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How Much Does TSA Precheck Cost? Is It Worth It?

  • Air Travel
  • Renee Martin
  • 8 minutes

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Airports are not fun places, period. As any seasoned traveler can attest, it involves a lot of waiting around in interminably long lines. However, if you’re willing to pay for it, there are ways to make this process a little easier and a lot quicker, thereby reducing this agony. TSA PreCheck is one of several Trusted Traveler programs that allow some passengers to pay to skip the long security lines and deal with fewer hassles on the day of their flight. 

While traveling by air, you need to consider more than just the flight duration. There’s getting to and from the airport, waiting in line to check in, waiting in line to drop off bags, waiting in line to clear customs if you’re flying overseas, and finally, waiting in the ever-popular TSA queue. That’s quite a lot of waiting happening right there!  

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More and more travelers are looking for ways to cut down on hassles at airports, such as delays, cancellations, misplaced bags, sold-out parking, and lengthy queues. While it may not ensure your flight leaves on time, TSA PreCheck can help you get through security much quicker. 

What is TSA PreCheck ? 

TSA PreCheck is a government program that enables travelers to skip security lines at US airports. 

Once accepted into the program, travelers must submit fingerprints, pay a non-refundable fee, and undergo a background check. They are then assigned a Known Traveler Number. TSA PreCheck does not come with an ID card. 

TSA Precheck

The Transportation Security Administration or TSA is in charge of screening you and your carry-on luggage. PreCheck grants you access to a unique TSA security line at most US airports and on flights operated by most US airlines. As a result, the PreCheck line is usually speedier. You also don’t have to take things like laptops out of your luggage or remove your shoes or belt.  

How much is TSA PreCheck ?  

The initial non-refundable application fee is $85. The charge is valid for five years and covers the operational costs of the TSA PreCheck® Application Program. Online renewals incur a $70 non-refundable cost.  

Note: Please keep in mind that you will not be refunded if you are disqualified from the program. 

How to get TSA PreCheck  

Getting PreCheck is relatively easy. The TSA PreCheck application process takes around 5 minutes to complete online. Then you must arrange an in-person interview at an enrollment center, many of which are located in airports. The interview, which will involve fingerprinting and a background check, will take around 10 minutes. To use TSA PreCheck, you must first apply for and receive a Known Traveler Number.

how to get tsa precheck

How to apply for TSA PreCheck  

You can start by submitting an online application and scheduling an in-person appointment. Then, click on the “Apply Now” button. This will take you to the TSA’s Universal Enrollment website and the official TSA PreCheck application. 

How to apply for TSA Precheck

The online application takes approximately five minutes to complete and consists of 4 steps.  

  1. In the first step, you must enter biographic information such as your name, gender, date of birth, email id, and phone number. 
  2. In the second step, you must confirm your eligibility for the program by answering a series of ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions on your citizenship, residency, and criminal record, if any. 
  3. The third step asks you to specify the photo ID and citizenship/immigration papers you will bring to your in-person appointment. A US driver’s license is an example of the former, whereas a passport or official birth certificate is an example of the latter. 
  4. In the fourth and final step, you must choose an enrollment center (from approx. 400 centers across the country) for your in-person appointment. The page populates the closest centers to your address based on your ZIP code. Once you select a center, you can view the next open appointment time and schedule it. You may also walk in into the enrolling facility, but note that those with appointments have priority. 

How long does it take to get TSA PreCheck? 

The whole procedure will rely on the appointment availability at your nearest airport and the speed with which you can book a TSA interview.   

Typically, after the appointment, there is a speedy turnaround. Approved applicants receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) through email, typically three to five days following their interview. However, some TSA PreCheck applications can take up to sixty days to process, and TSA PreCheck approval is not guaranteed. In addition, you may be denied if you have any disqualifying criminal charges.  

Applicants who are denied will not receive a refund of the $85 application fee. 

How does TSA PreCheck work? 

Once you have obtained your KTN, you need to add it to your existing travel reservations and airline loyalty program profiles before check-in. This allows the TSA PreCheck icon to appear on your electronic or printed boarding pass. 

When you get to the airport security checkpoint, use the TSA PreCheck Lane. Directions to the PreCheck lane are usually designated with a blue TSA Pre banner. So you usually won’t miss it. However, if you do or are on your first flight with TSA PreCheck, you can always ask for help. 

