Getting through airport security quickly is a priority for many travelers. That’s why TSA PreCheck has become so popular. But before you can enjoy expedited screening, you’ll need to pass a background check.
If you’re wondering what the PreCheck background check entails, you’ve come to the right place.
In short, the TSA PreCheck background check is a routine criminal history and identification verification. It ensures you don’t have any disqualifying crimes or ties to terrorism. The process typically takes 5-7 business days once submitted.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the PreCheck background check. You’ll learn what information is screened, what would disqualify you, how to check your status, and more.
What Is Screened in the PreCheck Background Check
When it comes to the PreCheck background check, it is important to understand what exactly is being screened. This comprehensive overview will delve into the various aspects of the PreCheck background check and shed light on what you can expect.
One of the key components of the PreCheck background check is the screening of an individual’s criminal history. This involves looking into both state and federal databases to determine if the person has any prior convictions or pending criminal cases.
The purpose of this screening is to identify any potential risks or red flags that may arise from an individual’s past criminal behavior. It is worth noting that the severity and recency of the offense are also taken into consideration during this process.
Terrorist Watchlists and Databases
In addition to criminal history, the PreCheck background check also includes screening against terrorist watchlists and databases. This is done to ensure that individuals who may pose a potential threat to national security are identified and flagged.
These watchlists and databases are constantly updated to stay current with any new information or developments. Screening against these lists is an essential step in maintaining the safety and security of various organizations and institutions.
Identity verification is another crucial aspect of the PreCheck background check. This involves confirming the identity of the individual being screened to ensure that they are who they claim to be. Various methods are used to verify identity, including checking government-issued identification documents, cross-referencing personal information, and conducting thorough identity checks.
This step is important in preventing identity theft and ensuring that the background check results are accurate and reliable.
What Would Disqualify You from PreCheck
While the PreCheck program offers expedited security screening for approved travelers, there are certain factors that can disqualify individuals from participating. It’s important to be aware of these disqualifications to avoid any disappointment or confusion.
Here are three common reasons why someone may be disqualified from PreCheck:
Certain Criminal Convictions
One of the primary factors that can disqualify someone from PreCheck is having certain criminal convictions on their record. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducts a thorough background check on applicants and looks for any disqualifying criminal offenses.
These offenses typically include felonies, serious misdemeanors, and crimes involving terrorism, violence, or drugs. It’s crucial to note that each case is evaluated individually, and some disqualifications may be subject to review or reconsideration.
Terror Watchlist Matches
Another reason an individual may be disqualified from PreCheck is if they are found to be a match on a terror watchlist. The TSA cross-references the applicant’s information with various government databases, including the Terrorist Screening Database, to ensure the safety and security of air travel.
If there is a match or potential match, it can result in disqualification from the program. This is done to maintain the integrity of the PreCheck program and prioritize passenger safety.
Fraudulent Info on Application
Providing fraudulent information on the PreCheck application is a serious offense and can lead to disqualification. Applicants are required to provide accurate and truthful information about their identity, criminal history, and travel history.
Any attempt to deceive or misrepresent information can result in immediate disqualification. The TSA has sophisticated systems in place to detect inconsistencies or discrepancies in the application process, ensuring the program maintains its integrity.
It’s essential to understand that the disqualification from PreCheck does not imply guilt or criminal activity. The program’s goal is to ensure the safety and security of air travel for all passengers, and these disqualifications are put in place to maintain that objective.
If an applicant is disqualified, they still have the opportunity to go through the standard security screening process like any other traveler.
For more information on the disqualifications and requirements for the PreCheck program, you can visit the official TSA website https://www.tsa.gov/precheck.
How to Check Your PreCheck Application Status
Check Online Through Your Traveler Account
If you have recently applied for PreCheck and are eagerly waiting to find out your application status, you can conveniently check it online through your traveler account. Simply log in to your account on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website and navigate to the PreCheck section.
There, you will be able to view the status of your application and any updates regarding your enrollment.
Call the Application Status Line
If you prefer a more direct approach, you can call the PreCheck application status line to inquire about your application status. The TSA provides a dedicated phone line where you can speak with a representative who can provide you with the most up-to-date information.
