All You Want to Know About TSA PreCheck

Passing through security clearance is one of the steps of check-in process. Since there is always an effort to make the whole process simpler, easier and faster for passengers, these steps are revisited to make these better. Expediting security clearance assumes importance. Since airport security is government controlled and not by the airline, the government needs to be proactive in initiating this change.
The US government has 4 different programs running for this very purpose of expediting the security clearances for domestic air travel within USA. Some of these are also implemented at the international airports.
a) TSA PreCheck
b) Global Entry
c) Nexus
d) Sentri

TSA PreCheck (TSA Pre✓®)

Who are eligible for applying for TSA PreCheck?
American citizens or Green Card holders are eligible for this facility. Even foreign citizens can apply for it but they have to meet certain requirements of citizenship or residency.

What is the process of TSA PreCheck?
i) The passengers are required to apply to TSA for participating in this program. Simply click the link https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/workflows?servicecode=11115V&service=pre-enroll and you will be directed to TSA webpage for starting the process.
ii) TSA has set up enrollment centers all over the country. There are more than 1200 of these. After enrolling online, you have to visit any of these centers for fingerprinting, verfication of certain documents like citizenship, immigration and photo ID. The agent present there will meet you for about 10 minutes.
iii) Thereafter, these people carry out a background check and, if all is okay, it is done within 10 to 30 days.
iv) In the end, you are given a KTN, or the Known Traveler Number which needs to be used in the registered profile with the airline you are flying.

What all documents are needed for PreCheck verification?

You must present at least one document from the List A. In case you do not have any document in List A, you need to present two documents from List B (one valid photo ID AND one citizenship proof). List A and B are given below.

LIST A (only one document from this list)

  • Unexpired U.S. Passport (book or card)
  • Unexpired Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC)
  • Unexpired Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Card
  • Unexpired U.S. Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL) or
  • Unexpired Enhanced Identification Card (EID)
  • Permanent Resident Card (I-551) often referred to
    as a “Green Card”
  • Unexpired Foreign Passport AND immigrant visa
    with I-551 annotation of “Upon Endorsement Serves
    as Temporary I-551 Evidencing Permanent Residence
    of 1 Year”
  • Unexpired Re-entry Permit (I-327)

LIST B (at least one photo ID and one citizenship proof)

Valid Photo ID Valid Proof of Citizenship
• Unexpired driver’s license issued by a State or outlying possession of the U.S. • U.S. Birth Certificate
• Unexpired temporary driver’s license plus expired driver’s license (constitutes one document) • U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561)
• Unexpired photo ID card issued by the federal government or by a State or outlying possession of the U.S. This must include a federal agency, State or State agency seal or logo (such as a State university ID). Permits are not considered valid identity documents (such as gun permits). • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570)
• Unexpired U.S. military ID card • U.S. Citizen Identification Card (I-179 or I-197)
• Unexpired U.S. retired military ID card • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)
• Unexpired U.S. military dependent’s card • Certification of Report of Birth Abroad (DS-1350 or FS-545)
• Native American tribal document with photo • Expired U.S. passport within 12 months of expiration
• Unexpired Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
• Unexpired Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC)
• Expired U.S. passport within 12 months of expiration

How to add KTN Number after PreCheck on airline?
You have to log-in to the airline website and add this number under the Secure Flight Passenger Data. This SFPD is shared by the airline with the TSA. Therefore, all personal information, such as name, etc shall be same on all records. If you are making reservations using offline means, you must make it a point to mention this to the reservation agent.

Please note that KTNs are also issued for Global Entry, Sentri or Nexus Programs

How does PreCheck help at airport?

The KTN must be included in right field of airline reservation and the TSA PreCheck indicator (TSA Pre✓®) must be present on boarding pass and also embedded in barcode.

Those passengers who are selected in this program are required to go directly to the faster PreCheck lane for security clearance. All airports may not be having these lanes. Even if there is no dedicated lane for this, you just have to approach the airline assistants and show them the PreCheck verification for expedited screening. The benefit of TSA PreCheck process is that the passengers who are participating in it are not required to remove their shoes, belts, jackets, laptops and 3-1-1 liquids during security screening at airports.

Please note that any other documentation other than TSA Pre✓® KTN number, such as trusted traveler card of Global Entry, Nexus or Sentri can not be used in its place. Even TSA approval letter can not be used.