The rest of the procedure is pretty straightforward. When your turn comes, walk to their office, show them TSA PreCheck stamped ticket/mobile boarding pass, and go through security. That’s it – you’re done!  

What to do if you don’t receive PreCheck on your boarding pass 

Sometimes Your Known Traveler Number may disappear from your itinerary, and you will need to re-enter it. You can do this upon check-in. If you don’t see the TSA PreCheck logo on your boarding pass and you’re flying with an approved carrier, go to the airline counter to re-enter your Known Traveler Number. You can also re-enter it from within the airline app. 

TSA precheck benefits 

TSA Precheck Benefits


How long does TSA precheck last? 

Your TSA PreCheck membership will last you for five years.  

How do I check my TSA PreCheck status? 

To check your TSA PreCheck status online application, you can visit Universal Enroll and click Check my Service Status if you enrolled using TSA’s enrollment provider. If your state does not use the TSA enrollment provider, you must contact your state’s licensing department to determine the status of your application. 

What is a Known Traveler Number? 

A Known Traveler Number, or KTN, is assigned to all persons who have been approved for TSA PreCheck expedited screening. To have the TSA PreCheck indicator displayed on your boarding pass, you must include this number in the KTN field when making airline travel bookings. 

Do children need to apply for TSA PreCheck? 

Children under 12 can use the PreCheck advantages of their parents and benefit from faster security screening as TSA Pre members. This applies to legal guardians as well. 

Can I lose my TSA PreCheck membership? 

Yes, you may lose TSA PreCheck if you commit certain federal security offenses, such as presenting false or fraudulent documents, threatening with a bomb, carrying a firearm, explosive, or other forbidden goods to the airport, or interfering with security procedures. 

Which airports have TSA PreCheck? 

TSA PreCheck is currently offered at more than 200 airports nationwide, with 85+ member airlines. Some of the major airports offering PreCheck are:  

Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport (AUS)  Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int’l Airport (ATL)  Orlando Int’l Airport (MCO) 
Baltimore- Washington Int’l Airport (BWI)  Honolulu Int’l Airport (HNL)  Philadelphia Int’l Airport (PHL) 
Boston- Logan Int’l Airport (BOS)  Houston – G. Bush Intcntl Airport (IAH)  Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport (PHX) 
Charlotte-Douglas Int’l Airport (CLT)  Las Vegas – McCarran Int’l Airport (LAS)  Portland Int’l Airport (PDX) 
Chicago Midway Int’l Airport (MDW)  Los Angeles Int’l Airport (LAX)  Salt Lake City Int’l Airport (SLC) 
Chicago O’Hare Int’l Airport (ORD)  Miami Int’l Airport (MIA)  San Diego Int’l Airport (SAN) 
Dallas Love Field (DAL)  Minneapolis- St. Paul Int’l Airport (MSP)  San Francisco Int’l Airport (SFO) 
Dallas/Ft. Worth Int’l Airport (DFW)  Nashville Int’l Airport (BNA)  Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport-SeaTac (SEA) 
Denver Int’l Airport (DEN)  New York – John F. Kennedy Int’l Airport (JFK)  Tampa Int’l Airport (TPA) 
Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)  New York – LaGuardia Airport (LGA)  Washington National Airport (DCA) 
Ft. Lauderdale- Hollywood Int’l Airport (FLL)  Newark Liberty Int’l Airport (EWR)  Washington-Dulles Int’l Airport (IAD) 

 The list of participating airlines is on the official website.  

How to get TSA PreCheck for free 

Several cards provide statement credits for the application fee. You will receive a return in the form of a statement credit in a few weeks, effectively waiving the application charge if you use one of the following credit cards to pay for the expense. The following credit cards give TSA PreCheck fee credits: 

  • Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card 
  • Capital One Venture Rewards credit card 
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards credit card 
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve 
  • Citi Prestige card 
  • The Platinum Card from American Express 


Is TSA PreCheck worth it? 

We think it is well worth paying for. $85 for five years is not money well-spent if it helps you skip lines. After all, it only works out to $17 a year. 

Another easy-peasy way to reduce air travel hassles is to book your airport parking spot online in advance with Way.com.

Here’s more info on top-rated airport parkingthe best parking spots in your city, the most affordable auto insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.

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