When buying a plane ticket, you’re asked to fill out a form with some basic information, like your legal name, date of birth, and phone number. You may have also noticed another field in the booking forms that gives you the option of entering a Known Traveler Number (KTN) or a redress number. They are not the same thing.
While you may know that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues KTNs to those who have been approved for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, you may not be as familiar with redress numbers. Here’s what to know about this other type of government-issued number, including who needs one, and how to apply for a redress number.
The difference between a Known Traveler Number and a redress number
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First of all, redress numbers and Known Traveler Numbers aren’t the same thing, so they can’t be used interchangeably. While DHS is the agency that issues both numbers, and the TSA uses them both, KTNs can be issued to any air travelers who meet certain criteria and can pay the fee.
Redress numbers, on the other hand, are specifically for those who repeatedly run into problems with security screenings at transportation hubs like airports or border crossings. While that can happen for a variety of reasons (including profiling and discrimination), in this instance, it’s because the person has a name or other personal information similar to someone on TSA’s watch list.
A person’s redress number is technically a case number that communicates to TSA and airlines that you’ve been through the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP), which confirmed that you are not the similar-sounding person on their watch list.
Who needs a redress number and why?
So, who needs a redress number? According to DHS, people who routinely experience one or more of these situations (as well as a few others) may want to consider applying for one:
- Being unable to print a boarding pass from an airline ticketing kiosk or the internet
- Being delayed or denied boarding an aircraft
- The airline ticket agent informing you that the federal government has not authorized you to travel
- Being repeatedly referred for secondary screening when clearing U.S. Customs, or denied entry into the country
How to apply for a redress number
To apply for a redress number, you must go through DHS’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP). Once you’re on the website, you’ll be asked to answer a few quick questions about why you’re applying for a redress number to ensure that you don’t waste your time going through the process only to find out that you actually need a different program:
Lost/Damaged Items or Personal Injury:
If you have experienced lost/damaged items or personal injury, submit a claim here.
If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination: File a claim with Civil Rights & Liberties.
Medical & Disability Assistance:
Learn what to expect at the checkpoint, and request assistance during screening for travelers with disabilities, medical conditions, and other circumstances here.
If it turns out that you’re in the right place, you’ll need to create a DHS account (if you don’t have one already) before you start the redress application. Once you’re in, DHS will send you a login to a redress file, where you’ll be asked to provide identification documents (like a passport or driver’s license), as well as information on the incident(s) you’re reporting—including the dates, times, and locations.
How to check the status of your redress number application
From there, you can log into the DHS TRIP Portal, then click on “My Cases” to check the status of your application:
- “In Progress” means that it’s been received and under review.
- “Info Needed” means something’s missing from your application. Find out what else they need and submit your response and the additional information by clicking on “My Tasks” on the DHS TRIP Portal home page. You have 30 days to respond before DHS automatically closes your application.
- “Closed” means DHS has reached a decision on your application. You can read and download your determination letter either through the “My Files” or “My Cases” sections of the portal.
If DHS decided to issue you a redress number, it should be contained in that letter. The agency recommends that you use it when making airline reservations.
It’s unclear how long the process takes, but according to DHS, “the length of the review varies based on the concerns raised in the redress application.”
What do you do if you lose your redress number?
If you were issued a redress number at some point, but have since lost it, you can email [email protected] to get that sorted out.