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Changing your name is not fun, because there are so many places where you have to update it. Last year, I went through the TSA Pre-Check name change process, and this was the longest step to my name change. It is best to start this process as soon as you know that you will be changing your name, because the TSA Pre-Check name change process will take months to process. It even takes months before they request your documentation!
The TSA website states the following:
If you are a member of the TSA Pre✓® Application Program, you may call (855) 347-8371weekdays, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, to make changes to your name, address, or other information contained in your records. You may also submit your inquiry online. You will be provided information regarding documentation needed to process the change.
If you are a member of Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI, please submit an email or visit the Trusted Traveler Program website.
To get my TSA Pre-Check name updated, I started with submitting an inquiry online. I forgot about my inquiry for a while, and after a few weeks I went ahead and called the TSA program number to get my name change rolling.
To prepare for the call, in addition to my name, I also had my Known Traveler Number ready for reference. If you don’t know what your Known Traveler Number is, you can look it up online.
While on the phone, I told the support person that I was interested in updating my TSA Pre-Check name after getting married. She wrote down my information, and told me that in a few weeks, I would receive an email asking for evidence of my name change. After your documentation evidence is submitted, it takes a few weeks for your name change to go into effect.
How long does a TSA Pre-Check name change take?
It took many months for my TSA Pre-Check name change to go into effect. Looking at my email records, I first contacted TSA through their online form on 1/21/2018. On 4/25/18, I finally received an email from TSA Enrollment Services asking for documentation to process my request. It took at least two months after that for my Known Traveler Number to be properly connected to my new name.
What documentation do you need for a TSA Pre-Check name change?
Depending on the reason for your name change, you may be required to provide different documentation. While on the phone with TSA Enrollment Services, I had said I was changing my name due to marriage. When I received my email to update my name, TSA required an updated government issued photo ID, along with my marriage certificate. This means that your government ID, such as your driver’s license or passport, should already be updated with your new name.
I emailed my new driver’s license, marriage certificate, and name change court papers, as I did not take my husband’s exact last name and I did not want any confusion. I did not receive a confirmation email after this point; all I could do was wait.
When do you know that your name change was updated?
My TSA Pre-Check name change was processed months after I emailed in my name change documentation. Since I did not know how long the name change process would take, I purchased my airline tickets under my maiden name and used my passport when traveling for work.
I was never notified that my name change was updated. About a month after sending in my name change documentation, I realized that my Known Traveler Number was no longer working with my maiden name. I started booking airline tickets with my new name, and my TSA Pre-Check was being recognized again! This was when I knew my name change had been successful.
Did you have any issues when changing your TSA Pre-Check name?
Other than the time it took to change my name, the biggest issue you will want to keep in mind while going through the TSA Pre-Check name change process is the name you are using while traveling. Your Known Traveler Number is connected to your name. When you purchase an airline ticket, if you use a new name but your old Known Traveler Number, then the system will not recognize your TSA Pre-Check status. In this case, you will have to go through the airport’s regular security line.
To get around this, even though I had updated my driver’s license to my new name, I temporarily left my passport in my old name. When buying airline tickets for work, I had our travel website set up to purchase tickets in my old name, the name that was currently connected to my Known Traveler Number. This way, I could use my passport while traveling, and still get my TSA Pre-Check benefits.
Even though the process was painful, I still believe that TSA Pre-Check is worth it. There are a few weeks that I traveled for work during my name change process where my Known Traveler Number was not connected to my name properly, and I did have to go through the regular airport security line. However, now that I have my name change sorted out, I am glad to be done with the process.