TSA introduces state-of-the art identity verification technology at DEN security checkpoints (2023)

DENVER - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Denver International Airport (DEN) has deployed the next generation of Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) to verify the identity of travelers.

(Video) TSA starts using new Credential Authentication Technology in Denver

First generation CAT units are designed to scan a traveler’s photo identification, confirm the traveler’s identity as well as their flight details. The new CAT units, referred to as CAT-2, have the same capabilities, but are also equipped with a camera that captures a real-time photo of the traveler.

CAT-2 compares the traveler’s photo on the identification credential against the in-person, real-time photo. Once the CAT-2 confirms the match, a TSA officer will verify and the traveler can proceed to security screening, without ever exchanging a boarding pass. TSA officers can perform additional passenger verification if needed.

(Video) TSA technology and operations evolve to keep airport passengers safe

“Identity verification of every traveler prior to flying is a key step in the security screening process. TSA embraces the use of this type of technology to enhance security and increase the efficiency of our operation,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Colorado Larry Nau. “We are grateful for our partners locally who have been key in bringing this capability to DEN and for the investment TSA made in the security operations at DEN.”

Photos captured by CAT units are never stored or used for any other purpose than immediate identity verification. Travelers who do not wish to participate in the facial matching process can opt out in favor of an alternative identity verification process.

(Video) TSA remarks on Transforming Aviation Security through Artificial Intelligence

As an added convenience, the CAT-2 units at DEN are equipped with readers that allow travelers to use state-issued digital driver licenses or digital identification cards for TSA identity verification purposes. Last week, the Colorado Department of Revenue announced that state residents could add their Colorado ID to Apple Wallet.

Earlier this year, the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division and Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration began offering the same capability to their residents who have a current, valid state-issued driver license or photo ID. Any traveler who has a state-issued digital ID in Apple Wallet can tap their iPhone or Apple Watch on a CAT-2 digital reader in lieu of providing a physical photo ID for identity verification. Residents should continue to carry their physical driver license or photo ID.

(Video) Do You Need Both? - A Full Breakdown of Clear and TSA PreCheck - A Frequent Travelers Perspective

There are currently five CAT-2 units with digital readers in use at DEN and they are located in the North Security Checkpoint. These five units are in addition to 21 first-generation CAT units that are in use at each of the three DEN security checkpoints.

CAT plays an important role in passenger identity verification. It improves a TSA officer’s ability to authenticate a guest’s photo identification while also identifying inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents.

(Video) Phoenix Sky Harbor is First in the Nation for New Technology

TSA continues to integrate new technologies into its identity verification process. Read more about these programs at www.tsa.gov/digital-id.


(Video) Customs Discovers Suitcase Full of Marijuana | Border Security: Canada's Front Line


What is the TSA identity verification process? ›

CAT-2 compares the traveler's photo on the identification credential against the in-person, real-time photo. Once the CAT-2 confirms the match, a TSA officer will verify and the traveler can proceed to security screening, without ever exchanging a boarding pass.

What questions does TSA ask to verify? ›

The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint.

How does TSA verify identity without ID? ›

In the event you arrive at the airport without proper ID, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. By providing additional information, TSA has other ways to confirm your identity, like using publicly available databases, so you can reach your flight.

Why do I always get flagged at the airport? ›

Tripping the system during a background check

Other times, you could engage in some type of suspicious travel activity that triggers an additional screening which could include things like: Visits to high-risk countries. Unusual travel patterns (last minute one-way flight) Paying cash for tickets.

How long does TSA verification take? ›

Most applicants receive approval notification in 3-5 days, though some applications can take up to 60 days.

How long does identity verification take for TSA? ›

TSA Identification verification process

The standard recommended time for arriving before a domestic flight is two hours so logically you would want to arrive at least two hours prior to your departure. (I would shoot for 2.5 to 3 hours prior to the flight.)

