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Everything to know about TSA PreCheck® military benefits

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    If you're an active or retired military member and you're interested in applying for TSA PreCheck, you may wonder if you receive additional benefits from the airport security program. Below you'll find information on TSA PreCheck military benefits for active-duty service members, veterans, military spouses and dependents.

    How does TSA PreCheck work?

    TSA PreCheck is an expedited airport security program run by the Transportation Security Administration. Members of TSA PreCheck receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN), which can be used when booking flights to access the TSA PreCheck line.

    The TSA PreCheck line is generally shorter than the regular security line. Additionally, PreCheck members do not have to remove their shoes, belts or sweatshirts/light outerwear, and liquids and laptops can remain inside baggage.

    The fee for PreCheck is currently $78, but it is always subject to change. You must be fingerprinted and pass a background check to be approved for PreCheck, but once you are, your membership is valid for five years.

    Active military members don't have to go through the same process as civilians when applying for TSA PreCheck.

    How to get TSA PreCheck if you're in the military

    If you're an active-duty military member, you can get TSA PreCheck for free. That benefit is also available to a handful of other groups, as well. People who can get free TSA PreCheck include:

    • All members of the U.S. armed forces
    • Reserve members
    • National Guard members
    • Cadets and midshipmen of the U.S. Military Academy, Naval Academy, Coast Guard Academy and Air Force Academy

    If you fall under any of these groups, you do not have to fill out a PreCheck application or engage in the enrollment process. Instead of a known traveler number, military members can use their 10-digit Department of Defense identification number when making airline reservations. This will afford you the same benefits as traditional TSA PreCheck members.

    Note that military members do not need to be in uniform to use PreCheck and can use it for both personal and official travel.

    TSA PreCheck for veterans

    TSA PreCheck for veterans is only available through the traditional civilian process — veterans must apply online and then complete their enrollment in person. This is because once you leave the military, you're no longer subject to periodic reinvestigations. Veterans will undergo the same fingerprinting and background check as other civilians.

    TSA PreCheck for military family members

    If you're an active-duty military member who plans to take advantage of your free TSA PreCheck benefits, you may be wondering about your family. Do military spouses get TSA PreCheck? In short, no, military spouses aren't included in a military member's TSA PreCheck membership. Military spouses must go through the same process as veterans and other civilians.

    When it comes to children of military veterans, however, accompanying family members aged 12 and under can use TSA PreCheck if they are traveling with a service member. If the child is 12 or under and flying without the active-duty service member, they cannot use TSA PreCheck. Children do have the option to apply for the program on their own with permission of a legal parent or guardian.

    Because spouses and dependents both must go through the traditional PreCheck application process, they will be responsible for the application fee. If you're looking for a way to save money on TSA PreCheck, you may want to consider a travel credit card. Some cards, such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, offer a statement credit of up to $100 every four years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card as one of their benefits.

    In summary

    TSA PreCheck military benefits include free membership and the waiver of the traditional enrollment process. Veterans, spouses and dependents, however, must enroll in the program, but can potentially have the fee reimbursed by using a travel credit card. Either way, you'll likely enjoy the swift security process as you head to your next destination.

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