And there goes your plane, just taking off without you on it. The TSA line was so long, and there was nothing you could do to move it faster. Or maybe there is. You start thinking about TSA Precheck and how those people were on your plane. But how long does a TSA background check take? Would it be worth it?
While every traveler hopes for a smooth TSA screening experience, it only happens sometimes. What if you obtain TSA approval? What does it mean? You can avoid the crazy lines at the airport security checkpoints and never miss another flight again.
We will answer how long does TSA background check take, but we will also go over the process. Let’s dive in to see if a background check is the most important question.
How Long Does TSA Background Check Take?
How long the background check takes differs from the question we need to ask. Instead, a good question is how long it takes to get a face-to-face interview appointment and what the process is. But since you asked, it takes about 3-6 days once you have your face-to-face interview and fingerprints for TSA to get your background check information.
Now that we have answered “how long does TSA background check take, let’s talk a bit about the application process.
What Is TSA PreCheck?
The TSA PreCheck is one of the Trusted Traveler Programs offered by the United States Customs and Border Protection.
TSA PreCheck speeds up the screening process at TSA security checkpoints. It is available at more than 200 airports and over 85 participating airlines. With TSA PreCheck, people boarding a plane in the U.S. can avoid long wait times for security screening. It is a hassle-free process to move faster and board your plane. But how long does TSA background check take, and can you apply?
Who Is Eligible?
Now that you know what TSA PreCheck is, it’s time to determine if you qualify for the TSA PreCheck program.
Are you a low-risk U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident? If you are, you can apply for TSA PreCheck. You can fill out an application online to see if you qualify for a smoother travel experience. However, TSA will deny your application if you have a criminal record.
Does Everyone Need TSA PreCheck?
If you travel internationally more than once a year, TSA PreCheck will come in handy, so you don’t have to wait in long lines at the TSA security checkpoint. You can enjoy the benefits and privileges that come with being TSA approved. The only question is, “how long does TSA background check take before you can enjoy expedited screening?”
If you are a member of the other TTP (Trusted Traveler Programs,) such as Global Entry, NEXUS, and Sentri, you are already good to go and won’t need TSA PreCheck
If you are a member of the Canadian NEXUS program, you can cross the US-Canada borders without going through the routine immigration clearance process. The NEXUS program of Canada and the U.S. provides the same benefits as Global Entry members for U.S. citizens, U.S. LPRs, Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents, and Mexican nationals.
What About Children’s Application – How Long Does TSA Background Check Take?
The good news is for family members 12 years old and below, how long does TSA background check take does not matter because they don’t need TSA PreCheck when flying with a parent or guardian with a KTN number.
If a parent or guardian who signs up for TSA PreCheck travels with children aged 13 to 17, the children can also use the TSA PreCheck lanes as long as the children’s boarding pass shows the TSA PreCheck symbol. The symbol shows up when you put your KTN number in when you book your child’s flight.
Children 17 years of age and older must apply for their own TSA PreCheck, even if they are with their guardian or an approved parent.
So don’t worry about “how long does TSA background check take” if you travel with your kids younger than 17 because they reap the benefits of your TSA Precheck.
What Are The Requirements For Application, And How Long Does TSA Background Check Take?
To apply for TSA PreCheck, you must present proof of identity and citizenship status documentation. You must bring the original or certified copy of these documents during the in-person application schedule.
You can find a complete list of documents you must bring when applying for TSA PreCheck on the TSA government site.
How To Apply?
If eligible, you can apply online for TSA PreCheck pre-approval. Go to the official website of the Department of Homeland Security and choose the TSA PreCheck box to get the application started. Click the Apply Now button to fill out the form with your details. It will take about 5 minutes to complete the online application form with the required information.
The next step is scheduling an appointment at the enrollment center. There are more than 500 enrollment centers, and you can find one by typing a postal code, city, or airport code in the search box of the TSA enrollment center locator page. You must make an appointment before you know how long does TSA background check take.
The application process requires a non-refundable fee of U.S. $78 for TSA PreCheck for a 5-year membership. The renewal application fee is US$ 70 if completed online.
Checking the status of your TSA PreCheck application is available through email, phone, or online.
How Long Does It Take To Book A Face-To-Face Appointment?
How long does TSA background check take if applying in person at the enrollment center nearest to your location? Your visit to the enrollment center includes a short interview and presentation of proof of your citizenship and identity (e.g., a valid U.S. passport or a driver’s license and birth certificate). It takes about 10 minutes to wrap up this interview, including fingerprinting, to initiate a background check.
It’s not the background check that takes time; it is finding a place close to you for your in-person interview. If you live close to an airport, your travel time will be easy. But if you live in a rural area, you may need to travel 2 hours to an interview center. TSA can usually book an appointment in a week or two.
How Long Does Approval Take?
Finally, let’s answer your question, “how long does TSA background check take?” The actual background check is a short 3-6 days. Approval means you will get your nine-digit KTN (Known Traveler Number), which you must input when booking flights on participating airlines.
If you forget to put the KTN info in when you book your flight, recent changes allow you to put it in when you check in.
FAQs About Luggage Locks For International Travel
Here are some commonly asked questions about luggage locks for international travel.
How far back does TSA Precheck background check?
A non-conviction case will only appear on your background check for 7 years. However, a court conviction will appear forever.
What disqualifies a person from TSA PreCheck?
TSA can deny your application due to false or incomplete application information, violation of federal security regulations, or having a disqualifying criminal offense on record.
Can my husband go through TSA PreCheck with me?
Anyone 17 or older must have their own TSA PreChck KTN number. Unless your husband has his TSA PreCheck with his own KTN number, he cannot go through the TSA PreCheck line with you.
Read Next: Global Entry Application Form – Practical Clear Cut Steps
How Long Does TSA Background Check Take – Conclusion
With a faster TSA PreCheck screening process, the waiting time for clearance can be cut in half, making your travel more manageable and less stressful.
As a TSA PreCheck member, you can use the designated TSA PreCheck lanes at more than 200 airports across the country. You don’t need to remove your shoes, belts, or light jackets at the security checkpoint. You can also keep your laptops and 3-1-1 liquids in your bags. Obviously, “how long does TSA background check take?” is not a concern anymore.
It’s a brief waiting period for approval, but this valuable membership saves you time and avoids frustration at airport security.
Happy travels, my friends.