Free TSA PreCheck for Military

TSA Pre-check Military

TSA PreCheck for Military Free

Flying can be stressful, especially when it comes to going through security. The good news is, military members are eligible to participate in TSA Precheck for free. This is what you need to know about that, who really qualifies, and what you can do if you don’t.

>> Jump ahead to see who’s eligible and how to use TSA Precheck as military.

>> Are military spouses eligible for TSA PreCheck for Military?  Jump ahead to find a way to get it for free!

What is the TSA PreCheck Program?

TSA PreCheck can save you time, which is so helpful, especially if you travel often. Lines will be shorter in TSA Precheck and move more quickly. They do not require you to take off your belt, shoes, or light jackets. You don’t have to have your toiletries in a ziplock bag, and you don’t have to remove your laptop from your carry-on. Overall, going with TSA Precheck can save you a lot of time and headache when flying.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a PreCheck program that will allow a traveler to experience a smoother screening process. It is expedited security screening at participating airports.

Members of the TSA PreCheck program are not required to remove their:

  • shoes
  • belts
  • food
  • light jackets
  • “3-1-1” liquids 

They will also not have to remove the “3-1-1” liquids.  This is a TSA guideline requiring passengers to carry “liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces.” These items are required to all fit in one quart-size bag, also.

Other Great Benefits of the TSA PreCheck Program

There are also other great benefits of TSA’s PreCheck program:

  • According to the TSA, in March 2021, 98% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes at security gates.
  • Children who are 12 and under are permitted to join a parent or guardian in line with TSA PreCheck.
  • TSA PreCheck services are available at more than 200 airports, and with 79 airlines.

Who Is Eligible for TSA Precheck for Military for Free?

  • Members of the U.S. Military
  • Reservists
  • National Guard
  • Service Academy Cadets
  • Children 12 and under, while traveling with an eligible adult

These groups are automatically considered members of the trusted traveler group. As members of this group, you are not required to apply for the TSA PreCheck program to receive these screening benefits.

The TSA website states, “All members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those serving in the Reserves and National Guard can benefit from TSA Pre✓® expedited screening at select airports when flying on participating airlines.”

In addition, service academy students, as well as children 12 and under, while traveling with an eligible adult, are eligible.

How Do I Use TSA PreCheck for Military?

Eligible groups are automatically considered members of the trusted traveler group. As members of this group, you are not required to apply for the TSA PreCheck program to receive these screening benefits.

Just use your Department of Defense (DoD) identification number as your Known Traveler Number (KTN) when making flight reservations, or when updating your Defense Travel System (DTS) profile.

When you arrive for your flight, you would go through the TSA Precheck line instead of the general line, unless the airport you are at doesn’t offer TSA Precheck.

You’ll find TSA Precheck at more than 200 airports and with 67 participating airlines.  You can find a list of the participating airlines at the bottom of this article. 

Are Veterans Eligible for TSA PreCheck for Military for Free?

Veterans are not eligible for the TSA PreCheck military program. 

Veterans can apply for TSA Precheck on their own through the TSA Precheck application program.  The program costs $85 to cover the cost of a background check.  Military spouses are not normally screened the way service members are and so the government can not ensure that they are cleared.

Once you are approved to utilize this program, your membership is active for 5 years.  

Go here to learn more about how to apply.

Are Military Retirees Eligible for TSA PreCheck for Military for Free?

Currently, military retirees are not included in the trusted traveler group afforded to service members.

Military retirees can apply for TSA Precheck on their own through the TSA Precheck application program.  The program costs $85 to cover the cost of a background check.  Military retirees are not normally screened the way service members are and so the government can not ensure that they are cleared.

Once you are approved to utilize this program, your membership is active for 5 years.

Go here to learn more about how to apply.

Are Wounded Warriors Eligible for TSA PreCheck Military?

For wounded warriors, they can experience expedited screening procedures as TSA verifies their status through the appropriate military branches. Injured, wounded service members, veterans and wounded warriors may contact TSA Cares. TSA Cares helps assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions.

Go here to learn more about how to apply.

Are Military Spouses Eligible for TSA PreCheck for Military for Free?

Currently, military spouses are not included in the trusted traveler group afforded to service members.

Military spouses can apply for TSA Precheck on their own through the TSA Precheck application program.  The program costs $85 to cover the cost of a background check.  Military spouses are not normally screened the way service members are and so the government can not ensure that they are cleared.

Once you are approved to utilize this program, your membership is active for 5 years.

Go here to learn more about how to apply.

