TSA PreCheck breaks 2 major records. Here’s how to join


The number of people enrolled in TSA PreCheck set a record high — as did the number of people who applied to join.

The Transportation Security Administration said in March that TSA PreCheck has surpassed 15 million active members since the program launched in December 2013.

And the number of applicants seems to be increasing. The TSA said that on February 21, 2023, a record 19,200 people applied for TSA PreCheck membership in a single day.

TSA PreCheck is one of the US Department of Homeland Security’s trusted traveler programs, which include Global Entry and Nexus, among others. When approved for TSA PreCheck, travelers can go through airport security without taking off their shoes or belt. they may even give up electronics and analogous fluid inside his bag.

And without the fumbling around of clothing, shoes, and laptops, TSA PreCheck improves security wait times. The TSA says that in airports with separate precheck lanes, 92% of members wait less than five minutes for security screening.

Why more TSA PreCheck members could be good news for everyone

“If everyone had TSA PreCheck, the overall wait time would be shorter because travelers wouldn’t need to take off shoes or remove electronics,” says Scott Keyes, founder of the travel deals site goingsaid in an email.

TSA PreCheck enables more people to funnel through security in the same amount of time.

“If there are 20 people in the regular line and there are also 30 in the PreCheck lane, those 30 are probably still going fast,” says Daniel Green, co-founder of Faye Travel Insurance.

This is not unlike express checkout at the grocery store, reserved for those with 10 items or less. Thirty shoppers with just five items almost always check out faster than 20 customers, each with a cart full of groceries.

But if more people end up with TSA PreCheck, will it move those long queues to the TSA PreCheck line?

That’s exactly what worries Harriet Baskus, who runs the blog Stuck at the Airport.

“Now that more people have PreCheck … the PreCheck lines are getting longer at many airports,” she says. “Sometimes it seems — and in some cases it really is the case — that the PreCheck lanes are longer than the regular lines.”

But this concern assumes that airports will continue to maintain the same number of PreCheck lines even as enrollment figures increase.

“My guess is, if more people had PreCheck, they would convert more lanes to PreCheck lanes,” Greene says.

His theory is based on one of the strongest motivations of them all: money.

In reference to the fee required to apply for membership, he says, “Let’s not forget that there is an incentive for more people to be in PreCheck, because travelers pay for the perk.”

How to Apply for TSA PreCheck (and Skip Paying the Application Fee)

Apply for TSA PreCheck By filling out an online application on the TSA website. It takes about five minutes to complete and requires you to enter personal information such as name, gender, email address and phone number. After that, you would schedule a personal interview At an enrollment center where you will undergo a background check and fingerprinting.

The application fee is $78. If approved, you’ll get TSA PreCheck membership for five years, at which point you’ll need to pay $70 to renew your membership online.

But you may not even need to pay a fee out of pocket. several travel credit cards cover tsa precheck application and renewal fee. While some credit cards with TSA PreCheck perks charge an annual fee, there are some that have no fee at all.

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