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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) manages and operates an expedited security screening program, allowing certain travelers to move through security more quickly and easily when departing from participating airports in the U.S. The TSA, not United, randomly selects travelers for expedited screening.
The ability to use TSA Pre✓® lanes is most consistent for travelers who have joined a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Trusted Traveler program. The following describes several ways travelers can become eligible to participate in TSA Pre✓. They can enroll in the TSA Pre✓ application program, and approved travelers are issued a Known Traveler Number (KTN) after completing a TSA background check and screening. Travelers can also enroll in U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) Global EntrySM, NEXUS or SENTRI and use their PASS ID as a KTN to participate in TSA Pre✓. Additionally, members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard, can use their Department of Defense (DoD) identification number.
As of April 2015, travelers without a KTN/PASS ID/DoD ID number, including those who previously opted in through a frequent flyer program, will notice a reduction in the number of times they are chosen by the TSA for TSA Pre✓.
If the TSA determines that a traveler is eligible for expedited screening, information is embedded in the barcode of his or her boarding pass. A TSA Pre✓ logo or “TSA PRE” is also printed on the boarding pass near the traveler's name. When the TSA agent at a participating airport scans the barcode, eligible travelers will be directed to a TSA Pre✓ lane. Note that not all airports offer TSA Pre✓. Children ages 12 and under may accompany an eligible traveler through TSA Pre✓.
The TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport, and in order to retain a certain element of randomness, no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.
Please visit the TSA website or contact the TSA for additional details, including enrollment instructions and a list of participating airports. When enrolling in a Trusted Traveler program, please allow enough time for DHS to process your application.
How to participate
- If you haven't already, submit an application through the TSA Pre✓ application program or another DHS Trusted Traveler program. Make sure that your name, date of birth and gender exactly match the government-issued photo ID that you use when traveling.
- If your application is approved by DHS, you will receive a KTN/PASS ID/DoD ID number. Be sure to include that number in your MileagePlus profile or add it to your reservation each time you book travel. You can update existing United reservations through the "Edit traveler information" option in Manage Reservations. In order to receive expedited screening benefits, your KTN/PASS ID/DoD ID number must be included in your reservation, and you must have the TSA Pre✓ logo or "TSE PRE" displayed on your boarding pass. A Trusted Traveler program card alone will not grant TSA Pre✓ access.
If you have a flight departing within 72 hours after adding your KTN/PASS ID/DoD ID number to your MileagePlus profile, you will also need to add the number directly to your reservation. If you add your number after checking in, please reprint your boarding pass.
- Be sure to enter your name, date of birth and gender into the traveler information section of your flight reservations exactly as noted when you applied to the DHS Trusted Traveler program. The TSA will use this information to confirm your eligibility for TSA Pre✓ benefits for each flight.
Note that your United reservations may display only your middle initial and/or combine your middle name with your first name. If your middle name was included when the reservation was made, then this information is sent to the TSA as part of your Secure Flight Passenger Data, and any difference in how your name is displayed on your boarding pass will not prevent you from receiving TSA Pre✓ benefits.
Finding your KTN/PASS ID/DoD ID number
Participants in CBP's Global Entry, NEXUS or SENTRI program should visit the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) website to obtain their PASSID, which is their KTN, or check the back of their card on the upper left side. An example PASS ID is shown below.
Participants in the TSA Pre✓ application program should visit the Universal Enrollment Services (UES) website to obtain their KTN or refer to their notification letter. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard should visit the TSA's Member of the Military Web page or refer to the back of their Common Access Card to obtain their DoD ID number.
For more information about finding and using your KTN/PASS ID/DoD ID number, please read the TSA's Frequently Asked Questions.