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TSA Opens Pre Check to All U.S. Citizens

TSA Opens Pre Check to All U.S. Citizens

Beginning today, the TSA’s Pre Check trusted-traveler program is open to all U.S. citizens, nationals, and permanent residents who have not been convicted of certain crimes.

To be issued a Known Traveler Number, applicants must provide their biographic information, fingerprints, and proof of citizenship status. Although some of the application process can be completed online, applicants must also visit a designated application center. Initially, the only application center processing applications is at Indianapolis International Airport.

The application fee is $85, and is non-refundable.

Once approved, an applicant’s Known Traveler Number is valid for five years.

Pre Check passengers are entitled to use a special security-clearance lane, with less intrusive screening: Shoes, belts, and light outerwear may be left on, and laptops and 3-1-1 compliant liquids may be left in carry-on bags. The service is currently offered at around 100 U.S. airports.

Previously, Pre Check was available only to select travelers identified by nine participating airlines based on their frequent-flyer program profiles, and to members of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler program or Canada’s CBP’s NEXUS program.

Reader Reality Check

Have you had a chance to try Pre Check? Worth it?

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  • Akshay Baliga

    What about individuals on H1-b and similar work visas who are frequent travelers

  • arcticbull

    Depends where you’re from. If you’re from Canada then you can apply for Nexus, and you’re in. Otherwise, you’re out of luck unfortunately.

  • Gilad Rom

    I just had my TSA-Pre interview last week, and was told that as a Permanent resident, I am still not entitled to use Pre-Check. I wonder if they will enroll me into it automatically now.

  • Spoddy

    I’m a GC holder with GE and they have definitely allowed me – I’m 100% so far this year.

  • John Beeler

    Am I the only one who hates that this is open to the public? Honestly, what is the point now? The lines are going to be just as long >:( wish it was still limited to Global Entry

  • Gilad Rom

    Good to Know!

  • vsevolod4

    The lines at pre-check have been getting longer and it seems that there are many more “amateur” travelers who slow down the pre-check lines. Egads, I’ve had people taking their laptops out, their shoes off, etc. This will not end well.

  • vsevolod4

    If you have GlobalEntry, you will be in the trusted traveler program and can apply for TSA pre-check. Most Visa categories (including H1-b) are eligible, provided “your country has a bilateral trusted traveler arrangement with Customs and Border Patrol” …
    http://www.globalentry.gov/faq.html#a3
    It appears that India (which sends more H1-b than any other country) signed an agreement in September 2013 and will be joining the list of countries with bilateral trusted traveler arrangements (Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, Qatar): http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/21/us-india-biz-glob-entry-idUSnBw216454a+100+BSW20131021
    But these things take time. US signed a bilateral agreement with Singapore in 2011 and this has yet to show up in GlobalEntry. And at the same time, US citizens with GlobalEntry are supposed to be eligible for an “APEC” card (which provides similar entry into Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, PNG, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and Vietnam, with Russia and Canada on deck), but 2 years later it is still pending.

  • RoloT

    Agree with your sentiment. My experience this week at ATL was that the Pre-Check lines were nearly as long as the standard security line. Today, flying out of PHX, I was in the Pre-Check line behind an older lady in a wheel chair. The good thing is that we know the TSA will respond quickly to the increase in TSA passengers and will thus allocate more resources/lanes to Pre-check……yes I’m kidding

  • Jack Wilkins

    I have seen them add additional PreCheck lines……EG in Nashville they
    added 1 additional checkpoint and are planning on adding another 2… I do agree that ‘managed inclusion’ isn’t the way to go though…….

  • Red Argentine

    On a flight from EWR to MSN, my boarding pass was marked TSA pre, and I was invited to avail of the benefits.

    Not only have I not applied for TSA pre, I am neither a US citizen nor resident.

    Doesn’t give me much confidence in the overall security system. Although we know it is mostly done so we think the TSA has it all under control.

  • CongressWorksForUs

    Oh hush up. I travel with 2 laptops, so I still have to take one out, and my shoes have stabiizing bars in the bottom so they make the metal detector beep, so they come off too.

