What Is a Redress Number for Travel?

If you travel frequently, you may have heard about redress numbers. You don’t need to apply for one to travel, but it may be necessary if you’re someone who tends to be stopped for “security issues” or gets denied entry for seemingly no reason.

Having a redress number may help you get around these issues, which often lead to delayed airline boarding or canceled trips in general.

If you’re familiar with trusted traveler programs, you will have an easier time understanding how this works.

What is a redress number? On this page, I’ll tell you how it affects travelers and whether you need one.

What’s a Redress Number?

Redress numbers are an identifier. They’re used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Secure Flight Program, and they match you with the results of your redress case.

Let’s add some context. When you travel to, from, and within the United States, you’re screened through the TSA-SFP. It’s meant to provide extra security to travelers and the country, and for the most part, it works seamlessly.

Unfortunately, the Secure Flight program could accidentally misidentify you, classifying you as a “high-risk traveler” for no reason.

How would the SF program misidentify you? In many cases, it’s simply a matter of having the same name as someone on the Transportation Security Administration’s watchlist.

When you get a redress number, however, the Secure Flight program can simplify the matching process, preventing you from getting misidentified again.

Redress numbers are issued by the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP).

What’s the Difference Between Redress Numbers and Known Traveler Numbers/Global Entry?

Keep in mind that a redress number isn’t the same as a Known Traveler Number. The latter identifies your membership in different Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.

You won’t find your TSA redress number on a Global Entry card, for example. Instead, you’ll get your assigned number in the DHS TRIP portal.

Essentially, a redress number will make your traveling experience more comfortable and seamless if you’ve had issues in the past.

I know how overwhelming being constantly stopped for no reason feels, so in these cases, having a redress number might make things smoother.

A KTN, on the other hand, allows you to expedite the screening process. When you get one, you can access pre-approved security lines and screening processes, ensuring you don’t have to wait too long when traveling.

Unless you’re an active member of the U.S. military, you must pay to get your KTN. People can apply through the TSA PreCheck website.

At the time of writing, the fee to apply is $78. Keep in mind that the fee is non-refundable, even if the request gets denied. Also, not all airlines participate in the program.

Global Entry, on the other hand, takes everything one step further. Applying for the program gives you TSA PreCheck benefits, as well as faster U.S. customs screening for international travelers.

As you may have guessed, the process to apply to Global Entry is slightly more complicated, and you may even have to undergo an interview to get approved. The fee is $100 for five years.

Redress Number
Heres a sample on American Airlines where they ask for my redress number. I use my TSA number and that suffices.

Do You Need a Redress Control Number?

Not necessarily. Most travelers won’t need one, actually.

According to the TSA, you should only apply for a redress number if you’ve had certain issues related to your trips, such as:

  • Not being able to print a boarding pass
  • Denied boarding
  • Delayed entry
  • Problems during entry or border crossing from the U.S.
  • Additional screening when passing through different transportation hubs

You may get issued a redress number if you constantly have to go through any of these problems. While a redress number will help you with watchlist mismatches, it won’t resolve any matters related to:

  • Discrimination
  • Lost items
  • Security screening
  • Customer service problems

Another important thing to note is that having a redress number doesn’t guarantee you won’t ever go through extra airport security again. It only makes the process less likely to happen if you’ve been mismatched in the past.

How Can You Apply for a Redress Control Number?

You can start the application process online through the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program. First, you’ll take a quiz to determine whether TRIP is right for you. Remember, you should only start this process if you believe you’re being wrongfully screened/stopped every time you travel.

Once you’re done answering the quiz, you’ll have to upload certain documents to prove your identity. If you’re a U.S. citizen, you may have to submit a copy of an unexpired U.S. passport’s biographical page. Those without a valid passport could also submit a copy of their government-issued ID.

What if you’re not a U.S. citizen? The process is similar. You must upload a copy of your unexpired passport’s biographical page. If not, you could submit a value identification document from the U.S.

Some common documents include:

  • Passport/passport card
  • Birth certificate (if you’re under 18)
  • Driver’s license
  • Government/military identification card
  • Certificate of citizenship
  • Immigrant/non-immigrant visa
  • Naturalization certificate
  • Alien registration
  • Petition/claim receipt
  • Border crossing card
  • I-94 admission form

When you submit everything, the DHS will review your application. Finally, you’ll get a letter that outlines whether your request was approved. If the application gets denied, and you believe the decision was incorrect, you can follow the instructions outlined in the letter for more information.

How to Use Your Redress Number

The best way to make use of your redress control number is to attach it to your travel bookings. There are three main methods to do it.

Here’s the first redress number example. Let’s say you’re booking a flight on your favorite page. When you’re filling out the form, you’ll see a “Redress Number” box. If not, it may be hidden behind a drop-down menu or something similar. The location varies depending on the company.

However, the second option would be to add the redress number to your frequent flyer accounts. As with the previous method, the process varies depending on the company. Most of the time, however, you’ll find an option to include a redress number in the “Personal Information” section of your profile.

If none of these options work, you can try giving your redress number to an agent. Sometimes, you may not be able to submit the number until the check-in part. This is common when traveling through a group tour package or an agency.

In this case, you can give your redress number to your airport ticketing agent. They should be able to add it to your reservation as soon as you go through check-in.

Bottom Line

That’s all you should know about redress numbers! If you don’t usually have problems when traveling, the chances are that you don’t even need one.

Remember, this is supposed to help people who constantly have mismatching issues with the TSA when traveling.

Those looking for expedited screening and lower wait times instead may want to apply for KTN/Global Entry programs. A redress number isn’t meant to make you go through transportation hubs faster.

The DHS TRIP has made it easy to apply and track your inquiry status. Since you can take care of everything online, there’s no need to worry about going somewhere far to do it.

I recommend you get started as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your trip gets closer, as it’s hard to know how much your application process will take.

However, remember that not having a redress number doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to travel. Instead, you’ll be slightly more exposed to mismatches if you share a name with someone on the TSA watchlist.

Traveling can be stressful sometimes, especially with so many things you must account for before going out. I hope I made your experience a bit easier through this guide, and remember to stay safe!

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Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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