Traveling for a Contract Position? Consider Getting TSA PreCheck

From Zachary Ahlgrim 9/6/2018

Choosing to work as a contract professional carries with it a wide variety of benefits. One of the benefits of contracting most frequently cited is the ability to travel and see different parts of the United States. Traveling for a contract position can be a wonderful experience that gives technical professionals the chance to experience new and interesting locales while getting paid to do it. While traveling is typically an enjoyable endeavor, there’s one aspect of the experience that hardly anyone enjoys – having to go through airport security.

Whether it’s the long lines, the occasionally surly TSA employee, or the necessity of having to partially disrobe in front of total strangers, airport security can seem like a necessity at best and a hassle at worst. Luckily for frequent travelers, the TSA has a program that alleviates some of these travel headaches.

What is TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck is a program that gives qualified individuals the ability to greatly expedite the screening process at participating domestic and international airports. In exchange for a more in-depth background check, traveling contractors can pass through TSA security checkpoints without the need to remove liquids, gels, laptops, or other similar items from their carry-on bags.

Additionally, individuals who are approved for TSA PreCheck aren’t required to remove their shoes, belts, or lightweight outerwear before they pass through the metal detectors. Airline passengers who have TSA PreCheck status are also eligible to use separate security lines that are typically much shorter than those used by everyday travelers. In August 2018, 94 percent of TSA PreCheck passengers spent less than five minutes in the airport security line.

Who is eligible for TSA PreCheck?

Interested travelers are able to apply for TSA PreCheck if they are a US citizen, or lawful permanent resident, who hasn’t been convicted of certain crimes. TSA PreCheck access is also available to persons who are already enrolled in a Trusted Traveler program like Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS.

How do you apply for TSA PreCheck?

There’s good news and bad news for contractors interested in applying for TSA PreCheck. First, the good news is that much of the application for TSA PreCheck can be completed online. The online application is simple and asks for basic personal information like your name, date of birth, email address, and phone number as well as basic identifying information such as hair color, eye color, height, and weight. You’ll also be asked for basic information regarding your city and country of birth as well as your country of citizenship.

The bad news is that to be approved for TSA PreCheck, applicants are required to show up in person for fingerprinting and a brief background check. These background checks typically last 10 – 15 minutes and are usually conducted at an airport or a designated enrollment center. Enrollment centers are typically located around major metropolitan areas and applicants can find the nearest enrollment center on the TSA website.

The application for TSA PreCheck carries a fee of $85 dollars for five years of membership. This application fee is non-refundable should your application be declined for any reason.

How do you use TSA PreCheck?

If you’ve been approved for TSA PreCheck, using your status is as easy as entering your Known Traveler Number (KTN). Your KTN is issued after your application has been processed and approved. This number is used as your personal identifier when you purchase airline tickets online or over the phone. When purchasing airline travel as a TSA PreCheck member, simply provide your KTN at the time of purchase and your boarding pass will be updated to reflect your TSA PreCheck status.

When you arrive at the airport, you’ll see signs directing you to the security line for TSA PreCheck members. Enter the queue as you normally would, show the TSA agent your boarding pass, and breeze through the security line like never before.

Interested in learning more about travel contract opportunities through Black Diamond Networks? View our open jobs or give us a call at 978.474.9980.