    Do you think I want to have to do either of those???

  • Philip Petrulli

    I have had Global Entry for 5 years. My wife does not have it so she goes to the long line, and tells me that I am not a gentleman, by not going with her. On a recent PIT-Rome trip I had a group of 12 persons that all got TSA-pre…they were in shock and thanked me for the special service. Since they were in a group record associated with me they were assigned TSA-pre by US Airways. Here is the BIG Secret…create your profile with the airlines direct and you can skip the Global Entry interview.

  • vsevolod4

    I travel with 2 laptops, an ipad and a bunch of small miscellany in my laptop bag and, travel 400,000 “butt in seat” miles a year. I have never taken my laptops out through TSA pre-check; only once did they do a random swabbing of my bag.
    There definitely has been an increase in the number of amateurs and gate lice going through TSA, and it will only get worse.

  • Jim Stone

    Next will be the requirement that the Untrusted Traveller (UT) line is not available to pax with TSA Pre-V on their boarding pass. (The diametric opposite to the original intent of Pre-V).

    So even if the UT line is much shorter, you would have no choice but to stand in the lengthily-lined Pre-V section…to pass the time, you could reminisce about how the long queue now SO much reminds you of the UT line you previously went through.

  • kenish

    In the past month, precheck at LAX, SNA, and BOS were all fast and a very positive experience. BOS is usually a major zoo; I was the only customer in Pre-V and was joking around with the bored TSA agents. SJU was a chaotic, mismanaged zoo. TSA was yelling at people (including me) who were following their signage…they had set up the sign backwards! Then, people in pre-V were subjected to a TSA app on an iPad called a “randomizer” which re-directed the lucky winners to the regular line!

  • paulc1978

    I completely agree. I actually saw a woman argue with TSA today that she shouldn’t be Precheck. She seemed to misunderstand that having Precheck is different than the class of seat on the plane.

    TSA isn’t doing a good job letting people know what they have to do in the Precheck line. I see so many people start taking their shoes off before a TSA agent runs over and tells them they don’t need to do that.

    If this is going to work with the kettles going through the Precheck lines there needs to be incredibly explicit wording that everyone sees.

  • elgolfman

    Exactly. Was good while it lasted.

  • elgolfman

    Actually – I was wondering why it was so slow. Has this been implemented yet? SRQ had the entire line not knowing the process a week ago. LGA yesterday was backed up for 20 minutes.

  • elgolfman

    The larger hubs will be a cluster I’m afraid.

  • Chris Mitchell

    I’m already seeing much longer lines at ORD. It has been quicker going through “traditional” security lately. There still should be seperate lines for true frequent travelers. Not just those who pony up the $85.

  • Jeffrey Goodman

    I’ll echo some of the things already posted. United approved me after I requested such (rather than receive an invitation). They said my lifetime miles did the trick rather than current elite status which I don’t have (I only fly them 45K/year). American denied the same request. I recently flew LAX to BOS (prime travel times and days) and it was fantastic. No lines. Quick as can be. I also applied for Global Entry ($100 versus $85 but has benefits in clearing customs) and was conditionally approved (passed background check) in November and the first appointment for fingerprinting, etc. was first week in April (at LAX). The recent experience was far better than “priority security line” which I could have used as well on United. I share the fear that by opening it up to everyone, it will no longer be a nice experience. For the time being, they only have one processing center in Indianapolis so there are only so many people that can go there to get fingerprinted, etc. I also suspect an $85 charge will limit many other travelers who are more casual. So while I don’t want to lose the speed and convenience, I do think a different system not reliant on invitation from an airline makes sense. I suppose we will see.

  • metro_struggler

    Did you have to do something different to be eligible with GE? I’m a GC holder and still have not been able to use the Pre-Check lines and I have GE for a while now.

  • Helmut Jilling

    I love pre check, not having to take stuff out or off. I love the short lines, that will probably change. But these are people who will pay $85 for the privilege, so that keeps it in check. But, I don’t understand when they put unchecked people through pre check. That defeats the whole point.

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