Flying can be fun, but it can also be stressful when waiting in long lines at the TSA security checkpoint. Large airports such as Atlanta can be frustrating when the line is long and moves slowly. It is very time consuming to remove your shoes, coat and belt as well as taking out liquids and computers from your carry-on bag. TSA is working on getting those lines shortened with their TSA PreCheck program.
TSA PreCheck makes security screening quicker and easier for passengers that are considered to be low-risk. Those that qualify for the program are able to go through a special lane at TSA security in some U.S. airports. These passengers are not required to take the time-consuming steps such as removing shoes, liquids and laptops. You must be a member of the TSA PreCheck program or a trusted traveler group to take advantage of these shorter lines.
Military Service Members Trusted Traveler Group
All members of the U.S. Armed Forces are instantly considered members of the trusted traveler group. This includes Reservists and National Guard as well as cadets and midshipmen at the U.S. service academies. They do therefore not need to apply for the TSA PreCheck program.
Service members simply need to put their Department of Defense identification number in as their known traveler number when making a reservation. This can be done when making flight arrangements in the military official travel program or through any airline ticketing site or company.
You do not need to be in uniform when traveling and the TSA PreCheck can be used for both personal and official travel.
When the program started, service members could simply show their CAC to the TSA document checker at the security checkpoint. That part of the program was phased out in 2014.
The only way to use your military ID to get to the TSA PreCheck is to use your DoD ID number as the Known Traveler Number when making airline reservations ahead of time. Simply showing up at the security checkpoint with your military ID or CAC will no longer get you through the TSA PreCheck lane.
Can military dependents use TSA PreCheck?
Dependents that are age 12 and under can go through the TSA PreCheck line with their parent that is TSA PreCheck authorized.
At this time, military spouses are not included in the trusted traveler group and must apply for TSA PreCheck.
Who is eligible for TSA PreCheck?
Membership in the TSA PreCheck program is available to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents. Some may be ineligible however if they send in incomplete or false application information, if they have existing violations of transportation security regulations or if they have disqualifying criminal offenses and factors.
There are 3 steps to apply for TSA PreCheck:
- Complete an online application or go to an application center to complete the whole process in person.
- Schedule an appointment online or call (855) 347-8371 weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern. They take walk-ins as well, but people with appointments will take priority.
- You will still need to visit an application center. All applicants are required to turn in the required documents and to be fingerprinted. You will need your current U.S. passport or a driver’s license and birth certificate. There is unfortunately, a non-refundable $85 fee.
Once all of these steps are completed, you can check your status online. Once approved, your membership is active for 5 years. It is important to note that not all airports in America have TSA PreCheck lanes and that the TSA still conducts random searches.