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Skip the wait: Enroll in TSA PreCheck at Staples, not the airport

Dec. 08, 2022
4 min read
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Editor's Note

This story has been updated

If you've been conditionally approved for TSA PreCheck and haven't been able to schedule an interview due to a backlog among applicants for Trusted Traveler Programs, you might be able to complete the process at a Staples near you.

Though this has been a feature available at select Staples stores since 2018, this is a timely opportunity to enroll in TSA PreCheck ahead of what the Transportation Security Administration expects to be a busy holiday travel season at airports in the next few weeks.

As a reminder, TSA PreCheck is an expedited security program enabling travelers to speed through TSA security via a PreCheck-only line, where they do not have to remove their shoes, laptop, liquids, belt or light jacket. Currently, TSA PreCheck is available at 200-plus U.S. airports when flying 85 domestic and foreign airlines.

TSA PreCheck can save you an enormous amount of time you would otherwise spend waiting in line, with 92% of users reporting waiting less than five minutes at airport security checkpoints nationwide in November, per TSA data.

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Here's how to complete the TSA PreCheck enrollment process at Staples.

How to enroll in TSA PreCheck at Staples

To start this process, first, enter your zip code online to see if one of the participating Staples is convenient for you. For example, you can enroll at nine locations in the New York City area, as shown below.

STAPLES.COM

Once you select a location, begin the enrollment process as you would normally through the TSA PreCheck website. This includes completing an application with identifying information, including your date and location of birth, current address, height, weight and eye color, among other metrics.

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TSA.GOV

Once you’re conditionally approved for TSA PreCheck, you must schedule an in-person appointment at an enrollment center, which is where Staples comes in.

When reserving your appointment on the government website, select the option to interview at an enrollment center "located inside Staples" and confirm you are scheduling at your desired store location.

Beyond its location, the process should not differ otherwise from interviewing at Staples versus at one of the government's 400 enrollment centers, many of which are at airports. For a full list of enrollment centers, see here.

During the interview, expect fingerprinting and a background check, with the whole process taking only a few minutes. After your interview, you should receive a letter by mail with your Known Traveler Number within two to three weeks, if not sooner. In the interim, you can also check your application status online and find out much faster whether you’ve been approved, at which point you can begin using TSA PreCheck on your next trip.

How to save money on TSA PreCheck enrollment fee

TSA PreCheck costs $85 for a five-year membership, after which you can renew online for $70. However, you could save or enroll for free by holding one of the approximately 50 cobranded airline, hotel and other credit cards that offer users up to $100 in statement credit reimbursement for application fees.

Note that this credit is typically available every four to five years, so check the terms for your specific card for the exact frequency.

See here for a complete list of credit cards that offer a discount for TSA PreCheck.

Bottom line

STAPLES.COM

A pandemic-induced backlog of applications means it could take weeks or even months to schedule an interview for Trusted Traveler Programs, such as TSA PreCheck. One way to expedite this process is to see if there is a Staples enrollment center in your area.

Though appointments are appreciated, Staples says you can also walk in for this service. However, we recommend scheduling an appointment to guarantee services.

For even more information on how TSA PreCheck works, read:

Featured image by SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees