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Redress Number: What Is It and Do I Need to Apply for One?

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Spencer Howard
Spencer Howard's image

Spencer Howard

Former Content Contributor

51 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 21U.S. States Visited:

Always a fan of flying, Spencer wanted to find ways to upgrade his travel experience. Over the years, Spencer has been a guest speaker on multiple YouTube shows as well as podcasts on maximizing point...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

36 Published Articles 3282 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are both very popular programs that can help you breeze through airport security checkpoints. You might have even heard of Mobile Passport or CLEAR — but have you heard of a Redress Number?

While a Redress Number won’t be necessary for the vast majority of travelers, it can be necessary to remove some of the stress of airport security for a select few.

Let’s take a look at all the things you need to know about the program so you can decide if it would be useful to you.

What Is a Redress Number?

A Redress Control Number, more commonly known as a Redress Number, is actually a case number. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) matches travelers to their case number via the Secure Flight program.

Occasionally, TSA’s Secure Flight program will misidentify travelers as a possible risk, which leads to additional security checks. If your name and information match that of another person who is on a watchlist, you might be misidentified.

A Redress Number can help prevent this from happening.

When Should You Get a Redress Number?

If you regularly have trouble getting through TSA security checkpoints or returning to the U.S. through Customs and Border Protection checkpoints, you should consider applying for a Redress Number.

While Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are great tools for travelers, they won’t prevent these inconveniences if your name is identified by Secure Flight for secondary screening measures.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggests a number of reasons why you should use the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP):

Redress Number Reasons Part 1
If you face any of these scenarios, you might consider applying for a Redress Number through the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP). Image Credit: USCBP

The scenarios you might face when flying include:

  • Denied or delayed boarding
  • Repeatedly being identified for secondary screening
  • Received SSSS on your boarding pass
  • Unable to print your boarding pass at home or at an airport kiosk
  • Access your boarding pass on your mobile device
Redress Number Reasons Part 2
There are several other scenarios that could warrant getting a Redress Number as well. Image Credit: USCBP

Additionally, at ports of entry, immigration, customs, or border patrol, you might run into issues such as:

  • Additional screening when clearing Customs and Border Protection
  • Denied entry into the United States
  • Your Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application was denied
  • Unable to travel due to your status as a foreign student or exchange visitor

Fortunately, most travelers will not face these issues regularly, if at all. However, for those that do, a Redress Number could help provide a smoother travel experience.

Applying for a Redress Number

If you’ve decided that you might need a Redress Number, you can apply online or with a paper application.

Submitting an online application will be processed faster than an emailed or mailed application. If you plan to email or mail it, you must sign the document first. You can email the applications to TRIP@dhs.gov or mail it to:

DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP)
6595 Springfield Center Drive, TSA-910 
Springfield, VA 20598-6901 

It can take more than a month for DHS TRIP to process your application, so don’t hesitate to apply. DHS TRIP will notify you via email once they have received your application. This email will include your Redress Number in the subject line. Once a decision has been made, you will receive a letter in the mail.

Now, let’s go through the steps to apply. We’ll be using the paper application in this example, but you will need to provide the same information for the online application.

Step 1: Your Travel Experience

Redress Application Step 1
The DHS TRIP application asks for details of an incident to help process your request, but they are not required to submit your application. Image Credit: USCBP

The first step of the application is to select the scenarios that you have experienced during your travels. While you don’t have to provide specific flight details of the incident(s) (including dates, airport, airline, and flight number), it does help DHS TRIP process your request.

You are required to select each scenario that you have experienced.

Redress Application Step 2
Step 2 is only necessary for those who felt their privacy was violated. Image Credit: USCBP

If you felt that your privacy was violated by an official or agent who exposed or inappropriately shared your personal information, this is the section to note that. If this is the case, you won’t need to provide more than your name.

