If you want to use the fast, PreCheck security-lanes at dozens of U.S. airports, including Sea-Tac Airport, it just got easier.
The Transportation Security Administration formally opened a new PreCheck enrollment center Thursday in Seattle, plus three others around Puget Sound where travelers can apply directly for membership.
Being approved for TSA’s PreCheck lets passengers avoid some of the time-consuming aspects of airport security screening. Using special PreCheck expedited security lanes, passengers can leave on their shoes, belts and light coats; keep laptops in their cases; and leave liquids in their carry-on (you still need to obey the TSA’s limits on liquids/gels).
Previously, only passengers with certain airlines’ frequent-flier programs and members of some federal trusted-traveler pre-screening programs, such as Nexus, could use the PreCheck lanes. In recent months, the TSA has widened eligibility — allowing approved travelers to enroll directly and also choosing passengers at random to use PreCheck lanes. Enrollement centers are being opened nationwide.
The Seattle PreCheck enrollment center is at 4123 4th Ave. South and is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Demand for PreCheck is high and appointments already have been snapped up for the next month at the Seattle office as of Thursday afternoon. However, TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said the Seattle office can accommodate walk-ins, or applicants can get appointments at other Puget Sound enrollment centers, such as Everett or Fife.
Applicants should start their enrollment online at the TSA PreCheck website ; there’s a $85 non-refundable fee for PreCheck membership which is valid for five years. If approved (after a background check), you then need to go to an enrollment center to verify your citizenship/immigration status and provide fingerprints. Once approved, you’ll be given a “Known Traveler Number” which will let you use the PreCheck lanes. At Sea-Tac Airport, three of the four checkpoints have PreCheck lanes; there currently are PreCheck lanes at 116 U.S. airports.
The other enrollment centers in the Puget Sound area are:
Everett: Port of Everett Security Building at 2900 Terminal Avenue, open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fife: Pacific Plaza, 4500 Pacific Highway East, Suite D, open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Anacortes: 8327 Summit Park Road, Suite D, open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.