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How Long Does TSA Background Check Take – Avoid Crazy Lines

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If you’re planning to sign up for the TSA PreCheck program to breeze through airport security, you’re likely wondering, “How long does TSA background check take?” If your travel plans are just around the corner you may be a bit anxious about how long a background check will take.

As a seasoned traveler and a TSA PreCheck participant, I’m here to shed light on the process and timeline. With my firsthand experience, I will walk you through the official TSA guidelines.

How Long Does TSA Background Check Take?

How long does TSA Precheck background check take 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. However 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.

Let’s dig deeper and navigate the TSA PreCheck process together. No only will we talk about the background check process but we will also provide information on the entire PreCheck 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?

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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 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.

If you travel internationally more than once a year and ask, “How long does it take TSA to do background check?” you are in luck. International travel PreCheck members have perks also within the US. The real question is not, “How long does TSA background check take?” because your background check is done before your international travel.

What About Children’s Application – How Long Does TSA Background Check Take For Them?

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

When you apply for TSA PreCheck, and wonder how long does a TSA background check take, there are a few things you will need to do before the background check.

You must present proof of identity and citizenship status documentation. After you present these, 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.

How long does PreCheck background check take, comes after you schedule your appointment?

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.

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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.

So, how long does TSA background check take? 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.

How Long Does TSA Employment Background Check Take

Please note that in this article, we are not referring to employees as their process is different. But if you are asking, “How long does TSA background check take for employment?” the answer is 2-3 weeks. The process is much more involved for an employee for hire.

FAQs About How Long Does TSA Background Check Take?

Here are some commonly asked questions regarding the question, “How long does TSA background check take?”

How far back does TSA Precheck background check go?

A non-conviction case will only appear on your background check for 7 years. However, a court conviction will appear forever. But if you are asking how far back does a TSA background check go, it goes back 10 years.

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.

How long does airport background check take?

Many are asking this question in reference to How long does the TSA background check take. An airport check and a TSA background check are the same. It takes 2-3 days for the actual check.

How long is the TSA precheck background check time

Let’s look at TSA background check how long? The time varies depending on various factors, such as the applicant’s criminal history, citizenship status, and overall application volume at the time of submission. On average, the background check process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete.

Additional Resources

If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs, and troubleshooting on TSA, here are some additional posts about TSA:


What we found out it’s not about How long does it take for TSA background check because the check itself only takes 3-5 days. It is, however, more about how long it takes to get an in-person interview.

Becoming a TSA PreCheck member is beneficial, although the process may be long and drawn out. Your PreCheck status is good for 10 years.

The benefits of becoming a TSA PreCheck member are:

  • You can use the designated TSA PreCheck lanes at more than 200 airports across the country.
  • No need to remove your shoes, belts, or light jackets at the security checkpoint.
  • Your laptops and 3-1-1 liquids can remain in your bags through the checkpoint.

With your TSA PreCheck completed, “How long does TSA background check take?” will no longer be a concern.

Happy travels, my friends.

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Laura Fuller

Hello, I am a luggage and travel fanatic. With a vast knowledge of TSA regulations, I am here to assist you on your journey. Please join me, and together, we will navigate the world of travel. From TSA and air to cruising the high seas, we will explore the best accessories and tips for smooth travel.

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