What is TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck® is an expedited security screening program connecting travelers departing from the United States with smarter security and a better air travel experience. Passengers can apply for the TSA PreCheck Application Program to determine if they are low-risk and eligible to receive expedited screening.

The TSA PreCheck program can help travelers speed through security checkpoints at more than 200 U.S. airports.

Travelers often dread going through TSA security lines, but by signing up for TSA PreCheck, you can save a lot of time and hassle at airport security.

Exactly how much time can you save?

We’ll put it this way: In June 2021, 97% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes at airport security.

Travelers with TSA PreCheck can use dedicated security lines, keep their shoes on and leave their 3-1-1 liquids and laptops in their bags. These benefits are available when flying on dozens of airlines at over 200 airports.

About TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck is a membership program that offers dedicated airport security lines and streamlined screening at a few hundred airports across the U.S.

Upon approval, members receive a Known Traveler Number that lets the airlines know that you are eligible for TSA PreCheck benefits.

More than 80 airlines participate in TSA PreCheck to provide a smoother airport screening process. Simply add your Known Traveler Number to your flight reservations to receive a “TSA PreCheck” designation on your boarding pass and use the dedicated security lines. On some flights you may not receive TSA PreCheck benefits based on the airline you’re flying, which airport you are flying from or TSA procedures.

Children 12 and under do not need their own TSA PreCheck membership. As long as they are traveling with an adult who is a member, they can use the TSA Security lanes too.

TSA PreCheck requirements

The TSA PreCheck program is only open to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents.

Travelers interested in TSA PreCheck must apply online for pre-approval. Once your interview is booked, you are required to bring an unexpired U.S. government-issued photo identification, plus proof of citizenship. Accepted documents include your passport or a driver’s license and birth certificate.

Immigrants can learn more about required documentation on the Homeland Security website.

How much does TSA PreCheck cost?

The benefits sound great, but what is the fee for TSA PreCheck? TSA PreCheck costs $78 for a five-year membership period. After the initial application fee, PreCheck renewal only costs $70 if completed online. As detailed below, some travel credit cards will help offset this cost.


TSA PreCheck interview

The TSA PreCheck interview usually takes less than 10 minutes. It is primarily meant to verify your identification documents and process your fingerprints. For most people, you’ll need to bring your driver’s license and passport. However, it is best to use this interactive guide from the Department of Homeland Security to answer a few quick questions to know for sure which documents you should bring.

You will also be required to pay the nonrefundable $78 fee at your appointment. Payment can be made by credit card, company check, cashier’s check or money order.

Once you’re approved for TSA PreCheck, add your Known Traveler Number to your existing flight reservations and airline loyalty program profiles. This will allow you to use the dedicated TSA PreCheck lanes across the U.S.

Is TSA PreCheck worth it?

Yes. This valuable tool saves you time and frustration at airport security. If you’ve ever missed a flight due to long security screening lines, you know how critical it can be to get through airport security quickly.

The initial application fee is $78 for the first five years. It’s $70 to renew online thereafter. Numerous credit cards will cover the cost for you. However, if you do pay for it yourself, the fee breaks down to less than $2 per month, which is surely worth it — even for the occasional traveler.