What is a Known Traveler Number, and how do you apply for 1?

When you travel, there are a few pieces of information you probably like to keep handy, including your frequent flyer number, your passport number and your trip confirmation number.

However, another number comes into play if you have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry: your Known Traveler Number. It’s an important number that ensures access to the TSA PreCheck lanes.

Here’s what to know about getting a KTN, how to find it and how to ensure it’s attached to your flight reservations.

What is a Known Traveler Number?

A KTN is a nine-digit code each TSA PreCheck and Global Entry member receives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security upon approval for one of those two programs. Members of a couple of other Trusted Traveler programs get a KTN as well.

The code may be a combination of both letters and numbers. It’s your identification number that proves you’re a member of one of these programs and shows that you are eligible to use the TSA PreCheck lanes at U.S. airports.

Travelers with a KTN have gone through an application and screening process, and they are known and recognized as travelers by the U.S. government.

Passengers proceed through the TSA security checkpoint at Denver International Airport (DEN) in August 2019. ROBERT ALEXANDER/GETTY IMAGES

Should you apply for a Known Traveler Number?

Getting a KTN is helpful for air travel because if you have one, it means you’re a member of a program that gets you shorter wait times.

A KTN is your key to access the TSA PreCheck lanes. These lanes typically have shorter lines and allow members to undergo a less intrusive screening process than the standard lanes. About 99% of TSA PreCheck customers wait 10 minutes or less at security, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

There are several ways to get a KTN through different Trusted Traveler programs run by the DHS. Each program requires travelers to submit an application and go through an interview process. Those interviews generally occur in person at enrollment centers for first-time applicants, with many enrollment centers located at airports. The government is allowing virtual interviews for certain applicants, often those seeking to renew their membership.

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Each program that provides travelers with a KTN has a fee, and memberships in all programs are valid for five years. Many credit cards also offer application fee credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

TSA PreCheck entrance inside Terminal 1 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

TSA PreCheck

If you’ve applied for TSA PreCheck, gone through the screening process and received confirmation of your approval into the program, you’ll receive a KTN from the government.

TSA PreCheck offers a fast-tracked security experience for its members. When going through the TSA PreCheck lanes, you generally won’t have to remove your shoes, take laptops or liquids out of your bag, or go through the full-body scanner.

The application fee is $78 for first-time applicants.

Related: Denied for Global Entry or PreCheck? Here’s how to appeal

Global Entry

If you’ve received your TSA PreCheck membership by applying for Global Entry, you’ll receive your KTN through your Global Entry membership.

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows travelers designated as low-risk by the U.S. government to use faster customs lines when returning to the U.S. from abroad. Members also get access to TSA PreCheck.

The fee for an application to this program is $100.

If you’re planning to travel internationally and within the U.S. multiple times in the next five years, Global Entry is probably your best bet since it gets you expedited screening both at customs and at TSA checkpoints for only $22 more than a standard TSA PreCheck membership.

Related: 13 things you need to know about Global Entry

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 also provide members with TSA PreCheck access and, thus, a KTN.

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.

Global Entry can save you time and energy when you’re flying back into the U.S. from abroad. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

How do you add a Known Traveler Number to your travel bookings?

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: You have to attach your number to your airline profile.

If you’re just looking to attach your number to a single reservation, you can typically do this when filling out your personal information at checkout when booking a flight. However, we recommend always flying with a frequent flyer account to earn miles.

If you have a frequent flyer account, you can attach your KTN right to the personal information section of your airline profile. Once you do this, your KTN should be automatically added to each booking you make with that airline, as you include your frequent flyer number on the reservation. You typically can add your KTN to an existing reservation, too.

What to do if you forgot to add a KTN to your flight

If you already booked a flight and forgot to add your Known Traveler Number to your reservation, don’t fret. You should be able to easily pull up your reservation and add your KTN.

Go to the airline’s website or mobile app. Pull up your reservation using the confirmation number (or record locator) the airline gave you when you booked your trip. Then, go to the traveler information section. There should be a line that says “Known Traveler Number,” “KTN” or “Secure Traveler Information.” That’s where you put your KTN.

If you’ve already checked in for your flight and downloaded your boarding pass, you may need to re-download the boarding pass to see “TSA PreCheck” appear.

Related: What to do if a boarding pass isn’t marked TSA PreCheck

Where can you find your Known Traveler Number?

The time when you’ll most likely need your KTN handy is when booking a flight or updating your airline profile. This goes for new members of TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, SENTRI or Nexus, as well as existing members who might be flying with an airline for the first time since joining one of those programs.

With all the numbers, passwords and accounts we have to keep track of in our lives, it’s easy to lose your KTN … and most of us probably don’t know our number by heart. Fortunately, there are a few ways to locate it.

If you’re a standard TSA PreCheck member looking to track down your number, you can use this page from the DHS to put in your personal information and look up your number.


If you received your KTN through the Global Entry program, you have a couple of options. If you have your physical Global Entry card, check the backside. Your nine-digit “PASSID” is your KTN; it may start with “15,” “98” or “99.”

The location of a Known Traveler Number on a Global Entry card is circled in blue. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Another way to locate your Known Traveler Number is to log in to your Global Entry or other Trusted Traveler Program account. There, you should be able to see which program you’re enrolled in, as well as your membership number/PASSID, which, again, is your KTN. You should also be able to see when your membership expires.


An additional option for tracking down your number is to check your frequent flyer account for an airline you’ve recently flown with. If your membership in one of the Trusted Traveler programs is active and you’ve used TSA PreCheck before, odds are your KTN is on file with one or more airlines you regularly fly.

For this option, you’ll need to go to your airline profile. If your KTN is in your profile, you should see it listed under your personal information.


Bottom line

A Known Traveler Number is a code that gets you into the TSA PreCheck lane. It’s how the airline and government recognize a trusted traveler who is a member of TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or other similar programs.

Keep your number handy and add it to your airline profile. If you’re not a member, consider enrolling in one of these programs that gives you a KTN and makes your trip through the airport less of a hassle.

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