Step 3: Incident Details

Redress Application Step 3
Step 3 is where you provide the details of the incidents. Image Credit: USCBP

In Step 3, you’ll need to explain any of the flight or privacy incidents for which you checked a box in Step 1 and Step 2. This section is required for DHS to review your application for a Redress Number.

Step 4: Personal Information

Redress Application Step 4
Step 4: Personal Information. Image Credit: USCBP

Step 4 is where you will provide all of your personal information including full name, birthdate, birthplace, and gender. You’ll also need to share your height, weight, hair color, eye color, and whether you’re a U.S. person (legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen).

Step 5: Contact Information

Redress Application Step 5
Step 5: Contact Information. Image Credit: USCBP

The contact information you need to provide is pretty simple. Just provide your mailing address and physical address (if different). You can also provide your email address, but this is optional. Providing your email address will make communication quicker if you choose to mail the application.

Step 6: Attorney/Representative Information (Required if Applicable)

Redress Application Step 6
Step 6: Attorney or Representative Information. Image Credit: USCBP

If you have an attorney or representative helping you with the DHS TRIP application, you can provide their name and contact information in Step 6. You will also need to authorize the release of information to this person. You can do this by completing the DHS Form 590 Authorization To Release Information To Another Person.

Step 7: Identity Documentation

Redress Application Step 7
Step 7: Identity Documentation. Image Credit: USCBP

If you have a passport (unexpired), you can provide a copy of it in Step 7. Other eligible documents (with a photo) for the application include:

  • Passport card
  • Driver’s license
  • Birth certificate (only for those under the age of 18)
  • Military ID card
  • Government ID card
  • Certificate of citizenship
  • Naturalization certificate
  • Immigrant/non-immigrant visa
  • Alien registration
  • SENTRI
  • NEXUS
  • FAST
  • Global Entry
  • Border crossing card
  • Additional supplemental documents

DHS TRIP specifically mentions that you should NOT provide copies of Social Security cards, tax information, or personal financial documents.

Step 8: Acknowledgement

Redress Application Step 8
Step 8: Acknowledgement. Image Credit: USCBP

If emailing or mailing your application, you will need to sign and date the application before sending; otherwise, your application cannot be processed.

Using Your Redress Number

Similar to how you use your Known Traveler Number for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you can save your Redress Number to your frequent flyer accounts or add it to your individual bookings

Unlike Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, using your Redress Number does not guarantee that you’ll be able to enjoy expedited security. However, you’ll at least be more likely to avoid getting SSSS on your boarding pass and being required to go through secondary screening.

Final Thoughts

Airport security is a hassle for everyone, but getting pulled for additional screening almost every time you travel can be a real inconvenience. While Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are fantastic tools to make the experience quicker, they won’t be able to help you if you repeatedly get the dreaded SSSS or are denied boarding.

If you regularly experience problems like those discussed above, applying for a Redress Number might be the right move for you. It doesn’t guarantee a quick security experience, but it certainly increases your chances.


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Redress Number Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between a Redress Number and a Known Traveler Number?

A Redress Number can help prevent you from being misidentified by the TSA’s Secure Flight program (which can lead to secondary screening, delayed boarding, or even denied boarding). A Known Traveler Number (KTN) is your membership number (or PASSID) with a Trusted Program such as Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, or TSA PreCheck.

Is a Redress Number the same as a TSA number?

No, a Redress Number is different from a Known Traveler number (or KTN). A KTN is received from programs such as TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. A Redress Number is given by the Department of Homeland Security.  

Where do I find my Redress Number?

If you’re not sure if you’ve been given a Redress Number in the past or you’ve lost it, contact DHS TRIP directly at TRIP@tsa.dhs.gov. They can verify your identity and give you your Redress Number.

Do I need a Redress Number?

A Redress Number is not required to make reservations or to travel. It might be useful if you find yourself repeatedly selected for secondary screening or have been misidentified in the past.

Spencer Howard's image

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience.

Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class!

Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal). He runs Straight to the Points, an award-seat alert platform.

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