I had been putting off getting TSA PreCheck (TSA Pre✓®) qualified, but now that I’ve done it, I’m here to say that it is SO EASY, and I’m here to push you if you, too, have been putting it off. Do yourself a favor and cross this one off your list. It’s so painless …
TSA Pre✓® qualifies you to basically be less scrutinized at the airport. Once qualified, at most airports you will get in a special TSA Pre✓® security line to speed you through the airport faster. TSA says that they can process 300 people an hour with TSA Pre✓®, and only 150 people an hour with regular lines. And, you don’t need to remove your shoes, jacket, belt, laptop or liquids. Once you pass your background test to qualify for TSA Pre✓®, you simply input your unique identification number when booking a flight and ta da! A much faster, less irritating airport adventure awaits.
Now that you know what TSA Pre✓® is, you may think that it’s a pain to qualify. Not true. Most law-abiding citizens will qualify. For a list of disqualifying offenses, like say murder, conspiracy to commit espionage, hostage taking and more, see here.
Assuming you’re able to qualify, here’s how to do it:
- In order to get your TSA Pre✓®, you need to pay an $85 fee and your status will last for five years. But, if you travel internationally often, you should consider Global Entry, for $100, which also includes TSA Pre✓® in that fee.
- Start the TSA Pre✓® application online. You will be asked simple questions, and once complete, assuming that you are conditionally approved, you will be prompted to set up an in-person interview to finalize your application.
- Select your most convenient enrollment center. I can not confidently say that all of these centers are at airports, but I have never known anyone to interview at an enrollment center NOT at an airport. For me, I scheduled my appointment at the Nashville International Airport, and I was able to schedule it … wait for it … the day after I filled out my application. AND, I had plenty of times to choose from. While this is not the case at all enrollment centers, it is the case at many.
- In Nashville, as an aside, if I were considering Global Entry, my interview would be scheduled three to four months out, not within days as was my experience with TSA Pre✓®. Check with your local enrollment offices to see the wait if you are concerned.
- At your interview, you will be asked several questions, and you will be fingerprinted. The entire thing takes about five minutes. By the time I parked, walked in, completed my interview and walked back to my car, it took 17 minutes. Not bad.
- You will leave your interview knowing that an email will soon be arriving with your approval number that you will use when booking flights. You will get a paper notice of qualification in a few weeks.
- That’s it! Plan to arrive extra early for your next flight, and pre-book an appointment about two hours before your departure. You won’t be pre-qualified for THAT flight on that day, but you can stand in that long security line knowing that it’s your last time.
Now, go enroll!
Now that you are ready to travel, check out our travel articles and start planning your next vacation!