Everything You Need to Know About Applying for TSA Precheck

If flying is part of your travel life, you need to know about applying for TSA Pre®. RewardStock Director of User Success, Hud Callaway, recently went through the application process and shares everything you need to know about this program. In this post, we highlight everything from the basics of TSA Pre® to how you can get it for free (yes, you heard that correctly). Keep reading to learn all about TSA Pre®!

What is TSA Pre®?

TSA Pre® is a program operated by the US Customs and Border Control under the Trusted Traveler Program. TSA Pre® allows individuals that are pre-approved through a screening process to bypass the standard security lines at airports and fast-track through a designated line.

What are the benefits of TSA Pre®?

TSA Pre® lines are typically much shorter and move much quicker than standard security lines. You do not have to remove shoes, belts, light jackets, liquids or your computer/electronics.

How do I note that I have TSA Pre®?

Once you are approved for TSA Pre®, you enter your designated number provided on all airline tickets under the “Known Traveler Number” field. This links your TSA Pre® with your ticket and your ticket is designated with such.

tsa precheck receipt

Am I Eligible for TSA Pre®?

U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents are all eligible to apply for TSA Pre®. Note that eligibility does not automatically qualify you for acceptance into the program. Learn more about eligibility here.

Is TSA Pre® Available at My Airport

TSA Pre® is available at the majority of airport security checkpoints within the United States. You can check your airport here.

How Much DoesTSA Pre® Cost?

There is a $85, non-refundable fee for TSA Pre®. It is valid for 5 years after approval. If you are approved for Global Entry, you receive TSA Pre® at no additional cost.

Is there a way to get TSA Pre® for free?

Several “prime” credit cards such as, Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum, Citi Prestige offer TSA Pre® reimbursement. That means if you have one of these cards, you can get TSA Pre® for free! Just pay the fee with your card and they will issue a reimbursement. I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve for TSA Pre®and was reimbursed a day after the charge posted.

chase sapphire reserve card

I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve to get TSA Precheck for free.

How Long Does it Take to Get TSA Pre®?

You should account for 2-3 weeks from application to interview to approval, but many reports point to the process taking about a week. It all depends on how quickly you can secure an interview time.

How Do I Apply for TSA Pre®?

The application for TSA Pre® is similar to Global Entry, but the duration to schedule an interview is shorter with TSA Pre® since there are more interview locations.

You first need to register for an account and pay the $85 nonrefundable fee. This link will walk you through creating an account and get you started with the application. The application is pretty comprehensive and I would plan on it taking about 30 minutes during 1 sitting to complete. The questions are your “typical” background check type of questions, for example:

  • Date of birth
  • City, State, Country of birth
  • Criminal record
  • Address history
  • Employment history

What is the interview process for TSA Pre®?

Once your application has been accepted, you must schedule a background check interview. You can check the closest interview location here. The background check interview takes about 10 minutes, during which they will verify certain aspects of your travel and personal record and take finger prints. Once you are approved, you will have a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that you will attach to all of your airline tickets moving forward.


TSA Pre® is a great program that will save you valuable time if you spend any time in the airport. If you have ever waited in long minute security lines checking your watch every 5 minutes because you feel like you’re going to be late to your flight, you know the pain. If you have one of the cards listed in this post, then it is a no brainer to apply. If you have any questions about TSA Pre®, please contact us at hello@rewardstock.com or leave a comment below.


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