You may be familiar with programs like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry that can help you cut down on time at airport security checkpoints. However, if you’ve ever had trouble entering or leaving the U.S. for security reasons, you can turn to this number to make your trip easier.
Since 2007, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued numbers to travelers who’ve contacted the Travel Redress Number Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP). Under this program, travelers who’ve experienced difficulties or delays entering the United States can report such incidents for evaluation. If they do so, they’ll receive a compensation number and will have the opportunity to quote this number when purchasing airline tickets.
Although most travelers don’t have an indemnity number, it’s important to know what an indemnity number is and what to expect if you’ve one and are planning your next trip.
What is a Redress Number?
A redress number is a unique identifier assigned to an individual who has been subject to identity theft or fraud. The number is used by credit reporting agencies and law enforcement to track and investigate cases of identity theft.
A redress number, also known as a redress control number, is assigned to a traveler who submits a request to DHS TRIP. It simply links the traveler to the record that’s created when they submit a complaint to DHS TRIP. The overall goal of requesting and using a travel complaint control number is to have information that can expedite airport security screening available in one central location.
By filing a complaint, you can challenge or correct information that may be causing travel problems. The number itself can be used to monitor the status of your complaint and allows agencies such as the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Department of State to access the information you provide in your request.
If you provide an airline with your redress number when booking airline tickets, the airline and airport may also be able to view the details of your request. Providing the redress number to the airline is voluntary and not mandatory, and you may travel even if you don’t provide a number.
What a Redress Number isn’t?
Let’s first clarify what a remedy number isn’t.
It’s not how many times you’ve to take off your shoes, belt, jacket, winter coat, or heavy jewelry at the security checkpoint, put it all in a plastic container, go through the metal detector, and then get dressed again on the other side.
This is called, as our friends at Milwaukee International Airport first called it, recombination. You don’t need a special number for this, just your attention to make sure you don’t leave any of your belongings behind. As mentioned earlier, your recombination number is also not your TSA PreCheck number. However, similar to a TSA PreCheck number, a Redress number can help smooth your way through security.
Who should request a redress number?
The vast majority of travelers will never need to file a complaint with DHS TRIP and request a redress number. However, there are reasons why you may want to file a complaint and request a remedy number.
The first reason is that you regularly experience delays entering the U.S., are subjected to additional security screening when flying, or have an “SSSS” noted on your boarding pass. This could indicate that there’s information about your identity that should be discussed with DHS. Filing a complaint will initiate this process.
If you’ve ever been prevented from entering the U.S. or delayed boarding a flight or other mode of transportation, you should also consider filing a remedy request. This is especially true if you believe that such incidents occurred unfairly or on the basis of false information. With a remedy request, you can challenge any information that’s not true and document the results of the process for Border Patrol and other government agencies.
How to Apply for a Redress Number
Apply for a remedy number online (from your computer or mobile device) using the program DHS TRIP.
You must first take a “quiz” to determine if you truly have a redress problem. If your travel problem is related to “discrimination, lost/damaged property, or personal injury” or “assistance in screening travelers with disabilities, medical problems, and other circumstances,” DHS will refer you to another program.
If your problem or complaint falls within the parameters of the DHS TRIP program, you will be directed to a login page where you can open a complaint file, describe your travel complaint, and forward documents to ID.
Before you begin, make sure you have your current identification documents, such as your passport or driver’s license, as well as information about the date, time and location of your travel incident.
Although the form states that this information is voluntary, it’s likely that it’ll be requested at some point during the inquiry process. You can expect to be asked:
- First, middle and last name
- Other names used
- Date of birth, city, state and country of birth
- Height, weight, hair and eye color
- U.S. citizenship
- Mailing and physical address
- Telephone number and e-mail address
- Attorney or official representative information
- How often you travel per month
- Additional comments
Proof of identity
You’ll be asked to provide a copy (not an original) of your unexpired passport or other government issued photo ID from the following list:
- Driver’s License
- Military ID
- Government-issued identification card (federal/state/local number)
- Certificate of citizenship
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Immigrant/non-immigrant visa
- Registration as an alien
- Petition or application receipt
- Immigration form I-94
- FAST card
- SENTRI card
- NEXUS card
- Border crossing card
- SEVIS card
If you’re applying for a child who doesn’t have a photo ID, a birth certificate will suffice. In addition to submitting the printout, you’ll also be asked to type in information from the documents submitted.
Once you’ve completed the online form, click “Submit” at the bottom of the screen. You must email your copies of the required documents to TRIP @dhs.gov or mail them to this address:
DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP), 601 South 12th Street, TSA-901, Arlington, Virginia 20598-6901.
If you’re unable to submit the travel request form online, you may download a PDF version, fill it out, and either email or mail it to the addresses above.
If you submit your form online, you’ll automatically be assigned a remedy number. If you submitted your request by mail or email, it may take a few weeks before you’re notified of the status of your request. If you submit your documents by email and via the online form, this may be quicker.
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The final word on Redress Number
The overall goal of the DHS TRIP program is to correct errors in government records that can cause travel delays. If you weren’t delayed or subjected to multiple security screenings, you probably have no reason to apply for a remedy number. Applying for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry may be worth considering if you want to get through security checkpoints faster. Some of the best travel credit cards even offer free TSA PreCheck. If you already have TSA PreCheck and want to save even more time, you should also consider joining CLEAR
However, if you’ve experienced any of these situations, you should file a request to challenge inaccurate identification information that may slow you down at the airport. The process is far from perfect and may not lead to a resolution of your security issues. But if you’ve an appeal number you can provide when needed, information-related issues can be resolved much more quickly the next time you travel.
Remember, requesting and sharing a redress number is completely voluntary. Even if you’ve a number but don’t provide it, you can still book tickets for travel to and from the United States. And it may be a good idea to check your credit card perks for access to free TSA PreCheck.