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TSA PreCheck eligibility: Who can apply?

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    The opportunity to save time at an airport would likely be welcomed by most travelers, not just frequent ones. TSA PreCheck® is a popular Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) for that reason. Members of the program can access designated security lines and don't have to remove certain personal items from themselves or their carry-ons.

    As with most membership programs, TSA PreCheck has specific eligibility requirements.

    Who is eligible for TSA PreCheck?

    TSA PreCheck is available to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents.

    U.S. citizens

    There may be different ways to obtain U.S. citizenship, depending on your situation. One way is called acquisition, which basically means acquiring citizenship at birth or at some point afterwards by having parents who have U.S. citizenship. Another way is called naturalization, a process which can grant U.S. citizenship to a lawful permanent resident after meeting certain requirements.

    U.S. nationals

    All U.S. citizens are considered nationals, but not all U.S. nationals have U.S. citizenship. U.S. nationals include individuals born on American Samoa, Swains Island or the United States Minor Outlying Islands.

    Lawful permanent residents

    A lawful permanent resident is legally permitted to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. The document that allows this is commonly called a green card. Still eligible for TSA PreCheck, lawful permanent residents are neither U.S. citizens nor U.S. nationals.


    Depending on their age, children may be able to join someone who has TSA PreCheck in the designated security lanes. 

    • Age 12 and younger: These children may use a PreCheck lane when traveling on the same reservation as a parent or guardian who has TSA PreCheck.
    • Between 13 and 17: When traveling on the same reservation as an enrolled parent or guardian, the TSA PreCheck symbol may be added automatically to the child's boarding pass. Children of this age range may be randomly excluded from receiving the PreCheck symbol on their boarding pass, though. If this happens the child must pass through standard security screening.
    • Children traveling alone: Children age 17 and younger must have their own TSA PreCheck membership when traveling alone or without a parent/guardian who has PreCheck.

    What gets you denied for TSA PreCheck?

    Applicants may be deemed ineligible for several reasons: false or incomplete information on the application, violations of certain federal security regulations or disqualifying criminal offenses.

    Disqualifying criminal offenses include a wide range of charges, from espionage and treason to extortion, arson and robbery. For a full list of disqualifying criminal offenses, go to the TSA website.

    How hard is it to get TSA PreCheck?

    TSA PreCheck requires a relatively straightforward enrollment process. To apply, the first step is to complete an application form on the TSA website. If you are eligible, you'll schedule an in-person appointment at an enrollment center. At that appointment, you'll have to bring a number of identifying documents, which the TSA outlines when you apply online, and provide your fingerprints.

    The in-person appointment for TSA PreCheck is where first-time applicants will pay the application fee. This fee is reimbursed as a benefit of some travel credit cards, including Chase Sapphire Reserve. This card provides a statement credit up to $100 every four years for the TSA PreCheck application fee.

    How will I know if I am eligible for TSA PreCheck?

    U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals and lawful permanent residents are eligible for TSA PreCheck. If you apply online for TSA PreCheck, a brief questionnaire will confirm your eligibility for the program. To review the eligibility requirements in more detail, as well as FAQs, go to the TSA website.

    Other TTPs, such as Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI have different eligibility requirements. Consider reviewing those to help determine a program that fits your needs and budget.

    Can being arrested affect your TSA PreCheck eligibility?

    It's possible that being arrested can affect your enrollment in TSA PreCheck. One condition of TSA PreCheck membership is recurrent criminal history vetting. A disqualifying offense could result in a denied application, temporary suspension or permanent disqualification from TSA PreCheck.

    The length of a temporary suspension can vary depending on the situation, and resolutions can take up to 90 days. If you receive a notice about a violation, a case agent's contact information may be included.

    The good news? If you're not worried about disqualifying offenses, a TSA PreCheck membership can help you move through security with ease. And remember: Certain credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, can reimburse the TSA PreCheck application fee.

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