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The Covid-19 pandemic has made travel much trickier. Even as things begin to open up again and restrictions, there are new travel realities that must be addressed: PCR tests, location tracking apps and in some places, mandatory quarantine. That’s some enterprising vacation seekers may be why to do whatever journey they can easier to make their journey.
There are a number of services that can help with this, including TSA PreCheck, NEXUS, Global Entry and CLEAR. These programs entitle those approved to expedited airport screening, skipping the lines and overall time saving.
Enter the known traveler number, or KTN. Simple in concept, although requiring a bit of up front effort, a KTN can be an essential tool in the post pandemic traveler’s arsenal.
What Is a Known Traveler Number?
Simply put, a known traveler number is a nine-digit number issued to those approved for TSA PreCheck or similar services that allows for expedited airport screening. The nine digits are a mix of letters and numbers, typically beginning with “TT.” For members approved for Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI, the KTN is known as the CBP PASSID. This number functions the same as a KTN, usually begins with 15, 98 or 99 and can be found on the back of your NEXUS, SENTRI or Global Entry card. You can also access it by logging on to the Trusted Traveler Program website.
When making flight bookings online, there should be a specific field for your KTN or PASSID. Make sure you remember to add the number to your booking, as this is what will ensure that your TSA PreCheck approval appears on your reservation and, ultimately, your boarding pass.
Who Can Use a Known Traveler Number?
Anyone approved for TSA PreCheck, CLEAR, NEXUS or Global Entry will be issued a KTN. Which service is right for you will depend on your travel needs. However, it’s important to remember that only US citizens, nationals and permanent residents can apply for PreCheck. Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI, however, allow some foreign citizens to apply. You’ll need to pass a background check and provide your personal information to the government, but assuming you can clear that hurdle, your KTN will be sent to you.
To locate your traveler KTN, log into the trusted website. alternatively, you should receive a paper copy of your number shortly after your application is approved.
How To Get a Known Traveler Number
The application process for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or Nexus is fairly simple. First, applicants must fill out a brief online application, after which they will have to schedule an in-person appointment to submit fingerprints, a background check and other necessary documents.
Be aware that only websites ending in “.gov” provide legitimate applications. Never give your personal information to a non .gov site claiming to be an application portal.
Next, you’ll have to pay the application fee. For TSA PreCheck you’ll pay $85 for five years.The price varies depending on which service you are trying to get. It’s important to note that if this is your first time applying, you cannot submit the payment online and must instead bring it in person to a TSA enrollment center. The TSA website offers a tool to find a TSA PreCheck® enrollment center near your location. Simply enter your zip code and you will be directed to the center nearest you.
Once your application is approved, you should receive your KTN in 3 to 5 days, though some applications can take up to 90 days. Applicants can receive updates on their enrollment application status by email, phone, text or by checking online.
Cards With Free TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or CLEAR
While $85 for five years of service is a pretty sweet deal, it can be even better. Many credit cards will offer a reimbursement of the TSA PreCheck application fee as a perk of card ownership.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Platinum Card® from American Express (Terms apply. See rates & fees) both offer reimbursement for these services. If you’re not keen to pay such a high annual fee, there are also cards for under a hundred dollars in fees that offer this benefit, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card or the United Explorer Card.
This perk shouldn’t be ignored—if you’re a frequent traveler, having TSA PreCheck will save you heaps of time and hassle over the course of your life, all for less than $20 a year (or nothing if you have the right credit card).
If you have the time and the money—or a credit card that offers this perk—getting one of these travel services and the KTN that comes with them, will be a massive boon. For many people, the airport has only been a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A little bit of up-front work earns you years of stress-free traveling. Worth the effort, certainly.
To view rates and fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page.