TSA PreCheck & Traveling With Family

Advertiser disclosure
TSA PreCheck & Traveling With Family
By Katie D'Amore
Published on Oct 10, 2022
Edited by Daniel Zeevi

The right snacks, a handy change of clothes, and toys or activities for bored little fingers can help dwindle down travel troubles when traveling with little ones. You’ll also find that avoiding shoes with laces and booking early-morning flights can help reduce the fuss surrounding air travel—as well as registering for Transportation Security Administration’s TSAPreCheck.

Before you look into some TSA PreCheck FAQ or TSA PreCheck requirements you’ll need, below we’ll take a look at whether TSA PreCheck membership will work for young travelers or in a family group—particularly, does TSA PreCheck apply to everyone on the reservation, or just to the individual? 

Does TSA PreCheck Apply to Spouses?

Let’s answer the “can spouse travel with TSA PreCheck” search first. When using TSA PreCheck trusted traveler program, traveling with spouses does not mean they can go through the expedited TSA checkpoints with you. 

When TSA PreCheck traveling with a spouse, every adult must apply for the TSA PreCheck program directly and receive a unique Known Traveler Number (KTN) regardless of marital status or who they’re traveling with. You may come across anecdotal testimony that differs, but this is a very rare exception. 

Occasionally, if someone with a KTN makes a reservation for two, the partner’s boarding pass will print with the TSA PreCheck indicator on it, allowing them to use expedited security even though they haven’t applied as TSA PreCheck member or a current TSA PreCheck passengers. But again—this is a rare occurrence that appears to be an airline error rather than a perk.

How Does TSA PreCheck Work for Children?

In most instances, minors can take advantage of TSA PreCheck benefits. Whether they apply to the program directly or can depend on a parent’s membership depends on their age and whether they’re traveling with the parent. 

Children Age 12 and Under Traveling With a Guardian

A common question for travelers with young children is, “can my child go through TSA PreCheck with me?” 

The answer is yes for children 12 and younger. So long as they are traveling with a parent or guardian who has current TSA PreCheck status clearly marked on a boarding pass and a Known Traveler Number , they can go through the expedited TSA PreCheck line at designatedcheckpoints without applying directly to the trusted traveler program. 

Children Age 13 to 17 Traveling With a Guardian

Once a child reaches age 13, he or she must apply for the program directly and show a boarding pass that includes the TSA PreCheck indicator to utilize the dedicated TSA PreCheck laneat security checkpoints.

If travel is in the future and your child will turn 13 soon, it’s wise to get started on the application and set up an appointment at an enrollment center. 

However, minors who have been approved for the program may still be randomly excluded from receiving the TSA PreCheck indicator on their boarding passes and required to go through standard security screening.1

Minors Traveling Alone

Travelers aged 17 or under who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian with the TSA PreCheck indicator on their boarding pass are able to utilize dedicated TSA PreCheck lines only if they have applied to and been approved by the program directly. 

Applying for TSA PreCheck for Minors

Children go through the same steps as adults for admission to the TSA PreCheck program. This includes: 

  • Applying online
  • Scheduling an in-person appointment at a local enrollment center
  • Bringing identification and citizenship status documents to the appointment
  • Undergoing fingerprinting

Regardless of age, TSA PreCheck membership is open only to United States service members and citizens, UnitedStates nationals, and any lawful permanent resident (LPR). 

In terms of criminal background, the questions posed in the online application do exclude cases adjudicated under juvenile offender provisions for the majority of offenses.2 However, minors may still be refused TSA Pre Check approval if they: 

  • Have been incarcerated for a felony conviction in the past five years
  • Are wanted or under indictment for a disqualifying crime 
  • Have been committed to an inpatient facility for mental health or psychiatric reasons or determined to pose a threat to self or others within the past seven years

For identification documents, note that state-issued IDs for minors can be problematic because they don’t typically include photographs.1 Check with your enrollment center or opt for a passport if available.

Ready to Enroll in TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck helps you save time and skip airport security lines, but applying for membership for all your family members can be complex.

That’s where GOV+ comes in. Whether you’re renewing your TSA PreCheck or applying for the whole family, 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.


1. Kids Are A Trip, Inc. TSA PreCheck – What You Need to Know and How to Apply. https://kidsareatrip.com/tsa-precheck-what-you-need-to-know-and-how-to-apply/

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

Katie D'Amore
About the author
Katie D’Amore is the Chief Operating Officer at GovPlus, the go-to portal for all your government forms and applications. Katie is a serial entrepreneur with experience starting and growing companies from scratch into profitable businesses.

Related articles