How Much Does TSA PreCheck Cost?

The cost of TSA PreCheck is a key consideration for savvy travelers, often wondering “how much does TSA PreCheck cost?” For $78, you can enjoy expedited security lanes with a five-year TSA PreCheck membership. This guide takes you through what that entails and explores whether the time savings are worth your dollars.

cost of TSA precheck

TSA PreCheck Fees Overview

  • TSA PreCheck costs $85 for an initial five-year membership, with a reduced renewal fee of $70, equating to an annual cost of around $15.60 or $14, respectively, nonrefundable.
  • Eligibility for TSA PreCheck requires U.S. citizenship or lawful residency, with disqualification possible for criminal records, but many credit cards and loyalty programs offer free membership.
  • While TSA PreCheck expedites airport security, it’s not infallible; members still face random checks and occasional longer lines, yet renewing before expiration ensures continued benefits.

Understanding TSA PreCheck Membership

Understanding TSA PreCheck Membership

With over 18 million enrolled members, the TSA PreCheck program, supported by homeland security, is certainly no stranger to the frequent traveler. Designed to expedite airport security through an intelligence-driven, risk-based approach, TSA PreCheck has become a staple for low-risk travelers seeking convenience and efficiency. To make the most of this program, it’s important to be aware of your TSA PreCheck status.

Available at over 200 airports across the U.S., TSA PreCheck offers a quicker trip through security checkpoints, with dedicated TSA staff and lines. In fact, 99% of TSA PreCheck passengers report waiting less than ten minutes at security. That’s quite a time saver, especially for those who fly often.

Do you know how to become a TSA PreCheck member? It’s a simple process. It all starts with understanding the eligibility requirements.

The Benefits of Being a TSA PreCheck Member

TSA PreCheck membership comes with a host of benefits that make your airport experience less of a hassle. Instead of removing shoes, laptops, and liquids at the security checkpoint, TSA PreCheck members can breeze through the dedicated TSA PreCheck lanes with these items intact.

By offering a smoother airport experience, TSA PreCheck not only saves you time but also reduces the stress often associated with air travel. Imagine being able to:

  • Keep your shoes on
  • Keep your laptop in the case
  • Keep your liquids and gels in your bag
  • Pass through security without removing your belt or jacket

The convenience is undeniable!

Eligibility Requirements for TSA PreCheck

Becoming a TSA PreCheck member is not as difficult as you might think. The program is open to U.S. citizens, as well as nationals and lawful permanent residents, allowing a wide range of individuals to obtain their own TSA PreCheck membership. To determine your TSA PreCheck eligibility, applicants must provide a current legal name, select a gender (though it need not match documents or reservations), and those under the age of 18 must have parental or guardian permission to apply.

However, not everyone will be eligible for TSA PreCheck. The presence of a criminal record, including certain serious crimes, may result in permanent disqualification. Likewise, temporary disqualifications may apply for certain crimes, and specific violations affecting transportation security may also lead to disqualification.

Breaking Down the Cost of TSA PreCheck

Breaking Down the Cost of TSA PreCheck

So, we’ve established that TSA PreCheck can make your airport experience a breeze. But how much does the tsa precheck cost? The initial application fee for the program is $78, which covers a five-year membership. When broken down annually, the cost comes to approximately $15.60 – a relatively small price to pay for the convenience it offers.

However, it’s important to note that the TSA PreCheck fee is nonrefundable, so you’ll want to be sure about your decision before applying. That said, considering the time savings and convenience, many frequent travelers find the cost to be well worth it.

Initial Application Fee and Online Renewal Costs

The initial application fee for TSA PreCheck is $85 for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. This fee covers a five-year membership, post which you will need to renew your membership to continue enjoying the benefits.

Renewing your TSA PreCheck membership online is slightly cheaper than the initial application, costing only $70 for the subsequent five-year period. This means that, over time, the cost of maintaining your TSA PreCheck membership decreases.

