of spending hours on hold, searching across multiple websites, tracking down PDF or paper forms, or heading to government offices for help, the best way to register for government identification and programs including TSA PreCheck expedited screening is through GOV+. 

Whether you’re renewing your TSA PreCheck or applying for the first time, GOV+ makes the process easy. All you have to do is fill out our easy online form. We’ll check your eligibility, set up any necessary in-person appointments for you, and make sure you have the correct documentation.

Sources: 

1. Homeland Security. Trusted Traveler Programs. https://ttp.dhs.gov/

2. TSA. TSA PreCheck®. https://www.tsa.gov/precheck

3. TSA. Disqualifying Offenses and Other Factors. https://www.tsa.gov/disqualifying-offenses-factors

4. TSA. TSA PreCheck® FAQ. https://www.tsa.gov/precheck/faq

Related Articles