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Travel Tip: Have you joined TSA PreCheck?

April 17, 2014
TSA Pre-check

Direct enrollment in TSA Pre✓™ has been expanded

The Benefits

This Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program allows travelers to pass through certain expedited security lanes without removing their shoes, belts, or light outerwear—and permits them to leave laptops in cases and 3-1-1 bags (no more than 3.4 ounces per bottle, 1 clear, quart-size zip-top bag, and 1 such bag per passenger) inside carry-ons.

What’s New

In the past, travelers were only eligible for TSA Pre✓™ (TSA PreCheck) through participation in airline frequent flyers programs or the U.S. Custom Border and Protection Global Entry program.

As of December 2013, however, all U.S. citizens can apply for TSA Pre✓™.

Travelers can pre-apply online at www.tsa.gov before visiting one of the program’s enrollment centers, which are rapidly expanding in number.

Applicants must show up in-person at an enrollment center to provide fingerprints, identity documents, citizenship/immigration documents and payment to complete the TSA Pre✓™ application.

As an enticement to get travelers interested in joining the program, some airports are diverting travelers into expedited screen lines without any enrollment—but you can’t count on that!

The Low-Down

The TSA Pre✓™ Application Program requires a background check, fingerprints, and an application fee of $85 for a five-year membership.  Once approved, travelers will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) and will have the opportunity to utilize TSA Pre✓™ lanes at security checkpoints at more than 118 participating airports.

A recent article by Scott McCartney in the Wall Street Journal suggests that Global Entry, which costs $100 for five years may actually be a better deal, especially for those who travel internationally.

And don’t forget, if you are eligible, travelers over-75 can already leave shoes and light jackets on as they pass through airport security.

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