Be sure to have your application details handy, such as your confirmation number, as they may be required for verification purposes.
Wait for a Letter in the Mail
Alternatively, you can patiently wait for a letter to arrive in the mail with your PreCheck application status. The TSA often sends notifications via mail to inform applicants about the progress of their application.
While this method may take longer, it provides a physical document that you can keep for your records.
It is important to note that the processing time for PreCheck applications can vary. Some applicants may receive a decision within a few weeks, while others may experience longer wait times. If you have been waiting for an extended period and have not received any updates, it is recommended to contact the TSA for further assistance.
What Happens After You’re Approved
Once your PreCheck background check is complete and you have been approved, there are a few important steps that follow. These steps ensure that you can start enjoying the benefits of expedited security screening at participating airports.
TSA Sends You a Known Traveler Number
After your approval, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will send you a Known Traveler Number (KTN). This unique identifier is associated with your PreCheck status and is used to verify your eligibility for expedited screening.
You will need to provide this number when booking flights in order to receive PreCheck benefits. Keep your KTN handy, as you will need to enter it every time you make a reservation.
PreCheck May Not Be Instant
While the PreCheck application process is typically fast, it’s important to note that approval is not always instant. In some cases, it may take a few weeks for your application to be processed and for a decision to be made. However, once you are approved, you can start using PreCheck immediately.
Just remember to provide your KTN when making reservations to ensure you receive the benefits.
Membership Lasts for 5 Years
Once approved for PreCheck, your membership will last for a period of five years. This means you can enjoy expedited screening at participating airports for the duration of your membership. However, it’s essential to remember that your membership is subject to renewal.
To continue enjoying PreCheck benefits beyond the initial five-year period, you will need to reapply and go through the background check process again.
It’s important to note that PreCheck membership does not guarantee expedited screening every time you travel. The TSA uses a random selection process to determine which passengers are eligible for PreCheck on a given day.
However, even if you are not selected for PreCheck on a particular trip, you will still benefit from the convenience of not having to remove your shoes, laptop, liquids, or light jackets during the regular screening process.
How to Schedule a PreCheck Enrollment Appointment
Find an Enrollment Center on the TSA Website
In order to schedule a PreCheck enrollment appointment, the first step is to find an enrollment center near your location. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website provides a user-friendly search tool that allows you to enter your zip code or city to find the nearest enrollment centers.
Simply visit the TSA website and navigate to the PreCheck section to access the search tool.
Choose a Time Slot
Once you have identified the enrollment center that is most convenient for you, the next step is to choose a time slot for your appointment. The TSA website provides a scheduling system that allows you to view the available time slots and select the one that best fits your schedule.
It is advisable to book your appointment well in advance to ensure availability.
Complete the Online Application
Prior to your appointment, you will need to complete the online application form. The TSA website provides a secure portal where you can enter your personal information and answer a series of questions regarding your background.
It is important to provide accurate and truthful information to ensure a smooth application process.
Pay the Application Fee
After completing the online application, you will be required to pay the non-refundable application fee. The current fee for PreCheck enrollment is $85 for a five-year membership. Payment can be made securely through the TSA website using a credit or debit card.
It is worth noting that some credit cards and loyalty programs offer reimbursement for the application fee, so it is worth exploring if you are eligible for any such benefits.
Once you have successfully completed these steps, you will receive a confirmation of your appointment and further instructions on what documents to bring with you on the day of your enrollment appointment.
It is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a smooth and efficient process.
We hope this outline gives you a better understanding of what the TSA PreCheck background check entails. While the screening process is thorough, most applicants don’t have any issues passing. Within a week or two, you could have your Known Traveler Number and be zipping through airport security.
PreCheck is designed for low-risk travelers, so the approval standards are reasonable.
Remember to enroll in advance of any big trips and use your Known Traveler Number when booking flights. The TSA recommends scheduling a few months out from your travel dates. That way you’ll have plenty of time to get approved and take full advantage of expedited screening. Safe travels!