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The TSA announced that it will launch an application program for those who want to sign up directly for TSA Pre-Check for $85. Currently travelers had to opt-in through an airline’s frequent flier program, or be enrolled in one of CBP’s Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS Trusted Traveler programs.
Starting later this year, U.S. citizens will be able to apply online and visit an enrollment site to provide identification and fingerprints. TSA will start the program at two initial enrollment sites — Washington Dulles International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport — with plans to expand to additional enrollment sites nationwide.
To date, more than 12 million travelers have already experienced TSA Pre-Check at 40 airports nationwide, and today’s announcement will expand the availability of this program to a larger portion of traveling U.S. citizens.
The TSA Pre-Check application program requires a background check, fingerprints, and an anticipated enrollment fee of $85 for a five-year membership. Once approved, travelers will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) and the opportunity to go through TSA Pre-Check lanes at security checkpoints at participating airports.
I think this is a good initiative that the TSA is planning to do, since it means more people will be eligible for Pre-Check, which hopefully means more airports and security checkpoints will get Pre-Check lanes. However, I wouldn’t pay $85 for this since you could apply for Global Entry for $100 which is only $15 more and not only will you qualify for Pre-Check but you will be able to access expedited immigration lines as well. I just came back from Iceland earlier this week and avoided waiting hours in the regular immigration lines.
Also, the other reason to go for Global Entry is many credit cards will refund the fee. For instance, the Amex Platinum, Mercedex-Benz Platinum and Business Platinum cards, all credit the fee back to you as a statement credit for the primary card as well as additional cardholders.
American Express is not the only kid in town giving free Global Entry- if you have the new Citi Prestige card, you can also get the fee refunded, and United Global Services, Premier 1K and Platinum members get reimbursed by United.