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TSA PreCheck Enrollment Experiences and Timelines

TSA PreCheck Enrollment Experiences and Timelines

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Old Jun 3, 14, 8:54 am
  #1  
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TSA PreCheck Enrollment Experiences and Timelines

What a nightmare this system is. But what can we expect from a government agency?

You could sense that things wouldn't go smoothly when the program started and they didn't let you know if you were pre-approved (now it's printed on your boarding pass) and you had to "guess" which security line to go to at the airport, which resulted in having to wait in 2 lines for me more than once.

Not to mention the inconsistencies of the individual airport policies about shoes, no shoes, empty pockets or not, etc.

After more than a year of enjoying TSA Pre on every flight (32 flights), I'm suddenly getting boarding passes without Pre (I know it's random, but why now?), so I decided to sign-up and pay the $85.

I went to the web site and pre-enrolled, only to find that there were no appointments available. I tried again a week later and found that some were now available, but they were 49 days out! The website asks for a zip code or airport code to find your office location but it will not accept either. You have to type your city name (don't add the state or it won't work) and wait for a drop down menu.

I signed up but decided to try a walk-in sooner. FYI: the TSA web site had (and still has) a message that the Columbus office was closed. This was and is not true.

I arrived at 10:00 a.m. at a distressed office building that was largely vacant to find no signage at all. So I went to each floor and eventually found the office in a former forensic lab. The old signage was still on the window, along with a makeshift sign with lots of abbreviations and acronyms but nothing that said TSA Pre in any way. The crowd out the door told me I was in the right place.

I entered to find a tiny office with 8 seats filled with truck drivers and a nasty woman sitting at a small desk. It turns out that this office processes hazmat permits too, thus the truckers. I asked how long it might be and she replied she wasn't sure but at least 3 hours! So I asked when are the typically slower times to drop by and she snarled "Never".

The following week, I tried again and arrived at 8:30 a.m., (they open at 9:00) only to find a line of 8 waiting at the door. I signed in and had a seat and after 1 hour of waiting, there were still 6 people in front of me. It appears that there is only one processing agent and the crabby secretary running this whole office. The guy next to me said he dropped by the day before, only to find the office closed. Turns out they are closed on Mondays (why?) but this is not posted on the site, and of course, there is no building signage. I went to the desk and asked approximately how long it might be until I would be seen. She said it would likely be another 1 1/2 to 2 hours! I left.

This whole scene reminded me of the purgatory scene in the movie Beetlejuice.

So, I guess I'll have to wait until my appointment in July.

Hopefully not all of the offices are this poorly run but be forewarned.

Last edited by CMH1k; Jun 3, 14 at 9:03 am
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Old Jun 3, 14, 5:33 pm
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Please follow the thread as it moves to the Trusted Traveler forum, where all expedited security programs are discussed. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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Old Jun 3, 14, 9:53 pm
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I enrolled for TSA Pre today at LAX Terminal 5. I just walked in the office after getting off my Delta flight this morning, and there was no wait. The whole interview and fingerprinting process took less than 15 minutes.

Best part is, the contractor who processed my application says that most of the Precheck applications come back with a KTN# in 3 business days or less, not the 21 days the web site and receipt advise. We will see if that actually happens.

CMH, if you're flying to an airport with a PreCheck enrollment center in the terminal, you might want to try your luck and just walk in when you land. I can relate to your situation as my home airport (RIC) has a PreCheck line at the checkpoint but nowhere nearby to enroll.
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Old Jun 4, 14, 7:24 am
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Good tip thanks. The problem with my local office is 90% of the traffic is commercial truckers getting hazmat stuff.
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Old Jun 4, 14, 12:22 pm
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There must be a reason why OP, after 32 successes suddenly has NO TSA-Pre-Check. Did OP check with the airline, it might be just a matter of one character missing in a crucial field.
TSA charges $85, Global Entry $100 (stricter qualifications than TSA though). But GE gets one Pre-check and lots more. Also if one has an AMEX PLAT card, AMEX will reimburse GE fee, but not Pre-check.
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Old Jun 4, 14, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
Also if one has an AMEX PLAT card, AMEX will reimburse GE fee, but not Pre-check.
AMEX will now reimburse either the GE application fee or the PreCheck one.
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Old Jun 4, 14, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by nrr View Post
TSA charges $85, Global Entry $100 (stricter qualifications than TSA though). But GE gets one Pre-check and lots more. Also if one has an AMEX PLAT card, AMEX will reimburse GE fee, but not Pre-check.
That's the problem...I have a single misdemeanor conviction from long ago that "might" render me ineligible for Global Entry. I seldom travel outside the US and Canada (once every 2-3 years on average) so it's not a huge loss to me.

The criteria to qualify for TSA PreCheck are much more clear-cut than for GE when it comes to criminal history. Even recent misdemeanors are OK for PreCheck approval.
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Old Jun 6, 14, 2:28 am
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Originally Posted by wahooflyer View Post
Best part is, the contractor who processed my application says that most of the Precheck applications come back with a KTN# in 3 business days or less, not the 21 days the web site and receipt advise. We will see if that actually happens.
Actually, your KTN# is simply the number that you're assigned in your GOES account when you first apply, and also printed on the letter you're supposed to take in with you for your interview.
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Old Jun 6, 14, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by dungeonlurker View Post
Actually, your KTN# is simply the number that you're assigned in your GOES account when you first apply, and also printed on the letter you're supposed to take in with you for your interview.
GOES is for GE and NEXUS. TSA Precheck has their own application process.
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Old Jun 7, 14, 1:13 am
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Ah yes, my mistake. Forgot about that.
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Old Jun 8, 14, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by dustman81 View Post
GOES is for GE and NEXUS. TSA Precheck has their own application process.
Yes, when I log onto universalenroll.dhs.gov it still shows "KTN: UNASSIGNED".
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Old Jun 12, 14, 4:18 pm
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I also went in to be fingerprinted on 6-3-14 and have not been assigned a KTN number yet. In fact, the status has not changed at all and sounds like they haven't even begun to do the background check. The status still says, "Your enrollment has been received and is being processed for delivery to TSA."

I guess the days of 24-hour processing times are over. (Or maybe I'm just unlucky?)
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Old Jun 19, 14, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by GGFresh View Post
I also went in to be fingerprinted on 6-3-14 and have not been assigned a KTN number yet. In fact, the status has not changed at all and sounds like they haven't even begun to do the background check. The status still says, "Your enrollment has been received and is being processed for delivery to TSA."

I guess the days of 24-hour processing times are over. (Or maybe I'm just unlucky?)
It's been 16 days for me and still no KTN. Glad to hear I'm not the only one, but frustrating as I have another flight on June 30 and would like to use PreCheck.
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Old Jun 19, 14, 9:59 am
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Originally Posted by wahooflyer View Post
It's been 16 days for me and still no KTN. Glad to hear I'm not the only one, but frustrating as I have another flight on June 30 and would like to use PreCheck.
Same here. Does your status also still say, "Your enrollment has been received and is being processed for delivery to TSA."?
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Old Jun 19, 14, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by GGFresh View Post
Same here. Does your status also still say, "Your enrollment has been received and is being processed for delivery to TSA."?
Yes. Also of note, the receipt the TSA gave me in LAX said to call if I hadn't heard back within 21 days...but the Web site now says to call if I haven't heard in 30 days.
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