What Does Precheck Background Check Include?

Getting through airport security quickly is a priority for many travelers. That’s why TSA PreCheck has become an increasingly popular option. But what exactly does the PreCheck background check entail? This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about PreCheck screening and background checks.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The PreCheck background check is a fingerprint-based criminal history records check and security threat assessment conducted by the TSA.

PreCheck Eligibility Requirements

Basic Criteria

To be eligible for a PreCheck background check, individuals must meet certain criteria. These criteria typically include:

  • Being a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident
  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Having a valid U.S. government-issued photo ID
  • Providing accurate and complete information on the application

Meeting these basic criteria is the first step towards becoming eligible for a PreCheck background check.

Disqualifying Factors

While meeting the basic criteria is important, there are also certain disqualifying factors that can prevent an individual from being approved for PreCheck. These factors may include:

  • Prior criminal convictions
  • History of involvement in terrorist activities
  • Violations of transportation security regulations
  • Providing false or misleading information on the application

It’s important to note that each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has the final say in determining an individual’s eligibility.

For more detailed information on the eligibility requirements and disqualifying factors, you can visit the official TSA website here.

PreCheck Application Process

Applying for PreCheck is a straightforward process that involves a few simple steps. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

Online Application Form

The first step in the PreCheck application process is filling out an online application form. You’ll need to provide personal information such as your full name, address, date of birth, and citizenship status. Additionally, you’ll be asked to disclose any criminal history or previous violations.

It’s important to be honest and accurate when completing this form, as any discrepancies could lead to your application being denied.

In-Person Appointment

Once you’ve submitted your online application, the next step is to schedule an in-person appointment at a designated application center. During this appointment, you’ll need to bring valid identification documents, such as a passport or driver’s license, to verify your identity.

The appointment also includes fingerprinting, which is used to conduct a thorough background check.

Background Check

The PreCheck background check is a crucial part of the application process. It involves screening your personal and criminal history to determine your eligibility for the program. The background check looks for any disqualifying factors, such as felony convictions, outstanding warrants, or involvement in terrorism-related activities.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for conducting the background check, and the results are typically received within a few weeks.

Getting Approved

Once the background check is complete, and you meet all the eligibility requirements, you will receive a notification regarding your PreCheck application status. If approved, you will be issued a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that you can use when booking flights.

With PreCheck approval, you can enjoy expedited security screening at participating airports, allowing you to breeze through security without removing your shoes, jackets, or belts.

For more information about the PreCheck application process, you can visit the official TSA website https://www.tsa.gov/precheck.

What the Background Check Covers

When it comes to the PreCheck background check, there are several components that make up a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s background. These checks are designed to provide organizations with valuable information about a person’s criminal history, potential terrorist ties, and citizenship status.

Let’s take a closer look at what these checks entail:

Fingerprint-Based Criminal History Check

One of the key elements of a PreCheck background check is a fingerprint-based criminal history check. This check involves comparing an individual’s fingerprints against a database of criminal records to determine if they have any prior convictions or outstanding warrants.

This is a crucial step in ensuring the safety and security of the organization and its employees.

Terrorist Screening Database Check

Another important component of the background check is a terrorist screening database check. This involves cross-referencing an individual’s information against a database of known or suspected terrorists.

By conducting this check, organizations can identify individuals who may pose a potential threat to national security and take appropriate action to mitigate any risks.

Citizenship Verification

Lastly, the PreCheck background check includes a verification of an individual’s citizenship status. This is particularly important for organizations that require employees to be U.S. citizens or have legal authorization to work in the country.

By verifying an individual’s citizenship, organizations can ensure compliance with immigration laws and regulations.

Length of Background Check Validity

When it comes to background checks, one important aspect to consider is the validity or length of time for which the check remains valid. The length of background check validity can vary depending on several factors, such as the purpose of the check and the policies of the organization conducting it.

Let’s take a closer look at some common scenarios:

Employment Background Checks

For most employers, background checks are a standard part of the hiring process. These checks typically include verification of the candidate’s education, employment history, criminal records, and other relevant information.

The validity of an employment background check can vary, but it is generally considered valid for a period of one to three years. However, some employers may choose to conduct more frequent checks, especially for positions that require a higher level of security or trust.

Security Clearances

For individuals seeking security clearances, such as those required for government or military positions, the validity of background checks is typically longer. These checks involve a thorough investigation into an individual’s personal, professional, and financial history.

The validity of a security clearance background check can range from five to ten years, depending on the level of clearance required.

Volunteer Organizations

Background checks for volunteer organizations, such as those working with children or vulnerable populations, are crucial for ensuring the safety of those they serve. While the validity of these checks can vary, it is generally recommended to conduct them every one to two years.

This helps to ensure that any new criminal or other relevant information is discovered in a timely manner.

It is important to note that these timeframes are general guidelines, and organizations may choose to conduct background checks more frequently based on their specific needs and policies. Additionally, it is always a good practice to re-evaluate background check policies and procedures periodically to ensure they remain effective and up to date.

For more information on background checks and their validity, you can visit websites such as https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis or https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/background-checks-what-employers-need-know.

Renewing PreCheck Status

Timing of Renewal Application

Renewing your PreCheck status is an important step to ensure that you continue to enjoy the benefits of expedited security screening at airports. To avoid any interruptions in your PreCheck privileges, it is recommended to submit your renewal application at least six months before your current status expires.

This will give the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sufficient time to process your application and conduct the necessary background checks.

By submitting your renewal application in a timely manner, you can minimize any potential delays or inconveniences that may arise if your PreCheck status expires before your new application is approved.

It’s always better to be proactive and plan ahead to maintain the convenience and efficiency that PreCheck offers.

Renewal Process

The process of renewing your PreCheck status is straightforward and can be completed online. To start the renewal process, you will need to visit the official TSA website and fill out the renewal application form.

The form will require you to provide personal information such as your full name, date of birth, and contact details.

During the renewal process, the TSA will conduct another comprehensive background check to ensure that you continue to meet the eligibility criteria for PreCheck. This includes reviewing your criminal history, immigration status, and any other relevant information.

The TSA may also use biometric technology to verify your identity.

Once your renewal application is submitted, it will typically take a few weeks for the TSA to process and approve your request. You will receive a notification via email or mail informing you of the status of your renewal application.

If approved, you will be issued a new Known Traveler Number (KTN) which you can use when booking flights to enjoy the benefits of PreCheck.

It’s important to note that the renewal process may vary for individuals who have had significant changes in their circumstances, such as a name change or criminal history. In such cases, additional documentation or steps may be required.

It is advisable to consult the official TSA website or contact their customer support for specific guidance in these situations.

For more information on renewing your PreCheck status, you can visit the official TSA website here.


Going through the TSA PreCheck application process means consenting to a thorough background check. This includes fingerprinting, checking criminal history databases, and cross-referencing terrorist watch lists.

While stringent, these security measures allow approved travelers access to expedited screening at airports across the U.S.

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