If you enroll in TSA PreCheck (TSA Pre✓®) you can access faster, shorter Transportation Security Administration lines when flying domestically at any airport that offers PreCheck lines.
If you’ve flown in the U.S. anytime in the last two decades, you’ve probably experienced shuffling through a miles-long line at airport security. TSA PreCheck gets you through the airport security check faster and let you avoid the long lines and some of the security measures.
When you sign up for TSA Pre✓®, you’ll go through a pre-screening process and, if you are approved, you will get a Known Traveler Number (KTN). The KTN will give you access to the (usually much shorter) TSA PreCheck line anytime it is available.
Before you start the application process, read on to learn more about the documents needed for TSA PreCheck and how to apply.
Can anyone apply for TSA PreCheck?
All U.S. citizens or lawful U.S. permanent residents can enroll, however, you must have the following TSA PreCheck documents :
- A valid government-issued photo (U.S. passport, state ID card, or driver’s license)
- A certified copy of your birth certificate
If you have changed your last name, due to marriage or divorce, you need your marriage or divorce certificate as well.
How do I apply for TSA PreCheck?
It is a pretty simple process, as long as you are eligible and can provide the necessary documents.
Step 1. Apply online
You visit the TSA PreCheck website to apply online by filling out a form with your basic information, such as your name, date of birth, address, and citizenship or immigration status.
Step 2. Make an appointment at an application center
When you finish applying online, you will be asked to schedule an appointment at an application center for an in-person interview. Your interview must take place no more than 120 days after you have applied online. There are around 300 centers nationwide, so you can pick the one that is closest to you.
Step 3. Attend your TSA PreCheck appointment
You’ll get your fingerprints taken and sit through an interview where they will ask you questions about yourself and your travel habits.They may ask questions about previous trips you’ve taken, or they may simply verify the information you provided when you pre-enrolled online. Either way, it should only take around 15 minutes or so.
You will need your valid photo ID and a certified copy of your birth certificate with you when you go to your interview, as your application will be denied without them.
Step 4. Pay the processing fees
If your application is approved, there is a non-refundable $85 processing fee that you must pay before you are enrolled. You can use a debit or credit card, money order, company check ,or certified/cashier’s check to pay, but you can not use cash or a personal check.
Step 5. Receive your KTN
After you have completed the application process and been approved, you’ll get your Known Traveler Number (KTN) in the mail within about 45 days. You will still need an ID to fly, but you won’t have to go through the regular security line.
What forms of ID can I use to fly domestically?
Starting October 1, 2021, any ID that you use to fly must meet the new Real ID requirements. The following documents will be accepted by TSA, as long as you are flying within the U.S.:
- REAL ID compliant driver’s license or state photo identity card
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
- Permanent resident card
- Border crossing card
- DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
- Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
- HSPD-12 PIV card
- Foreign government-issued passport
- Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
- Transportation worker identification credential
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
- U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
The REAL ID standardizes requirements to apply for a government-issued ID. Previously, every state had their own document requirements. Now, there is a federal standard that every state must adhere to, at a minimum. As of now, every state is currently REAL ID compliant, although the rules do not officially go into affect until October of 2021. So, if you need a REAL ID, you should be able to get one in your state. You will need proof of your identity and citizenship, proof of your Social Security number, and proof of residency to apply. For more details on the application process and acceptable documents, check out our article on Real ID requirements.