STERLING, Va. – For airline passengers, waiting in a long security line ranks somewhere between lost luggage and a screaming baby on a red-eye flight.
But TSA Precheck provides known travelers a way to zoom through the screening process — without budging in line.
Now, the region’s first application center for the precheck program has opened at Washington Dulles International Airport.
“It may take eight to 10 minutes to actually process the information to take fingerprints,” says John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can make appointments and enroll at the new application center, located near the airport’s check-in kiosks.
Applicants enter cubicles — similar to a bank’s loan office — to complete the process.
Applicants must provide fingerprints as part of the process. The TSA administrator says appointments should take between eight and 10 minutes. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)
Once approved, travelers enter security screening through a separate line, and they aren’t subject to the standard requirements.
“You don’t have to remove your shoes; you don’t have to remove your belt,” says Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “You can keep on light outer wear like sweaters; you don’t have to pull your laptop out of its case.”
The expedited screening program costs $85 for five years. Application fees are non-refundable.
Once applicants are approved, it takes about two or three weeks to receive their Known Traveler Number (KTN) in the mail. Otherwise they can check online after five days.
To see a list of frequently asked questions, visit tsa.gov.