Just in time for holiday travel, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) opened three new PreCheck-application centers in Los Angeles County, including one in Signal Hill, this month.
Launched two years ago, TSA PreCheck is an expedited screening program that allows travelers to pass certain airport-security checkpoints without having to take off shoes, belt or outerwear. The program also allows an airline passenger to keep a laptop in a case and liquids/gels in a carry-on bag.
For a fee of $85 for a five-year membership, travelers may apply for the program by first starting the enrollment process online at tsa.gov and then making an appointment to complete the rest of the PreCheck-application process in person at an application center.
On Wednesday, Dec. 18, TSA opened three new PreCheck-application centers in the Los Angeles area, including one in Carson at 460 E. Carson -Plaza Drive, Suite 114, one in Glendale at 603 South Brand Blvd. and one in Signal Hill at 2501 E. 28th St., Suite 105.
TSA spokesperson Nico Melendez said the application center in Signal Hill is currently the location to apply for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card, which is required for workers at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The office now offers application services for both TWIC and PreCheck.
Melendez said, last year, TSA expanded the program to about 40 airports, including Long Beach Airport, and over the last two months the program expanded to about 107 airports. TSA plans to have more than 300 application centers operational by the end of 2014.
The goal, he said, is to “revolutionize” the way TSA conducts screening at airports, moving away from a “one-size-fits-all” model and recognizing that “not every passenger poses the same threat.”
Melendez said the new program enables TSA to be more efficient with its resources.
“We’re getting away from the way we’ve been doing things,” he said. “It’s about the efficiency of the security checkpoint. If there is a better way to use our resources and provide an effective security, then that’s what we’ve been going through.”
Earlier this month, TSA opened application centers in Indianapolis and Washington, and, by the end of the year, TSA expects to open additional application centers in New York.
At the PreCheck application centers, applicants are required to provide biographic information, such as name, date of birth and home address, along with fingerprints, payment and valid identity and citizenship/immigration documentation. All TSA PreCheck program applicants must visit an application center in person to verify identity and provide documentation to confirm citizenship/immigration status as well as fingerprints, according to a statement from TSA.
TSA officials say the new process will allow all U.S. travelers the ability to apply directly to TSA’s expedited screening program as application centers open across the country.
“This new application process will greatly increase the availability of TSA [PreCheck] benefits to a broader population of travelers nationwide,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole in a statement. “TSA [PreCheck] is enabling us to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to transportation security, as we look for more opportunities to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way.”
Once approved, travelers will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) and will have the opportunity to utilize TSA PreCheck lanes at security checkpoints at more than 100 participating airports and on nine major U.S. airlines including: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.
Before the new TSA PreCheck-application process, passengers were only eligible through existing programs such as U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s Global Entry program and frequent-flier programs with certain airlines, but the new process will allow travelers to apply directly to the expedited screening program.
Since its introduction, more than 30 million passengers have used TSA PreCheck nationwide.
TSA notes, however, that the agency continues to incorporate “random and unpredictable security measures” throughout airports and “no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.”