What do the Transportation Security Administration and H&R Block have in common? Not a lot until now.
In what has to be a most unusual “partnership,” the TSA announced this week that it is expanding the number of TSA Pre-Check enrollment centers and that they’ll be headquartered at the offices of H&R Block — “the world’s largest tax services provider.”
MorphoTrust through its IdentoGO Centers already helps screen and enroll travelers in TSA’s Pre-Check program. Now the company will offer that service at selected H&R Block offices in 27 states, including the District and Maryland. The partnership will add more than 60 locations to the more than 330 where travelers can apply for the Pre-Check program.
“H&R Block serves more than 14 million consumers in our 10,000 company and franchise locations nationwide,” said Kip Knight, president U.S. retail operations for H&R Block in a news release announcing the venture. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to offer new services to our existing customers while simultaneously expanding the company’s reach.”
TSA’s Pre-Check program began at a small number of airports in 2013. Currently, there are more than 330 TSA Pre-Check enrollment centers across the country, including one each at Reagan National and Dulles International airports. A Pre-Check center on Duke Street, in Alexandria, Va., is one of the nation’s busiest centers. (Note: Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport currently, doesn’t have a Pre-Check enrollment center on site, but there is one close by in Linthicum)
TSA officials said that more than 1.5 million travelers flying on at least a dozen airlines have enrolled in the program that allows travelers to bypass traditional airport screening at more than 150 participating airports in exchange for undergoing a background check and paying an $85 fee, which is good for five years. Once travelers are approved for the program, they’re given a Known Traveler Number.