What Indicator needs to be printed on boarding pass for availing this facility?

Either of these three shall be printed: TSAPRECHK, TSA PRE, or TSA Pre®

Is my family traveling with me is covered under my PreCheck?

The TSA Precheck boarding pass passenger (parent or guadian) can take children of age 12 years or less only through the PreCheck lane at airport.

What percentage of people get PreCheck selection?
As per the TSA, about 99 percent of the people who applied for it get the clearance. Just the unlucky 1% get rejected. However, TSA does sent them letters detailing on why they were rejected and how they can make corrections to get the clearance.

What is the fee or charge for TSA PreCheck?
$85 is the fee for getting the clearance for travel for 5 years.

When does PreCheck membership expire?

The expiry date is given along with membership. You will be notified by TSA about it. The ideal time to renew it is at least 6 months before the expiry date.

How Many Airlines and Airports are participating in this program?
More than USA 200 airports and 73 airlines are currently participating in this program.

The list of airlines is given below:

Aeromexico Delta Air Lines Seaborne Airlines
Air Canada Eastern Airlines Silver Airways
Air France Edelweiss Air Singapore Airlines
Air India Elite Airways Southern Airways Express
Air Serbia Emirates Southwest Airlines
Alaska Airlines Etihad Airways Spirit Airlines
All Nippon Airways EVA Air Sun Country Airlines
Allegiant Air Finnair Sunwing Airlines
American Airlines Flycana Swift Air
Aruba Airlines Frontier Airlines Swiss International Air Lines
Asiana Airlines Hawaiian Airlines Swoop
Austrian Airlines Icelandair TAP Air Portugal
Avianca InterCaribbean Airways Thomas Cook Airlines (Scan.)
Azul Airlines Interjet Thomas Cook Airlines (UK)
Boutique Airlines Japan Airlines Turkish Airlines
British Airways JetBlue Airways United Airlines
Brussels Airlines Key Lime Air ViaAir
Cape Air KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Virgin Atlantic
Cathay Pacific Airways Korean Air VivaAerobus
China Airlines Lufthansa Volaris
Condor Airlines Miami Air International WestJet
Contour Aviation Norwegian Air World Atlantic
Copa Airlines PAL Express Xtra Airways
Philippine Airlines Qatar Airways Scandinavian Airlines
Porter Airlines    

If you have any query regarding this or want to share your experience, please use comments section below for the same.


Why International Travelers Must Be Extra Careful While Doing Online Check In?

As most of the American airline companies provide the facility of online or web check in for domestic as well as international flights, you might believe that the process is all smooth for any destination. However, this is not the case.
Online check in enables you to reserve a seat for yourself ahead of others but you might still have to get the passport verified and check-in bag. Therefore, airport check-in timelines for your airline must be followed along with online check-in timelines.

Prior web or app check-in enables you to assign seat and even pay for the baggage at lesser cost than at airport, even though you might still be required to be present at the airline airport counter.

While the international travelers can follow the US airline’s guideline on web check-in, there might be some special requirement from the destination country to provide entry into that country. This makes it important to always consult the airline before booking the one-way international flight from USA to that destination.

Now, mentioned below for the opening and closing times for check-in for international flights of different US airlines.

  • American Airlines (AA) allows online check in from 24 hours till 45 minutes before departure time of flight (90 minutes for international).
  • Delta Airlines, on the other hand, allows online check in only up to 24 hours before the flight departure time.
  • United Airlines also provides online check in facility beginning 24 hours before flight departure time but it does not give the last time. However, it does asks you to check the airport check in times if you need to have a boarding pass at airport or have to check-in baggage.
  • Southwest Airlines also allows online check in beginning 24 hours and up to 1 hour (90m minutes for international flight) before flight departure.
  • Alaska Airlines begins online check in 24 hours before and till 1 hours before flight departure time.
  • Hawaiian Airlines provides it for 24 hours to 60 minutes time window for web check-in.
  • JetBlue Airlines allows web check-in from 24 hours to 30 minutes (60 minutes in case of international flights).
  • Frontier Airlines allows it from 24 hours to 60 minutes before departure time. However, the last to check in at airport (for checking in bags etc) is 45 minutes for domestic flights and 60 minutes for international flights.
  • Spirit Airlines alos allows it from 24 hours to 1 hour before flight departure. You can get the seat assignment and buy baggage.