Back in July I wrote about the TSA’s plans to open up registration directly in the Pre-Check program. For those of you not familiar with Pre-Check, it’s an expedited airport security screening process available at select airports in the US, where you don’t have to take off your shoes, take your laptop out of your bag, etc.
Up until now the two ways to enroll for TSA Pre-Check have been either directly through an airline’s frequent flyer program (typically limited to elite members) or to be enrolled in Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS.
Well, the TSA finally opened up registration directly in the Pre-Check program today. You can enroll here, and there’s an $85 non-refundable fee for doing so, regardless of whether you get approved or not. You have to visit an enrollment center in order to process the application, and the first enrollment center is at Indianapolis Airport.
Here are all the details on how it works:
- Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and cannot have been convicted of certain crimes. If an applicant has a record of any of the crimes identified in the eligibility requirements, they may choose not to apply, as the application fee is nonrefundable.
- TSA Eligibility Requirements
- Interested applicants must visit an application center to provide biographic information (name, date of birth, address, etc.), fingerprints and valid required identity and citizenship/immigration documentation. Applicants also have the option to pre-enroll online to provide basic information and make an appointment before visiting an enrollment center.
- Nonrefundable application fee of $85.00.
- After completing enrollment, successful applicants will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) via U.S. mail after approximately 2-3 weeks or may check online after five business days.
- Initially, TSA is only accepting applications at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) application center, beginning December 4, 2013.
- List of required identity and proof of citizenship/immigration documents
- The Known Traveler Number is valid for five years
- To participate in TSA Pre✓™ enter the KTN in the ‘Known Traveler Field’ when booking travel reservations or enter the KTN in airline frequent flyer profiles, where it will be stored for future reservations.
Sadly Pre-Check isn’t what it once was. When it was first introduced it was a huge time saver since not many people had access to it, and more importantly, the people that did have access to it seemed to know what they were doing. The number of people eligible for Pre-Check has gone up exponentially, which I’m not opposed to, but my issue is that they don’t know how to use the damn lane! So they still take everything out of their bags, take off their shoes, etc., and it ends up slowing down the Pre-Check lane to the point that it’s often longer than the general lane.
Anyway, I suppose it’s a nice option for people, but ultimately you’re better off paying $100 for Global Entry and picking up Pre-Check in the process. Or the absolute best option is to get NEXUS for $50, which gives you both Global Entry and Pre-Check as well.