You Can Use This Code to Avoid Extra Airport Security Screenings

For travelers who feel they've been incorrectly added to security watch lists, the redress number can remove obstacles to travel.

There’s nothing more stressful for travelers than problems at airport security or border control. Thankfully, for most of us, hassles with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are rare. But if you find that you often face extra TSA security screenings, get stopped at security regularly, or encounter more serious issues like being denied boarding your plane, you may need to apply for a redress number from the federal government.

What is a redress number?

A redress number is only issued to travelers who are part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program. The code is used by travelers to help ease recurring airport security issues, often for someone who has been incorrectly added to a security watch or been denied boarding for inaccurate reasons. The redress number alerts the TSA to these unfortunate and inconvenient situations.

Is this the same as a Known Traveler Number?

TSA Demonstrates New Imaging Technology At Reagan National AirportChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

No, the Known Travel Number is associated with Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. You’ll find entries for both the Known Traveler Number and the redress number in the same places during online check-in, but they are used for very different purposes.

How do you get a redress number?

You can apply at the Department of Homeland Security’s Travel Redress Inquiry Program. The website also has a quiz to help determine whether or not you need one—most travelers do not need a redress number to travel. You need to take the quiz before you can apply.

Who should apply for a redress number?

According to the Travel Redress Inquiry Program, you may be eligible due to the following reasons:

  • Repeatedly referred for secondary screening when clearing U.S. Customs, or you have been denied entry into the United States
  • Unable to print a boarding pass from an airline ticketing kiosk or from the Internet
  • You have been delayed or denied boarding an aircraft, or an airline ticket agent informed you that the Federal Government would not authorize you to travel
  • The CBP at a U.S. port of entry told you that your fingerprints need to be corrected
  • You believe your personal information was inappropriately exposed or shared by a government agent

Jason Wilson
Jason Wilson is a Senior Writer at Reader’s Digest. He has covered travel, culture, food, and drinks for more than two decades, and is the author of three books on wine and spirits, including Godforsaken Grapes and Boozehound. He’s written for the Washington Post, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Travel + Leisure, and many other publications. He’s had a pizza, a breakfast sandwich, and a dessert named after him in three different countries.