Alternatives for Military Spouses for TSA PreCheck

Some credit card programs offer their cardholders travel benefits that can include credits for fees paid to TSA PreCheck services.

American Express offers an application fee credit for either the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees. This covers either a $100 statement credit for the Global Entry program, or an $85 statement credit for TSA’s program. 

Based on whichever application fee is charged to your eligible American Express card, only one credit will be given in a 4 (Global Entry) or 4.5 (TSA) year period.

The following cards also offer a similar benefit:

Using the rewards and benefits from many of these cards can provide the military spouse with an essentially “free” TSA PreCheck or Global Entry account.

A Note of Caution

An application for credit is an important and personal decision.

To be clear, we are not advocating for or suggesting that you apply for these credit cards solely for the purpose of obtaining admission into the TSA’s PreCheck program. They are included as alternatives which may grant cardholders with subsidized fees for these prescreening travel programs.

We believe that military spouses should be included in the TSA’s trusted traveler program, especially when travelling with their service members. As it stands now, military spouses can gain access to these pre-screening programs by applying and paying a fee.

RELATED: Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

What About DoD and US Coast Guard Civilian Employees?

Those with the Department of Defense and US Coast Guard Civilian employees must opt into the program using the milConnect website. Their DOD ID number is also their KTN.

Who Else Is Eligible?

The following all qualify for TSA Precheck:

  • US citizens of frequent flyer programs who meet the TSA-mandated criteria and have been invited by a particular airline
  • US citizens and lawful permanent residents with a Known Traveler Number
  • Citizens and lawful permanent residents of the US who are members of the TSA Pre-application program
  • Members of the US Customs and Border Protection trusted traveler programs to include:
    • All members of Global Entry
    • US citizens and lawful permanent residents as well as Canadian citizens that are members of NEXUS
    • US citizens and lawful permanent residents who are members of SENTRI

How to get TSA PreCheck for Non-Military

There are two steps required for this program:

  1. Submit an online application. You can apply online in about 5 minutes and then schedule an appointment at any one of over 380 enrollment centers.

  2. Enroll in Person. Once you’ve applied, you will appear for an in-person appointment that should last about 10 minutes. This appointment will require fingerprinting for a background check.

Once you’ve applied, appeared for your appointment, and received acceptance into TSA’s PreCheck program, you can then take advantage of the program’s benefits. For starters, you can add your Known Traveler Number (KTN) to your airline reservation for a more seamless screening experience.

Participating TSA Pre-Check Airlines

As of March 2021:

    • Aerolane Lineas Aereas Nacionales del Ecuador
    • AeroMexico
    • Air Canada
    • Air Choice One
    • Air France
    • Air India
    • Air Serbia
    • Alaska Airlines
    • Alitalia
    • All Nippon Airways
    • Allegiant Air
    • American Airlines
    • Aruba Airlines
    • Asiana Airlines
    • Austrian Airlines
    • Avianca
    • Azul Airlines
    • Boutique Airlines
    • British Airways
    • Brussels Airlines
    • Cape Air
    • Cathay Pacific Airways
    • China Airlines
    • Condor Airlines
    • Contour Aviation
    • Copa Airlines
    • Delta Air Lines
    • Eastern Airlines
    • Edelweiss Air
    • Elite Airways
    • Emirates
    • Etihad Airways
    • EVA Air
    • Finnair
    • Flycana
    • Frontier Airlines
    • Hawaiian Airlines
    • Icelandair
    • InterCaribbean Airways
    • Interjet
    • Japan Airlines
    • JetBlue Airways
    • Key Lime Air
    • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
    • Korean Air
    • LAN Peru S.A.
    • LATAM Airlines
    • Lufthansa
    • Norwegian Air
    • Omni Air International
    • PAL Express
    • Philippine Airlines
    • Porter Airlines
    • Qantas
    • Qatar Airways
    • Scandinavian Airlines
    • Seaborne Airlines
    • Silver Airways
    • Singapore Airlines
    • Southern Airways Express
    • Southwest Airlines
    • Spirit Airlines
    • Sun Country Airlines
    • Sunclass
    • Sunwing Airlines
    • Swift Air
    • Swiss International Air Lines
    • Swoop
    • TAM-Linhas Aereas S.A.
    • TAP Air Portugal
    • Turkish Airlines
    • Ultimate Jet Charters
    • United Airlines
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • VivaAerobus
    • Volaris
    • WestJet
    • World Atlantic
    • Xtra Airways

For the most up-to-date list of participating airlines, please visit the TSA website.

 

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About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.

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Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.