How to Get TSA PreCheck

By Kat George

Tips to help your trip go smoothly before you even step into an airport

How to Get TSA PreCheck

Getting through security at the airport can be a long, tiring process, but not if you have TSA PreCheck. You can get your TSA PreCheck by simply applying online, paying a fee and then attending a quick interview and background check. You may never have to wait in long lines at the airport again.

The application process

Applying for TSA PreCheck is as simple as visiting the TSA website and filling out an online application. The application takes about five minutes to complete, and all you'll need are your personal details. You must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. You will also have to pay a one-time application fee of $85 for a five-year membership that gives you expedited screening at TSA checkpoints for all domestic flights. After you've applied, you also will have to attend an in-person 10-minute interview that includes fingerprinting and ID verification.

Does PreCheck apply to global travel?

If you're a regular overseas traveler, you might want to apply for the TSA's Global Entry program instead. The process is almost the same: Apply online and attend a short, in-person interview. However, for Global Entry certification, you will have to present a valid passport, and the fee is $100 for five years. This entitles you to expedited processing through customs upon arrival in the U.S. from abroad, and it also includes all the benefits of domestic TSA PreCheck. Citizens from other countries may also apply for Global Entry.

More about the Known Traveler Number (KTN)

Once you have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry approval, you will be assigned a KTN, or “Known Traveler Number.” To benefit from the PreCheck program, you must enter your KTN for every flight booked. When you reserve your flight on a participating airline's website, you will see a field on the screen to enter your KTN. By contacting the airline you booked with directly, you can also add your KTN to previously booked flights and sometimes even to your frequent flyer profile, depending upon the airline.