|Secure Flight Traveler Pre-Screening
Secure Flight is a behind the scenes program that enhances the security of domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watch list matching. By collecting additional passenger data, it will improve the travel experience for all airline passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.
When passengers travel, they will be required to provide the following Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) to their airline when making a reservation:
The airline will transmit this information to Secure Flight, who uses it to perform watch list matching. This serves to prevent individuals on the No Fly List from boarding an aircraft and to identify individuals on the Selectee List for enhanced screening. After matching passenger information against government watch lists, Secure Flight transmits the matching results back to airlines.
- Name as it appears on government-issued I.D. when traveling
- Date of Birth
- Redress Number (if available)
Airlines must request and collect full name, date of birth, and gender, and Redress Number (if available) as of August 15, 2009 for domestic flights and as of October 31, 2009 for international flights. However, Secure Flight will be phased-in with each airline. Passengers should not be concerned if particular airlines do not ask them to provide the additional information right away; it should not impact their travel.
Effective June 21, 2008, adult passengers (18 and over) are required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID that contains the following: name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature in order to be allowed to go through the checkpoint and onto their flight.
Passengers who do not or cannot present an acceptable ID will have to provide information to the Transportation Security Officer performing Travel Document Checking duties in order to verify their identity. Passengers who are cleared through this process may be subject to additional screening. Passengers whose identity cannot be verified by TSA may not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint or onto an airplane.
Non-US/Canadian citizens are not required to carry their passports if they have documents issued by the U.S. government such as Permanent Resident Cards. Those who do not should be carrying their passports while visiting the U.S.
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS "Trusted Traveler" cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. Military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DOD civilians)
- Permanent Resident Card
- Border Crossing Card
- DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
- Drivers Licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) that meets REAL ID benchmarks (All states are currently in compliance)
- A Native American Tribal Photo ID
- An airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
- A foreign government-issued passport
- Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card
- Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
This standardization of the list of accepted documents better aligns TSA with other DHS components, including Customs and Border Protection, and REAL ID benchmarks
What about Privacy Impact?
TSA takes the security of personal information very seriously. Secure Flight published a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and System of Records Notice (SORN) to provide detailed information about the program's impact to individuals' privacy and information about the program's privacy approach. No personal information will be collected other than what is necessary and relevant for the purposes of watch list matching. The personal data that Secure Flight will be protected by the highest set of security protocol standards established by the federal government.
Additionally, Secure Flight will dispose of personal information as quickly as possible, in accordance with National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Government Record Schedules. More information and a FAQ section can be found at TSA's website which is a comprehensive website that is very informative.
Refer to GSA’s web-site, for more information relating to federal government travel.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
What changes can the traveling public expect? What can passengers traveling on flights to the U.S. from international destinations expect?
On any given day, passengers traveling on flights to the U.S. from international destinations may notice enhanced, random security measures throughout the passenger check-in and boarding process. Aviation security is a shared responsibility and countries around the world are working together to increase the safety of air travel. Passengers traveling on flights to the U.S. from international last point of departure destinations are likely to notice enhanced measures including the increased use of the technology and processes such as explosives trace detection, canine teams, advanced imaging technology, and behavior detection among other measures. For security reasons, the specific details of the directives are not public.
Which countries are affected by the new directives?
The security measures apply to all passengers on international flights flying directly to the U.S. worldwide.
Do passengers need to do anything differently to prepare for checkpoint security procedures? Has anything changed in terms of what passengers can bring in their carry-on or checked bags?
At this time, security checkpoint requirements for passengers departing U.S. airports remain the same. Passengers do not need to do anything differently but they may notice enhanced security measures at international airports.
Should passengers plan to arrive at airports earlier than normal?
Passengers may want to allow additional time to get through security on U.S. bound international flights. These times may vary by airport - check in with your airport or carrier.
How long will the measures remain in place?
These measures are designed to be sustainable. TSA will continuously review these measures to ensure the highest levels of security.
Is the list of 14 countries of concern still in use?
These measures supersede the list of countries of concern put in place as an emergency measure on January 3. The enhanced security measures that are going into effect are tailored to intelligence about potential threats and are focused on all passengers from all countries. They are part of a dynamic, threat based process covering all passengers traveling to the United States while focusing security measures in a more effective and efficient manner to ensure the safety and security of all those traveling by air to the U.S.
How does this change the posture of the current system?
It’s a strengthening of the system. These new, more flexible security protocols are tailored to reflect the most current information available to U.S. authorities and are based on real-time, threat-based intelligence that will now be applied to all passengers traveling to the United States.
What can passengers expect to see at airports?
Passengers traveling to the U.S. from international destinations may notice enhanced security and screening measures throughout the passenger check-in and boarding process which could include explosives trace detection, use of advanced imaging technology, canine teams or pat downs, among other security measures to keep air travel safe.
What is the procedure for emergency or last-minute travel? Procedure for the traveler when making an emergency or last minute reservation should be business as usual, with the understanding that the Secure Flight data is still required.
What action is taken when a traveler’s information is not acceptable?
As is the case today, the traveler must have a valid government ID and if they do not present an acceptable ID their travel will likely be inhibited.
What happens if I'm mistakenly identified as a match to the watch list?
For those who encounter misidentification, Secure Flight will help prevent watch list name confusion by using DHS TRIP, the central processing point for redress inquiries. When applying for redress, travelers are asked to fill out a form, provide additional personal information, and provide various forms of identification (e.g., passport, birth certificate, etc.) to help differentiate the traveler from an individual on the watch list. Requests received online will be routed for redress to the appropriate DHS components. Components will review the request and reach a determination about a traveler's status. Secure Flight will use the results of the redress process in its watch list matching process to help prevent future delays for misidentified travelers.
Are you working with the international community to encourage the use of enhanced screening technology?
The terrorist threat to global aviation is a shared challenge and ensuring aviation security is a shared responsibility. TSA works closely with international partners to share best practices for security checkpoints, air cargo screening, employee security procedures, checked baggage screening, behavior detection and explosive detection technology. A number of nations, including Australia, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom, have followed the U.S. lead to enhance aviation security by accelerating testing and deployment of advanced imaging technologies at their largest airports, and are strengthening behavior detection, explosive detection and information sharing capabilities.
If a passenger does not wish to be screened using advanced imaging technology, do they have options?
This technology is optional to passengers in the U.S. Passengers who opt out of imaging technology screening will go through alternative screening, including same-gender pat downs. Passengers flying to the U.S. from international destinations should check with the country from which they are flying regarding that nation’s policies. For more information on use of advanced imaging technology in the U.S., visit www.tsa.gov.
What if a country does not have the latest technology such as explosives trace detection or advanced imaging technology?
Passengers traveling internationally to the U.S. on last point of departure flights will be screened using other enhanced measures that could include a pat down and bag search among other measures.
Will the majority of passengers still receive enhanced screening?
To more effectively mitigate evolving terrorist threats, the new security directive utilizes multiple, random layers of security, both seen and unseen, and all passengers may be subject to enhanced screening.