- I recently signed up for TSA PreCheck after years of procrastinating.
- The online application only took five minutes, and the in-person interview took less than 10.
- I found out I was eligible a day later and TSA PreCheck has already made traveling way easier.
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Unfortunately for me, I’m usually part of the latter group — it’s just in my DNA. And while I’ve only missed one flight in my life, I’ve embarrassed myself countless times while running through airports or begging to cut security lines.
And when I actually finished the application process, I couldn’t believe how quick and simple it was — and how much it immediately improved my travel experiences.
Those with TSA PreCheck get to wait in a separate security line. In fact, according to the TSA website, 96% of passengers with TSA PreCheck waited less than five minutes in security as of August 21.
Unlike the regular TSA security line, you also don’t have to remove your shoes, jackets, or belts if you have TSA PreCheck, and you can keep your electronics in your bag. And if you have children under 12, they can automatically join you in the expedited lane.
Criminal offenses that fall under permanent disqualification include espionage, treason, sedition, or murder. Criminal offenses that fall under interim disqualification include extortion, robbery, kidnapping, or unlawful possession of a firearm.
I selected my current passport, but other eligible options include a birth certificate (bearing an official seal or certified copy), an enhanced driver’s license, or a passport that had expired within 12 months.
I received an email confirming my appointment, plus a reminder that I’d need to bring my driver’s license and passport. It also recommended that I arrive 10 minutes early to sign in, and noted that I needed to provide 24 hours’ notice if I wanted to cancel or reschedule.
Overall, the online application took just five minutes to finish.
I was also nervous because I’d forgotten to pack my passport while visiting my parents, which is where I had scheduled my appointment. Thankfully I was able to find my birth certificate but wasn’t sure if it would work since I had written that I would have my passport on my application.
The sign also noted that it costs $US85 ($AU117) to sign up for TSA PreCheck, which is good for five years.
I then handed over my driver’s license and birth certificate so that he could make copies. My interviewer clarified that I wouldn’t have been able to apply with just my driver’s license that day and needed the birth certificate as well. But if I had just brought my physical passport, I wouldn’t have needed either my driver’s license or birth certificate (a copy of the passport wouldn’t have worked). So there’s plenty of options when it comes to the enrollment documents.
The interviewer then told me I’d get my TSA PreCheck number in 7 to 10 days and that it would be good for the next five years.
And just like that, I was done! I couldn’t believe how easy and seamless the entire process was.
After walking past 20 travelers in the regular TSA line, I just plopped my backpack on the conveyor belt and sailed through security. It couldn’t have been easier.
I’ll probably never be one of those people who get to the airport hours before their flight. But now that I have TSA PreCheck, I still have some time to spare — and can finally treat myself to an overpriced airport mimosa.