What’s a Known Traveler Number?
Published by FareCompare on January 4, 2023
Have you ever heard of a Known Traveler Number? Along with the many other pieces of information you need to keep track of while traveling – such as your passport details, airline reservation code, and frequent flyer number – a Known Traveler Number is a key part of the equation for some travelers.
If you have membership with the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry programs, you have a Known Traveler Number (KTN). This essential number ensures and guarantees you access to the expedited screening and arrival procedures at airports across the United States.
Read more to know what a Known Traveler Number is, how to get one, and how to connect it to your flight plans.
What's a Known Traveler Number?
The Known Traveler Number is a nine-digit code (which may be a combination of letters and numbers) each TSA PreCheck and Global Entry member receives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) upon approval for one of the programs. Travelers with a KTN have passed an application and screening process and are known and recognized as travelers by the U.S. government.
The KTN serves as an identification number that proves a traveler is a member TSA PreCheck and/or Global Entry and shows that they're eligible to use the TSA PreCheck lanes at U.S. airports.
How do I apply for a Known Traveler Number?
Having a Known Traveler Number is extremely helpful when traveling. It serves as an access key to the TSA PreCheck lanes, which typically have shorter wait times. Additionally, members undergo a less intrusive screening process compared to the standard TSA security lanes.
There are several ways to obtain a Known Traveler Number through different Trusted Traveler programs run by the DHS. Each program requires travelers to submit an application and go through an interview process, which generally occurs in person at enrollment centers for first-time applicants. Many enrollment centers are located within airports across the United States. The government does allow virtual interviews for certain applicants, such as those who only need to renew their membership.
Membership in each program lasts five years and comes with a fee. Several credit cards offer application fee credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
1. TSA PreCheck
If you’ve applied for TSA PreCheck, gone through the screening process, and received confirmation of your approval, you’ll receive a Known Traveler Number from the U.S. government.
TSA PreCheck offers a fast-tracked security experience for members. PreCheck lanes generally don't require you to remove shoes, take out laptops or liquids from your bag, or pass through the full-body scanner. The application fee for TSA PreCheck is $85.
2. Global Entry
If you confirmed TSA PreCheck membership by applying for Global Entry, you’ll receive your Known Traveler Number through your Global Entry membership.
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows travelers designated by the U.S. government as low-risk to use faster customs lines when returning to the U.S. from abroad. A bonus? Members also receive access to TSA PreCheck. The fee for an application to this program is $100.
Another bonus? Global Entry gives you access to expedited screening both at customs and at TSA checkpoints for only $15 more than a standard TSA PreCheck membership.
3. NEXUS and SENTRI
The DHS has two other Trusted Traveler programs for travelers entering the U.S. from Canada and/or Mexico. NEXUS and SENTRI provide members with TSA PreCheck access, and therefore a Known Traveler Number.
NEXUS allows pre-screened travelers to use expedited processing when entering the U.S. from Canada by air or land. The fee for this program’s application is $50. SENTRI allows pre-screened travelers expedited entry into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico by air, land, or sea. The application fee for this program is $122.25.
Adding a Known Traveler Number to an airline ticket
Once approved for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI, you’ll have to follow one additional step to ensure "TSA PreCheck" is printed on your boarding pass. Before moving forward, you have to connect your Known Traveler Number to your airline profile.
If you’re just looking to attach your KTN to a single reservation, you can typically do this while filling out your personal information when booking a flight. However, if you have a frequent flier account or membership, you can attach your Known Traveler Number to the personal information section of your airline profile.
Your KTN should then be automatically added to each reservation you make with that airline.
How do I find my Known Traveler Number?
You’ll need your Known Traveler Number handy when booking a flight or updating your airline profile.
This applies for new members of TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS, or existing members who might be flying with an airline for the first time since joining one of the aforementioned programs.
If you’re a standard, TSA PreCheck member looking to track down your number, you can use the DHS page to enter your personal information and look up your number.
If you received the number through Global Entry, you have a couple of options. If you have your physical Global Entry card with you, check the back of it. Your nine-digit "PASSID" is your Known Traveler Number.
You can also log in to your Global Entry or other Trusted Traveler Program account to see which program you're enrolled in as well as your PASSID which. Remember, your PASSID = your KTN.