In the last two years, more than 25 million passengers have used TSA PreCheck to breeze through airport security. The first TSA PreCheck members were elite frequent flyers or were a member of a Trusted Traveler program. This fall, the TSA announced a program expansion, whereby travelers can pay $85 to have TSA PreCheck access for 5 years.
Today, the new PreCheck application system is live. To apply for TSA PreCheck, you can visit the PreEnrollement center online where you can fill out the TSA PreCheck application form. (Don’t get too excited about TSA PreCheck application. The online application is already down and it looks like it’s being run by the same system and our healthcare enrollment.)
Online you will be asked to provide your name, date of birth, city and state of birth (only U.S. citizens, U.S nationals and permanent residents can apply), email address, address, height, weight, hair color (pink, purple and green are options!). You will also answer questions about criminal record, biographical details (i.e. previous names or aliases) and mental health history.
After completing the form, you will be asked to search for your nearest enrollment site. Currently, only the Indianapolis International Airport site is live. But by the end of the year the TSA expects to open application centers in New York City, Washington, D.C. and the Los Angeles. More than 300 application centers across the country are planned.
At the enrollment site you provide ID and fingerprints as well as verify your citizen status.
The benefit of PreCheck leave on your shoes, coat and belt. Plus your laptop stays in its case, as do any compliant liquid containers.
In addition to praise for the streamlined security process, there have been a few common concerns. Some raise issues of personal data privacy and government screenings. In other instances, PreCheck lines have been longer than regular screening lines. It’s also worth remembering that PreCheck members are still subject to random screenings and do not have access to the PreCheck lane at airports 100 percent of the time.
By the end of 2013, more than 100 airports will have TSA PreCheck (click here to see if its an option at your local airport).
Why is the TSA pushing this new program? TSA Administrator John S. Pistole noted:
“TSA Pre✓™ is enabling us to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to transportation security, as we look for more opportunities to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way.”
Want to know more about TSA PreCheck? Check out these reports:
- What’s Going Wrong with TSA Pre-Check
- Global Entry vs. TSA PreCheck
- Travel Tip: Should You Invest in TSA PreCheck?
- 60 U.S. Airports to Get TSA PreCheck Before 2014