Can Felons Get Tsa Precheck?

Over 12 million people in the U.S. have TSA PreCheck, allowing them to breeze through airport security checkpoints. But can felons get TSA PreCheck clearance? We’ll examine that pressing question here.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: In many cases, yes, felons can successfully apply for and receive TSA PreCheck approval. However, having a criminal record does complicate the eligibility process.

TSA Precheck Eligibility Requirements

Basic Qualifications

In order to be eligible for TSA PreCheck, individuals must meet certain basic qualifications. These qualifications include being a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident. Additionally, individuals must have a valid and current U.S. passport, permanent resident card, or other acceptable forms of identification.

It is important to note that TSA PreCheck is available for individuals who are 18 years of age or older.

One of the key benefits of TSA PreCheck is the expedited screening process at security checkpoints. With TSA PreCheck, individuals are able to keep their shoes on, leave their laptops and liquids in their bags, and avoid the hassle of removing belts and jackets.

This program is designed to make the travel experience more efficient and convenient for eligible individuals.

Disqualifying Factors

While many individuals may meet the basic qualifications for TSA PreCheck, there are certain disqualifying factors that may prevent someone from being approved for the program. These factors include past criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, or outstanding warrants.

Felons, in particular, may face challenges in obtaining TSA PreCheck approval.

It is important to note that the TSA conducts a thorough background check on all applicants. This includes reviewing criminal records, as well as conducting fingerprint-based checks through the FBI database.

The TSA is looking for any potential security risks or concerns that may arise from an individual’s background.

While there is no specific policy that states felons are automatically disqualified from TSA PreCheck, each application is considered on a case-by-case basis. The severity and nature of the felony conviction, as well as the amount of time that has passed since the conviction, will be taken into account during the review process.

Ultimately, the decision to approve or deny an individual for TSA PreCheck rests with the TSA. If an applicant has a felony conviction on their record, it is recommended that they provide any relevant documentation or evidence that demonstrates their rehabilitation and the absence of any ongoing criminal activity.

This may include letters of recommendation, certificates of completion for educational programs or rehabilitation courses, or any other evidence that supports their case.

It is worth noting that individuals who are denied TSA PreCheck due to a felony conviction may still be eligible for other trusted traveler programs, such as Global Entry or Nexus. These programs also offer expedited screening benefits for international travel.

For more information on TSA PreCheck eligibility and the application process, you can visit the official TSA website at

How a Felony Conviction Affects Eligibility

Obtaining TSA PreCheck can significantly expedite the airport security process, allowing travelers to breeze through security lines without the need to remove shoes, belts, or laptops. However, for individuals with a felony conviction on their record, the eligibility requirements for TSA PreCheck are more stringent.

Automatic Disqualifiers

Unfortunately, certain felony convictions automatically disqualify individuals from obtaining TSA PreCheck. These disqualifying offenses are typically related to national security concerns or pose a threat to aviation safety.

Some examples of disqualifying offenses include terrorism-related crimes, espionage, treason, and murder.

Additionally, individuals who are currently under indictment or have an active warrant for a felony offense are also ineligible for TSA PreCheck. This ensures that individuals who are currently facing serious criminal charges are not granted expedited airport security privileges.

It’s important to note that even if a felony conviction falls within the category of automatic disqualifiers, individuals may still apply for TSA PreCheck in order to receive a formal determination from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the specific circumstances surrounding the conviction.

Case-By-Case Basis

For individuals with felony convictions that do not fall under the category of automatic disqualifiers, the TSA reviews their applications on a case-by-case basis. This allows the TSA to assess the individual’s criminal history, the nature of the offense, and any mitigating factors that may indicate a lower risk to aviation security.

The TSA considers factors such as the time that has passed since the conviction, the individual’s compliance with the terms of their sentence, any rehabilitation efforts, and any subsequent criminal history.

It is important to provide accurate and detailed information about the conviction and any relevant information that could support the application.

While there is no guarantee that individuals with felony convictions will be granted TSA PreCheck, the case-by-case review process provides an opportunity for those who have demonstrated rehabilitation and a commitment to following the law to be considered for the program.

For more information on the specific eligibility requirements and the application process for TSA PreCheck, individuals can visit the official TSA website at

Applying for PreCheck with a Record

For individuals with a criminal record, the process of obtaining TSA PreCheck can be a bit more complex. While having a felony conviction does not automatically disqualify someone from receiving PreCheck, it does warrant additional scrutiny during the application process.

