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Using TSA PreCheck with family & kids

minute read

    TSA PreCheck® is popular for offering travelers an opportunity for an expedited security screening process. You might be wondering if that opportunity extends to children. Ahead, we'll answer:  

    • Do kids need TSA PreCheck? 
    • How much is TSA PreCheck for kids? 
    • What is the cost of TSA PreCheck for a family of four? 
    • Can children be randomly excluded from TSA PreCheck? 
    • What documents does a 13-17 year-old need for TSA PreCheck? 
    • Why is TSA PreCheck beneficial for families?

    Do kids need TSA PreCheck?

    Children under 12 can access TSA PreCheck lanes when accompanied by parents or guardians who have TSA PreCheck. That's also true for children between 13 and 17, but they could be randomly excluded from PreCheck and have to pass a standard Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security screening. Lastly, if they're not traveling on the same reservation as a parent or guardian with TSA PreCheck, minors of any age will need their own membership to access PreCheck lanes.

    How much is TSA PreCheck for kids?

    TSA PreCheck has no cost to minors when they are traveling with their parent or legal guardian who has TSA PreCheck on the same reservation. If that is not the case, or a minor is traveling alone, they'll need their own TSA PreCheck membership to use the designated lanes at airport security. As of May 2023, the application fee is the same for adults and children: $78. 

    If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® Credit Card, you can receive one statement credit up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the TSA PreCheck enrollment fee.

    What is the cost of TSA PreCheck for a family of four?

    TSA PreCheck can cost different amounts for a family of four. The cost depends mainly on the number of parents or guardians who are present. 

    Here are some examples that assume everyone in the family is traveling on the same reservation.

    Two adults and two children under 12

    Each parent or guardian would need a TSA PreCheck membership, but the children would not. If the cost to enroll is $78, the cost for both adults to enroll would be $156. The children don't need TSA PreCheck to access the lanes with their parents.

    Two adults and two children between 13 and 17

    Each parent or guardian would need a TSA PreCheck membership, but the children would not. The $78 fee for each adult to enroll in TSA PreCheck would cost the family $156. Although the children don't need TSA PreCheck, they fall into the age range and could be randomly excluded.

    Two adults and two children ages 10 and 17

    Each parent or guardian would need a TSA PreCheck membership. The children would not, but the 17-year-old may be randomly excluded from TSA PreCheck. The cost for the family in this example is still the cost for two applications: $156.

    One adult and three children under 17

    The parent or legal guardian would need TSA PreCheck while the children would not. Any of the children who are between 13 and 17 could be randomly selected for a standard security screening. It would cost the adult $78 to enroll in TSA PreCheck.

    Can children be excluded from TSA PreCheck?

    Children 13-17 can be randomly excluded from TSA PreCheck, and the chance of that happening cannot be avoided. In these cases, the minors must go through a standard security screening. Children in this age range are eligible for their own TSA PreCheck membership. Enrollment would provide the membership and avoid the possibility of random exclusion when traveling with parents who have TSA PreCheck.

    What documents does a 13-17 year-old need for TSA PreCheck?

    Children between 13 and 17 applying for TSA PreCheck need the same documents an adult would need. The documents will be listed during the online application process. These will be required for the next step in the enrollment process, an in-person appointment. 

    At the time of writing, the TSA requires either one document from List A or two documents from List B at your in-person appointment: 

    • List A: passport book or card, permanent resident card, U.S. driver's license or state-issued ID 
    • List B: U.S. Military ID, U.S. birth certificate, U.S. certificate of naturalization, driver's license, state-issued ID or expired passport (within 12 months of expiration) 

    You will have to provide original or certified copies of documents as described on the TSA webpage for required identification.

    Why TSA PreCheck is beneficial for families

    The opportunity to pass through security faster can extend to the whole family when parents or guardians with TSA PreCheck are traveling with their children 17 and younger. If everyone gets the TSA PreCheck symbol on their boarding pass, shoes can stay on and carry-on bags can stay packed. This can help families reach their gates more quickly.

    In summary

    In general, if parents or guardians have TSA PreCheck, their children 17 and under who travel on the same reservation would not need their own membership. The good news? If things go according to plan, the convenience that parents with TSA PreCheck have may extend to minors when traveling together.

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