Teenagers No Longer Need To Enroll To Use PreCheck When Traveling With A Parent

One of the first things I did as a traveling dad was enroll my daughter in Global Entry. We arrived in Austin off her first international trip at three months old and processed her interview. (It was during a government shutdown and couldn’t make an appointment otherwise.)

As a result, her boarding passes always show PreCheck on them. But they don’t need to: The policy has been,

Family members ages 12 and under traveling with an eligible parent or guardian with a TSA PreCheck® indicator on their boarding pass can join them in the TSA PreCheck® lanes without applying.

Children needed their own PreCheck qualifications starting at 13. No longer. Children can use PreCheck lanes with adult parents through age 17. TSA does note, however, that children 13-17 can be “randomly excluded” from PreCheck and sent through regular screening – and that children under 18 traveling alone would not be able to go through PreCheck unless they’ve signed up themselves, since they aren’t accompanied by a PreCheck-eligible parent.

No matter how young, children still need their own approved Global Entry application in order to use Global Entry machines and lanes when going through U.S. immigration. But they don’t need it for airport security. And the TSA has increased the age from 13 to 18 for when that changes.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Clear – probably not!

    Don’t know what GE charges but Nexus is free for under 18!

  2. Another interesting question is on the other side of the age category. My mother lives in my house, age 93, and has gotten PreCheck on every trip she has taken with me on the same reservation without paying for it. I do have Global Entry.

  3. Lovely. More people who don’t know how to use pre-check using pre-check.

  4. FWIW used the face recognition Global Entry machines last night for the first time on arrival into TBIT LAX from LHR and what a fast and efficient process! Five minutes from aircraft to kerb (no check in bags). Nicely done. A very very positive step in the US aviation travel experience.

    OT but more good news travel asides – BA’s new first suites with the doors and enlarged screens are very nice too. Excellent crew and catering.

  5. Clear allows children up through age 17 to use the Clear lane with their enrolled parents.

  6. @Gary – I’m really curious what the rationale for this policy change is (not that I’m complaining). It’s not mentioned in the source link, but maybe DHS/TSA would respond to an inquiry from a national media figure such as yourself. 🙂

    Do they have any actual data to back up the idea that terrorists never fly with their parents so only blow up planes if flying solo? The whole setup is just a bit weird and I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around the risk calculation here.

  7. Everybody should be treated equally and these ‘security memberships’ are nothing more than a scheme for the government to collect extra ‘tax’ money from you. Not only that, you give them the permission to run a background check and they want to know who you really are. I was refused Global Entry and with a clean background with no criminal history, go figure out why. I would have to hire a lawyer to find out why but I don’t care.

  8. I had to go to the Global Entry interview with my under-18 child. Talked to the embassy official, who was an acquaintance, and he admitted that the background check on my child was basically empty. So there’s basically no additional information that they get from requiring Global Entry for the children- just an additional $100…

    Of course, since my child didn’t have Global Entry, we couldn’t use the kiosks at LAX. But we did download Mobile Passport, and it was just about as fast- huge improvement over the regular system…

  9. @Tony_N you start by telling everyone to not waste their money. Then you say you wasted your money and was denied enrollment. Seems like there’s more to some part of the story here. and, FWIW, if you don’t think the government doesn’t know more about you than you know about yourself I have a free Pre-Check membership for you. 🙂

  10. I am really confused about this. My kids just turned 18 this Spring and did not get TSA Pre under me when we flew in April – I assumed they would not. However, up until this past trip they had ALWAYS gotten TSA Pre under me. I just signed them up for TSA Pre for our trip in June, but we have been using the service through age 17 without their own membership.

  11. My son is 17 and has always gotten pre-check as long as he was on the same itinerary as me.

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