File this one under “I was today years old when I discovered that….”
Back in 2015, the Department of Homeland Security teamed up with H&R Block and allowed the tax filing company to help people with their TSA PreCheck applications. So there was a time when you could get your fingerprinting and document verification done in about 100 H&R Block locations across the country. Unfortunately, the program seemed to have sputtered out in 2017/2018 or so.
Fast forward to 2018 and apparently, a new place became available for your TSA Pre-Check needs: Staples!
Yup, you can go to Staples, buy a ream of paper and a 12-pack of Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencils, a bunch of gift cards earning 5x with your Ink Cash card AND get yourself on the path towards TSA Pre-Check membership. All at the same time.
How did I not know this?
The partnership started in the spring of 2018. That’s when 50 Staples locations began doubling at TSA enrollment centers.
Here’s how to use Staples to your advantage to enroll for TSA Pre-Check, as per Staples:
1. Select your desired state and city using the store locator at the bottom of the page. There are 25 states listed and between 1 and 4 cities per state. The cities chosen don’t always make sense (i.e. in New York, the 3 cities listed are all situated in the borough of Queens, instead of being spread out throughout the state), but I guess it is what it is.
2. Head to the government website to begin enrollment: www.tsaprecheck.online/staples. This page is the same as the TSA’s regular page for Pre-Check enrollment; it’s just marked in the URL that it’s from Staples 😉
TSA’s Direct Page: https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/workflows?servicecode=11115V&service=pre-enroll
With Staples link: https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/workflows?servicecode=11115V&service=pre-enroll&ref=staples
3. On the government site, search for the Staples location’s city and town that you found on the store locator
4. Be sure to look for “located inside Staples” to identify your local store.
The Staples-specific sites are included in the list of places you can go to get your application processed for enrollment. When I did a mock application, I was able to find a reservation in Queens for tomorrow, whereas there were a few days delay for most (but not all) other places.
Once at your appointment, you’ll meet with a TSA-approved enrollment agent who will take your fingerprints and verify your information. Oh, and if you forget to bring your birth certificate as a form of ID, the Staples rep may be able to look it up right there, on-site, via identigo.com. For a price 😉
The cost for processing your TSA Pre-check is still the same $85, although the are plenty of credit cards that pay the application fee as a member benefit. You can also pay for the application fee with points but here’s why we don’t recommend you do that.
Once your application is in, the TSA suggests the approval process takes approximately 2-3 weeks, although many applicants receive their approval in a few days and may check their application status online. TSA will notify members with eligibility results.
My Take On It
Staples started this program with 50 stores offering the program and nearly 2 years later it’s still just 50 stores. We don’t know if that’s because of lack of interest/knowledge of consumers, the government not wanting to expand the program, or, with a new logo, rebranding and multiple store closings in the past couple of years, maybe Staples corporate has other things on its mind, like staying in business. But for those who have a Staples nearby that doubles as a TSA Pre-Check enrollment center, it’s a nice way to have more places to get your application done.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary