The Transportation Security Administration said Thursday it is expanding the hours of its Anchorage PreCheck enrollment office in advance of the summer travel season.
People with PreCheck clearance get to use a security fast lane at 118 airports nationwide, including Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, and pass through a metal detector rather than a body scanner or X-ray.
The first PreCheck lane opened in Anchorage in 2012. At the time, passengers had to complete the enrollment process by visiting a Global Entry center run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Seattle or another city Outside and spend $100 for a five-year Global Entry certificate. PreCheck, run by the TSA, now has its own enrollment centers and costs $85 for five years, according to TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers.
The Anchorage enrollment center is located at the University Center mall on Old Seward Highway. It's now open five days a week during regular business hours, up from two days a week. The agency encourages applicants to make an appointment online at https://universalenroll.dhs.gov, which also lists required documentation. Applicants need proof of identification and citizenship or legal residency status and must submit fingerprints for a background check. The fingerprints will be retained by the FBI.
Global Entry certification, which requires an applicant to hold a U.S. passport, still qualifies a person for PreCheck clearance and additionally allows for faster reentry for U.S. citizens at border checkpoints, Dankers said.
Since PreCheck enrollment began in Anchorage in February, 1,729 individuals have gotten clearance and received a "known traveler number," which they can enter when making airline reservations. Another 1,050 have been certified at eight other locations in Alaska, several run by contractors. Nationwide, more than 250,000 people have enrolled, the TSA said.
Airlines sometimes provide PreCheck for their passengers, Dankers said, but that qualification is usually on a flight-by-flight basis.
Children 12 and under can fly under the PreCheck clearance of their parents or guardians. Senior citizens who usually travel for pleasure account for the largest group of enrollees, with frequent business travelers second, Dankers said.
Reach Richard Mauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4345.
By RICHARD MAUER