Thursday, December 5, 2013

TSA announces new application process for Pre-Check program

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Dec. 3 announced the first application site for its TSA Pre-Check Application Program at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND), and unveiled the online pre-enrollment program at www.tsa.gov.

The new application process allows U.S. citizens to directly enroll in TSA Pre-Check, an expedited screening program that allows travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on, in select screening lanes. To date, passengers have only been eligible through existing programs such as U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s Global Entry program and frequent flier programs with certain airlines, but this announcement will allow travelers to apply directly for the expedited screening program. Since its introduction, more than 25 million passengers have already used TSA Pre-Check nationwide, and I was recently selected to use it twice on two separate trips. Boy, did it make a difference!

Before you rush to complete the pre-enrollment, however, be aware that you’ll have to physically visit an application site to provide fingerprints and show the required documentation. At present, the only such site is at IND. Depending on your travel plans and how frequently you visit Indy, you might do well to wait until an application site opens near you, as the $85 application fee is non-refundable.

However, if you live in or near Indy or travel through IND frequently, travelers will be able to apply and complete their background interview at the application center. By the end of the year, TSA expects to open application centers in the New York City area, the Washington, D.C. metro area and the Los Angeles area. TSA ultimately plans to expand to more than 300 application centers across the country.

The TSA Pre-Check application process allows U.S. citizens to go through a pre-enrollment process online and visit an application center to provide biographic information (e.g. name, date of birth, address, etc.), fingerprints, payment and valid required identity and citizenship/immigration documentation.  All TSA Pre-Check program applicants must visit an application center in-person to verify their identity and citizenship/immigration status as well as to provide fingerprints.

As application centers open across the country, this new process will allow all U.S. travelers the ability to apply directly to TSA’s popular expedited screening program.

“This new application process will greatly increase the availability of TSA Pre-Check benefits to a broader population of travelers nationwide,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “TSA Pre-Check is enabling us to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to transportation security, as we look for more opportunities to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way.”

The TSA Pre-Check Application Program requires a background check, fingerprints, and an application fee of $85 for a five-year membership.  Once approved, travelers will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) and will have the opportunity to utilize TSA Pre-Check lanes at security checkpoints at more than 100 participating airports and on nine major U.S. airlines.

As always, TSA continues to incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.

Additional program information and how to enroll can be found at www.tsa.gov.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



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