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TSA offers precheck enrollment at Medford airport

Removal of belts, shoes and jackets in airport security check lines would become a thing of the past for airport passengers who take advantage of a Transportation Safety Administration precheck program at the Medford airport over the next two weeks.

The program is designed to expedite the screening process.

Enrolling locally eliminates the need to drive to a TSA center elsewhere in Oregon to process an application. The nearest permanent center is in Roseburg. Medford’s airport began offering the service twice per year in 2016, and it held a one-week session in May.

“I know the goal for us, if they are here a week, is to try to get at least 350 people signed up in a week. We pretty much overachieve,” said Debbie Smith, airport public information officer. “That’s why we did it for two weeks. The last time (the representative) was here he was just slammed all week long.”

Hours for enrollment are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. this week through Friday, and Sept. 30 through Oct. 4. Enrollment will take place in the Oval Office on the second floor of the terminal building.

Applicants are encouraged to enroll online first by going to www.identoGO.com/TSAprecheck and choosing “pre-enroll” and “apply now.” Walk-ins are welcome but wait times vary depending upon scheduled appointments.

Applicants will need to bring a U.S. citizenship document such as a U.S. passport or a birth certificate and a driver’s license. A valid U.S. passport is recommended, because it serves as both proof of identity and U.S. citizenship.

The application process is completed on site and includes fingerprinting for a background check, taking a photograph and payment of the $85 fee, which covers five years of service. Payment can be made by credit card, money order or a company, certified or cashier’s check. Cash and personal checks are not accepted.

Once approved, individuals will receive a Known Traveler Number making them eligible for TSA precheck screening at airports nationwide. Children 12 and younger are permitted to use the precheck lane when traveling with an eligible parent or guardian.

In addition to not having to remove clothing accessories during a security check, passengers with precheck can also leave liquids in approved-size containers and carry laptop computers in their carry-ons that go through screening rather than removing them.

To date, more than 7.9 million people have enrolled in TSA precheck nationwide. About 65 airlines participate in the program. Medford’s airport has two TSA screening lanes but plans are in place to add a third lane, likely next year.

Some credit card reward programs and travel loyalty programs offer reimbursement of part or all of the $85 fee, including Chase, Capital One, American Express and Bank of America. A detailed list can be found at tsa.gov/precheck/credit-cards-offer.

Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

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