What are the benefits?
where do i sign up?!
You can register here.
*Pro-tip If you're going to apply to TSA Pre-check, might as well apply to the Global Entry program(cut the international entry line), which also gives you pre-check as a benefit. It's $100 for 5 years vs. $84 for 5 years for Pre-check only.
Learn more about the Global Entry program here.
Whether you apply for TSA Pre-check or Global Entry, you'll need to go through the approval process, which includes a background check to be pre-approved, then setting up an appointment at one of the centres (usually an airport) and should be approved or denied on the spot. Once approved, you'll get your KTN (known traveler number) on the spot, and your identification card mailed in a few weeks.
Keep reading if you want it FOR FREE...
yup, i said free.
Some credit cards reimburse you the $100 application fee for Global Entry. Find the list of credit cards here. I personally have the Chase Sapphire Reserve (and it's great).
Obviously I'm not saying open up a credit card just to get this, but if you're thinking of getting a card, or have one of those cards and haven't used this benefit yet, something to consider. I'd go through Nerdwallet, CreditCards.com, or thePointsGuy to learn more about different offerings.
i've been approved, now what?
Once you've been approved, make sure all of your airlines/agencies have your KTN on your profiles to have them automatically applied to future flights. For existing flights, you'll need to find a way to apply the numbers manually (either online or over the phone).
Your ticket should have a sign notifying you that you can go through the TSA pre-check line; otherwise, you can check on this website to see if that airlines at the airport will have a separate line: https://www.tsa.gov/precheck/map . Quick note: TSA Pre-check is a US program so it's only available in the States.
Don't go to the airport thinking every airline will have this. I went to a local airport of mine later than usual thinking I still had plenty of time because of TSA pre. Turns out that the terminal for my airline did not have a line so I barely made it! Better safe than sorry- check the map before you leave.