Comparing the Value: TSA PreCheck vs. Standard Security

When it comes to value for money, TSA PreCheck certainly has an edge over standard security procedures. Not only do members enjoy shorter lines and less hassle during the security check process, but they also spend significantly less time in security lines. The TSA reports that 95% of TSA PreCheck passengers spend less than five minutes in security lines.

For frequent flyers, the convenience of TSA PreCheck can be especially valuable, making many wonder, “Is TSA PreCheck worth it?” Early morning flights become less of a rush, allowing for extra sleep and reduced airport time. Moreover, with an annualized cost of roughly $15.60 over the five-year membership, the value of TSA PreCheck increases with each trip taken.

However, it’s important to note that TSA PreCheck might not be active at all times in every airport, and members can sometimes face standard searches. On rare occasions, TSA PreCheck lines can even be longer than non-PreCheck lines due to varying passenger volumes and operational issues. Despite these occasional hiccups, the overall value of TSA PreCheck remains high.

How to Get TSA PreCheck for Free

Get TSA PreCheck for Free

While the cost of TSA PreCheck is quite affordable considering the benefits it offers, did you know there are ways to get it for free? That’s right! Travel credit cards often provide statement credits to cover the TSA PreCheck application fee as part of their travel rewards program. By using credit card benefits that reimburse the application fees, cardholders can effectively receive TSA PreCheck for free.

In addition to credit card reimbursements, military benefits and redeeming rewards from certain airline and hotel loyalty programs are other ways to get TSA PreCheck for free. So, if you’re an active military member or a part of an airline or hotel loyalty program, be sure to check if you’re eligible for this perk!

Credit Cards That Offer TSA PreCheck Statement Credits

Several credit card companies offer reimbursement for the TSA PreCheck application fee as a cardholder benefit. Some credit cards provide a statement credit to cover the cost of TSA PreCheck every four to five years, ensuring continuous membership.

This benefit isn’t limited to just the cardholder. Some credit cards allow the TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement to be applied to family members. This means your children or spouse could also enjoy the benefits of TSA PreCheck at no extra cost. Examples of such cards include the Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, among others.

Loyalty Programs and Military Benefits

In addition to credit card benefits, certain loyalty programs also offer complimentary TSA PreCheck. If you’re a part of an airline or hotel loyalty program, it’s worth checking if you can redeem your rewards for TSA PreCheck.

Apart from frequent travelers, active duty service members, reservists, National Guard members, cadets, and midshipmen of the U.S. service academies are eligible to receive TSA PreCheck benefits at no cost. Even dependents aged 12 and under can use TSA PreCheck when traveling with the service member. However, it’s important to note that once they have left the armed forces, veterans do not have access to complimentary TSA PreCheck benefits.

Applying for TSA PreCheck: A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying for TSA PreCheck

If you’ve decided to apply for TSA PreCheck, the process is relatively straightforward. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Start by visiting tsa.gov/precheck
  2. Select the enrollment provider located near you
  3. The online application process is simple and typically takes about five minutes.

Once you’ve completed the online application, you’ll need to:

  1. Schedule an in-person appointment at an enrollment center.
  2. During this appointment, you’ll complete an interview, provide identifying documents, and get fingerprinted for a background check.
  3. Be prepared to pay a non-refundable application fee.

Scheduling Your Appointment at Enrollment Locations

Locating a TSA PreCheck enrollment center is easy. Simply use the locator feature on the official TSA website which offers addresses and operating hours. Enrollment centers are widespread, with availability at various locations such as:

  • CVG Airport in Hebron, KY
  • Traditional locations in cities including Falmouth, MA and Fort Worth, TX
  • Select Office Depot stores like the one in Orlando, FL.

During your appointment, you’ll undergo fingerprinting as part of the biometric data collection process. This is a crucial step in the application process, as it helps ensure the security and integrity of the TSA PreCheck program.

What Happens After You Apply?

