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The original intent of PreCheck, TSA’s risk-based security strategy to allow known travelers alternative screening, meaning they can keep their liquids and laptops in their bag, their jacket and belts on and their dignity and efficiency in place, is about to expand to the masses.

PreCheck originally rolled out for airline frequent flyers (and it’s a glorious thing!). But the long-term intent of PreCheck is to enroll the vast majority of travelers so that everyone can blast through the checkpoint, just like in the pre 9/11 days. The downside of that, for the frequent flyers anyway, is that the PreCheck line will get slower and slower as more passengers who are less familiar with the screening process, start to use the PreCheck lanes.

TSA plans to roll out PreCheck for the general public this fall. Enrollment takes place in a two-step process and is only open to U.S. citizens.

  • Step 1: submit an online application.
  • Step 2: visit an enrollment site where TSA personnel will verify your identification and collect fingerprints for a background check. The program requires a fee of $85 for five years.

Applicants will be required to provide two forms of government issued identification at the enrollment site (a Passport is not necessary). Once approved, participants will receive a letter in the mail which will contain a Known Traveler Number which can be used when booking air travel on participating PreCheck air carriers.

Hopefully, they will be required to watch a video showing how to go through PreCheck so they don’t start disrobing and unpacking like you have to in the normal lines, and we can keep the line moving. This is even a problem with frequent flyers (including me sometimes) so I know it’s going to be an issue as the less frequent flyers join the program.

The first two enrollment centers for the program will be at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Indianapolis International Airport (IND). TSA plans to stand-up additional enrollment centers throughout the nation.

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