Be Upfront

One important step when applying for TSA PreCheck with a record is to be honest and upfront about your criminal history. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducts thorough background checks on all applicants, so it is crucial to provide accurate information.

Failure to disclose a criminal record can result in denial or revocation of your PreCheck status.

By being transparent about your past, you demonstrate your willingness to take responsibility for your actions. This honesty can work in your favor during the evaluation process.

Highlight Mitigating Factors

Along with being honest about your criminal record, it is essential to highlight any mitigating factors that may support your application. These factors can include evidence of rehabilitation, completion of educational programs, community service, or professional achievements since the conviction.

Providing documentation and testimonials that showcase your commitment to personal growth and positive contributions to society can significantly improve your chances of being approved for TSA PreCheck.

It is important to note that the final decision regarding your eligibility for PreCheck lies with the TSA. Each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the severity of the offense, the time elapsed since the conviction, and any relevant circumstances surrounding the incident.

For more information on the application process and eligibility requirements for individuals with a criminal record, visit the official TSA website at

Improving Your Chances

If you are a felon and wish to obtain TSA PreCheck, there are a few steps you can take to improve your chances. These steps include seeking expungement of your criminal record and obtaining a letter of recommendation.


One way to enhance your chances of getting TSA PreCheck as a felon is to seek expungement of your criminal record. Expungement is a legal process that allows eligible individuals to have their criminal records sealed or erased.

This means that certain convictions or charges will no longer appear on background checks.

Expungement laws and eligibility criteria vary by jurisdiction, so it’s important to consult with an attorney or legal professional who specializes in criminal law in your area. They can guide you through the process and help determine if you qualify for expungement.

Having your record expunged can greatly improve your chances of getting TSA PreCheck, as it demonstrates that you have taken steps to rehabilitate yourself and move on from your past mistakes. By showing that you have put in the effort to clear your record, you may be seen as less of a security risk.

Letter of Recommendation

Another way to bolster your chances of obtaining TSA PreCheck as a felon is to obtain a letter of recommendation. This letter should come from a reputable source who can vouch for your character and trustworthiness.

A letter of recommendation can be particularly helpful if it comes from someone who has known you for a significant period of time, such as a former employer, mentor, or community leader. This person should be able to speak to your personal growth, rehabilitation, and commitment to being a law-abiding citizen.

When requesting a letter of recommendation, it’s important to be open and honest about your past. Explain your desire to obtain TSA PreCheck and why it’s important to you. Be prepared to answer any questions or address any concerns the person writing the letter may have.

Remember, obtaining TSA PreCheck as a felon is not guaranteed, but taking these steps can improve your chances. It’s also important to note that each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the final decision ultimately lies with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The Appeal Process

If a felon’s TSA PreCheck application is denied, they have the option to submit an appeal. The appeal process gives them a chance to provide additional information or evidence that may support their eligibility for TSA PreCheck.

It’s important to note that not all appeals are successful, but it is worth trying if the individual believes they have a strong case.

Submitting an Appeal

When submitting an appeal, felons should carefully follow the instructions provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This typically involves filling out a form and providing any necessary supporting documents.

It is crucial to provide accurate and truthful information to avoid any further complications.

It is recommended to include a detailed explanation of why the individual believes they should be granted TSA PreCheck despite their felony conviction. This may include information about their rehabilitation, community involvement, or any other factors that demonstrate their commitment to being a law-abiding citizen.

Additional Info to Provide

In addition to the appeal form, felons may want to provide any relevant documentation that supports their case. This could include certificates of completion for rehabilitation programs, character references from employers or community members, or any other evidence that showcases their positive behavior and contribution to society.

It’s important to keep in mind that each case is unique, and the decision to grant or deny TSA PreCheck ultimately rests with the TSA. However, providing compelling evidence and a well-thought-out appeal may increase the chances of a positive outcome.

For more information about the appeal process for felons seeking TSA PreCheck, visit the official TSA website at


We’ve covered the key considerations around TSA PreCheck eligibility for those with a criminal history. While approval is never guaranteed, being transparent, highlighting rehabilitation efforts, and utilizing the appeal process can help.

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