Once your application is approved, you’ll receive your Known Traveler Number (KTN) via email. This number is crucial as it needs to be added to your flight reservations to use the TSA PreCheck lanes. If you ever misplace your KTN, don’t worry; you can use the TSA’s online tool to find it.

Maximizing Your TSA PreCheck Experience

To truly reap the benefits of your TSA PreCheck membership, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Firstly, make sure to take advantage of the dedicated security lines and expedited screening at participating airports. Remember, not every airport participates in the TSA PreCheck program, so it’s a good idea to check if your departure and arrival airports do.

However, TSA PreCheck doesn’t guarantee expedited screening for every member on every trip. Random security measures are still in place, and members must still comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule which restricts liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-size containers of 3.4 ounces or less, within a single quart-size bag per passenger.

Adding Your Known Traveler Number to Airline Reservations

By adding your Known Traveler Number to your flight reservations, you can ensure that the TSA PreCheck designation on your boarding pass, which serves as a TSA PreCheck indicator, appears. This will allow you access to the dedicated security lines provided by the Transportation Security Administration.

To make sure you receive TSA PreCheck on all your flights, follow these steps:

  1. Include your Known Traveler Number on every flight reservation with participating airlines.
  2. Add your Known Traveler Number to your frequent flyer profiles.
  3. Update your Known Traveler Number on online travel websites.

By following these steps, you can enjoy the benefits of TSA PreCheck on all your flights.

This will ensure you consistently receive the benefits of TSA PreCheck when flying.

Renewing Your Membership Before the Expiration Date

To keep enjoying the benefits of TSA PreCheck without interruption, it’s crucial to renew your membership before it expires. Renewing online costs $70, slightly cheaper than the in-person renewal fee of $78. Upon renewal, you’ll retain your existing Known Traveler Number, no matter which enrollment provider you choose.

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry: Understanding the Difference

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry

While TSA PreCheck is a great program for domestic travelers, international travelers might want to consider Global Entry. Global Entry is designed for those who travel internationally and includes TSA PreCheck benefits as well as simplifying the U.S. customs process when returning from overseas.

Applying for Global Entry typically requires an interview, and there are fewer enrollment centers than TSA PreCheck. In addition to air travel, Global Entry also offers benefits at land borders, providing expedited processing at crossings with Mexico and Canada.

However, if you’re a less frequent international traveler, TSA PreCheck may be a more suitable option. It offers expedited airport security lanes and lower application fees, making it a convenient choice for domestic travelers.

Summary

Navigating the airport doesn’t have to be a chore. With TSA PreCheck, you can breeze through security, keep your shoes on, and not have to remove your laptop or liquids. For just $78 for a five-year membership, the benefits of TSA PreCheck are well worth it, especially for frequent travelers. And with options to get it for free through credit cards, military benefits, and loyalty programs, there’s no reason not to consider becoming a TSA PreCheck member.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get TSA PreCheck approved?

It usually takes 3-5 days to get approved for TSA PreCheck, but it could take up to 60 days. It’s recommended to apply at least 60 days before your travel date or before your current membership expires. No need to worry, TSA will notify you about the eligibility results.

Is it worth it to pay for TSA PreCheck?

Yes, it’s worth paying for TSA PreCheck, especially if you travel occasionally or frequently. It can save you time with shorter wait times at security checkpoints.

What is the cost of TSA PreCheck?

The cost of TSA PreCheck is $78 for the initial application, which covers a five-year membership, with a $70 renewal fee if done online.

How can I get TSA PreCheck for free?

You can get TSA PreCheck for free through certain credit card benefits, military benefits, and loyalty programs. Explore these options to secure your TSA PreCheck at no cost.

What’s the difference between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?

The main difference between TSA PreCheck and Global Entry is that TSA PreCheck is tailored for domestic travelers, providing dedicated security lanes and lower fees, while Global Entry is more suitable for international travelers, offering TSA PreCheck benefits and expedited customs processing upon re-entry to the U.S.

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About 

Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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