If you could get an upgrade from economy to business class, you’d do that, right?
Well, getting TSA PreCheck is basically the pre-flight upgrade equivalent, and you should get into it, because it’s literally a travel hack.
Here’s how to sign up for the service.
1. Make sure that you are eligible.
The first step is to read the eligibility requirements.
Basically, as long as you’re a permanent resident or US citizen, and haven’t been convicted of any crimes, you’re good to go.
2. Pre-enroll online.
Eligible? Good, click here to pre-enroll online. All this means is that you need to fill in an online form with your basic biographical information (name, date of birth, address, citizenship, or immigration documentation).
3. Make an appointment at an application center.
After filling out the online form, the site will prompt you to make an in-person appointment. You will have to visit a center within 120 days of filling out the online form. There are 300 application centres around the US. Click here to find a location.
4. Gather the correct documents.
Before showing up to the interview, make sure you have the correct required documents. You’ll need a valid photo ID (driver’s licence for example) and a valid proof of citizenship (passport or birth certificate) with you, as well as immigration documentation, if that applies. Click here to figure out what you need to bring.
5. Have a brief in-person interview at an application center.
Yes, you will need to visit an application center in person. During the interview, you’ll get fingerprinted and answer some basic questions about yourself and your travel habits. They might review some of your past travels, but essentially they’re just trying to verify the information you submitted when pre-enrolling online, and it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.
Don’t forget to bring the correct documents and a credit card or certified/cashier’s check to the interview.
6. Pay the fee
You’ll have to pay the $85 nonrefundable application processing fee, which you can pay by credit card, money order, company check, or certified/cashier’s check. Cash and personal checks are not accepted, and check and money order payments should be made payable to “MorphoTrust USA.”
You can check the status of your application here. While most applicants report having received their notification letter the next day, it can take up to 45 days.
8. Receive your KTN
Once your application gets approved, you will receive a notification letter with a KTN, a nine-digit Known Traveller Number that you’ll need to include in your flight reservations, and will then be embedded in the barcode of your boarding pass. This number essentially proves that you have been pre-approved by the US Customs and Border Protection and deemed a low-risk traveller.
Once you receive your KTN, you’ll be able to swish on by long security lines at 120 airports and get into the specially designated TSA PreCheck line. Skip some common security checks, keep your shoes and belt on, keep your laptop in your carry on, and try not to gloat.
TSA PreCheck approval lasts for five years.
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