What Documents Do You Need for TSA PreCheck?

Traveling can be a stressful experience, with long lines, security checks, and the constant hustle and bustle of airports. However, there’s a way to alleviate some of this stress and breeze through security more quickly: TSA PreCheck. TSA PreCheck is a program that allows eligible travelers to enjoy expedited security screening at airports across the United States. To take advantage of this program, you need to have the right documents. In this article, we will delve into the details of what documents you need for TSA PreCheck.

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What is TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck is a program operated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States. It was designed to enhance the security screening process for air travelers, making it more efficient and convenient. When you’re approved for TSA PreCheck, you can enjoy several benefits, including:

1. Expedited Security Screening: TSA PreCheck travelers don’t have to remove their shoes, belts, or light jackets, and can keep their laptops and 3-1-1 liquids in their carry-on bags. This streamlined process significantly reduces the time spent in security lines.

2. Shorter Wait Times: The lines for TSA PreCheck are often shorter and move faster, which means less time waiting and more time to relax before your flight.

3. Predictable Screening: With TSA PreCheck, you can expect a more predictable and consistent screening experience. You won’t be subject to random additional screening, making your travel smoother and more hassle-free.

Now that we understand the benefits of TSA PreCheck, let’s discuss the crucial documents you need to apply for and enjoy these privileges.

Required Documents for TSA PreCheck

To apply for TSA PreCheck, you need to provide certain documents to verify your identity and eligibility. These documents are essential for the initial application process and for using TSA PreCheck lanes at the airport. The primary documents required are:

1. A Valid Photo ID

A government-issued photo ID is a fundamental requirement. The TSA needs to verify your identity through an official document. The following IDs are generally accepted:

  • U.S. Passport
  • U.S. Passport Card
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID
  • U.S. Permanent Resident Card
  • U.S. driver’s license
  • U.S. state-issued ID card
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential

Ensure that your ID is current and not expired. Expired IDs are typically not accepted.

2. Proof of Citizenship or Immigration Status

You need to provide documents that prove your U.S. citizenship or immigration status. This is typically satisfied by presenting one of the following:
Birth Certificate

  • U.S. Certificate of Citizenship
  • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad

For U.S. citizens, a birth certificate is often the simplest and most readily available document. However, if you’re a naturalized citizen, you will need to show your Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

3. Proof of Identity

In addition to proving your citizenship or immigration status, you also need to provide proof of your identity. This can be done using one of the following documents:

  • U.S. Passport
  • U.S. driver’s license
  • U.S. state-issued ID card
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential

4. Fingerprinting and Background Check

As part of the application process, you will be required to visit an enrollment center, where your fingerprints will be taken for a background check. This is a vital step in the TSA PreCheck application process.

It’s important to note that these documents are required both for the initial TSA PreCheck application and for each use of TSA PreCheck lanes at the airport. You will need to present your identification and boarding pass at the airport, and your identity will be verified before being allowed to use the expedited security screening lane.

Applying for TSA PreCheck

Now that we’ve covered the required documents, let’s talk about the process of applying for TSA PreCheck. Here’s how to get started:

1. Pre-Enrollment Online: To begin the application process, you should pre-enroll online. This involves filling out an application on the TSA PreCheck website. You can also start the process by visiting an enrollment center in person, but pre-enrollment speeds up the process.

2. Schedule an Appointment: After pre-enrolling, you’ll need to schedule an appointment at a TSA PreCheck enrollment center. These centers are located in various cities throughout the United States. At your appointment, you’ll provide your required documents, have your fingerprints taken, and pay the application fee.

3. Attend the Appointment: Be sure to arrive at your appointment on time and bring all necessary documents. Failure to provide the required documentation could result in a delay or denial of your application.

4. Application Fee: The application fee for TSA PreCheck is typically around $85 for a five-year membership. You can pay this fee with a credit card, money order, or company check. The fee is non-refundable, so make sure you’re committed to the program before applying.

5. Approval Process: After completing your appointment and submitting your application, the TSA will perform a background check and verify your information. This process usually takes a few weeks, but it can vary.

6. Receive Your Known Traveler Number (KTN): If your application is approved, you will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) via mail or email. This number is essential for making the most of your TSA PreCheck benefits.

7. Add KTN to Your Airline Reservations: Once you have your KTN, add it to your airline reservations. You can do this when booking your flight or by contacting your airline directly. This step ensures that you’re eligible for TSA PreCheck when going through security at the airport.

How Long Does It Take to Get TSA PreCheck?

The time it takes to get TSA PreCheck can vary, but most applicants typically receive their Known Traveler Number (KTN) within a few weeks of the in-person appointment. The background check process is thorough, and the TSA must verify your identity and eligibility. If there are any discrepancies or issues with your application, it may take longer to receive your KTN. Therefore, it’s advisable to apply well in advance of any upcoming travel plans.

TSA PreCheck Renewal

Once you have TSA PreCheck, it’s essential to know when and how to renew it. TSA PreCheck membership is valid for five years. About six months before your membership expires, you’ll receive a notification with instructions on how to renew. The renewal process is similar to the initial application process and involves another background check.

When renewing your TSA PreCheck, you will need to provide updated information and may need to visit an enrollment center for a new fingerprinting session. The fee for renewal is the same as the initial application fee, which is typically around $85. After a successful renewal, you’ll receive a new KTN, and you can continue to enjoy the benefits of TSA PreCheck for another five years.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is TSA PreCheck Worth It?
Many travelers find TSA PreCheck to be well worth the investment. It saves time, reduces

stress, and makes the airport experience more convenient. If you travel frequently, the time and hassle saved can be significant.

2. Is TSA PreCheck Only for U.S. Citizens?
TSA PreCheck is open to both U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders). However, some citizenship and immigration status documentation requirements may differ.

3. Can Children Use TSA PreCheck?
Children 12 and under traveling with an eligible parent or guardian with TSA PreCheck can usually use the TSA PreCheck lane. However, they must be included on the same boarding pass as the eligible adult.

4. Can I Use TSA PreCheck for International Travel?
While TSA PreCheck is primarily for domestic travel, some airlines and airports offer expedited security screening for international flights through their own programs. Be sure to check with your airline and the airport for specific details.


TSA PreCheck is a valuable program for frequent travelers or anyone who wants to streamline their airport experience. To apply for TSA PreCheck, you’ll need to provide essential documents to verify your identity and eligibility. These documents include a valid photo ID, proof of citizenship or immigration status, and proof of identity.

Once approved, you’ll receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that you can use to access TSA PreCheck lanes at the airport. Renewing your TSA PreCheck membership is a straightforward process, ensuring you can continue to enjoy expedited security screening for years to come. So, gather your documents, start the application process, and soon you’ll be breezing through airport security with ease.

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