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TSA PreCheck for Military Spouses: Tips for Joining Your Partner


December 28, 2022

Going through airport security can be a hassle. TSA PreCheck® allows you to bypass some of the headaches and keep your shoes on. 93 percent of TSA PreCheck travelers get through security in less than 5 minutes.

Who wouldn’t love that?

Military service members automatically qualify for the precheck line! You can access this expedited screening service by entering your Department of Defense identification number as your “known traveler number” when making your airline reservation. That will get you all the benefits of TSA Precheck® for free.1 (Most civilians must pay $85 to apply for TSA Precheck®.)2

Do Military Spouses Get TSA PreCheck for Free?

Unfortunately, military spouses do not qualify for free TSA PreCheck®. Service members access the free precheck with their DOD identification number, which military spouses don’t have. If you’re a military member traveling with your spouse, that means you can’t just take them through the TSA PreCheck® line with you.

Do Military Dependents Get TSA PreCheck for Free?

Children under 12 can go through the TSA PreCheck® line when they are traveling with a parent who qualifies for the line.3 (Children under 12 already have expedited screening of a sort. Even when they go through the regular line, they don’t have to remove shoes, for example.)

Do Veterans Get Free TSA PreChecks?

Veterans also do not generally qualify for free TSA PreCheck® expedited screening. But Wounded Warriors can go through a verification process to receive expedited screening.4

Tips for Getting Through TSA with Your Military Spouse

If you want to join your spouse in the precheck line, there are a few options to help you get there.

Pay for TSA PreCheckⓇ

It costs $85 to apply, but once approved, you’re good for five years. (Assuming you don’t commit any crimes during that time – that will disqualify you!) Renewals are $70.

Credit Card Rewards

TSA provides a list of credit cards and loyalty programs that provide reimbursement for the application fee, though it doesn’t guarantee the list is up to date. If you don’t see your card on the list, it doesn’t hurt to ask. You will still have to go through the TSA approval process.

Work for the Department of Defense

Civilian employees of the Department of Defense also qualify for TSA PreCheckⓇ, but must go through an opt-in process.

Remember, the Transportation Security Administration doesn’t technically guarantee expedited screening even for people who have TSA PreCheckⓇ. But because having a TSA PreCheckⓇ can significantly speed up your time passing through airport security, it may well be worth the investment, especially for frequent travelers.


  1. Military OneSource Expedite Airline Boarding with TSA PreCheck
  2.  TSA: How do I apply for TSA PreCheck
  3. TSA: Do children need to apply? 
  4. TSA: Military Travel