What disqualifies you from getting TSA approved? ›

Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, including identity fraud and money laundering, where the money laundering is related to a crime listed in Parts A or B (except welfare fraud and passing bad checks). Bribery. Smuggling. Immigration violations.

Do you have to answer questions from TSA? ›

If you are a U.S. citizen, you need only answer questions establishing your identity and citizenship, although refusing to answer routine questions about the nature and purpose of your travel could result in delay and/or further inspection.

How do I pass the TSA interview? ›

TSA Interview Tips
  1. Show up on time for check-in.
  2. Make sure you come prepared with two forms of ID.
  3. Get a good night's sleep before in the interview.
  4. Make sure you have your glasses or contacts if needed.
  5. Use your candidate dashboard to collect any needed information.

How do I verify my ID at the airport? ›

Check-in and required documents

This form must remain with your child during their journey. At check-in, parents / guardians will also need to provide: A birth certificate or passport as proof of the child's age. The adult's government-issued photo ID with their current address.

How do I get into the airport without ID proof? ›

Nationalized Bank Passbook with attested Photograph, Pension card / Pension documents having photograph of the passenger, Disability Photo ID Card / handicapped medical certificate issued by the respective State / UT Governments / Administrations.

Can I still fly in the US without a real ID? ›

Beginning May 7, 2025, every traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver's license, state-issued enhanced driver's license, or other acceptable forms of identification, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to fly within the U.S. Review the complete list of acceptable identification.

Why do TSA agents scribble on boarding pass? ›

“They are placing their initials/name on boarding passes it to indicate which TSA officer reviewed the boarding pass. Some write neat, some sloppy—just like some people sign their signatures, some easy to read and some not as easy to read. But their supervisors are familiar with each person's initials.

How do you know if you are flagged by TSA? ›

There are signs that will indicate you have been flagged for additional screenings: You were not able to print a boarding pass from an airline ticketing kiosk or from the internet. You were denied or delayed boarding. A ticket agent “called someone” before handing you a boarding pass.

What is suspicious behavior in an airport? ›

A Transportation Security Administration document leaked last year showed that crews are taught to look for suspicious behaviors that include fidgeting, perspiration, and evasive responses to questions.

How easy is it to get TSA approved? ›

It takes five minutes to submit an online application and schedule an in-person appointment that includes a background check and fingerprinting at an enrollment center. Please note, legitimate online registration for TSA PreCheck® can begin at tsa.gov/precheck or be accomplished at tsaenrollmentbyidemia.tsa.dhs.gov.

How much cash can you bring through TSA per person? ›

How much cash can you fly with? In other words, does TSA have a limit for the amount of money you can bring through security? No, you can bring any amount of money to the airport. It is not illegal to fly with a large amount of cash on a flight.

How does verify work at the airport? ›

Travellers can upload any Covid-19 related documentation required for their destination, including vaccination records, negative Covid-19 results and government documents into the VeriFLY mobile app. Assuming these documents are accepted by the technology, they are then 'verified' before travel.

Why does TSA check your ID? ›

The TSA officer will ask for your boarding pass and an acceptable form of ID prior to entering the security checkpoint. Our officers will review your travel document(s) and ID to ensure that the information presented matches.

How long does an identity check take? ›

After you send your photo ID and video, your photo ID will be carefully checked and should be done within 2 hours.

Is TSA PreCheck linked to your ID? ›

Yes. Even if you have TSA PreCheck®, you'll still need a REAL ID or other acceptable form of ID starting May 7, 2025.

What will fail a TSA background check? ›

Temporary Disqualifying Criminal Offenses

Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export of, or dealing with a firearm or other weapons. Extortion. Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, including identity fraud. Bribery.

What are TSA agents looking for? ›

They're trained to detect any item on a person or in carry-on luggage that poses a threat. According to the TSA, agents screen approximately 4.9 million carry-on bags for explosives and other dangerous items each day. The key is to be prepared.

What happens if you fail the TSA background check? ›

If your background check reveals a disqualifying criminal offenses or any other concerns, the TSA will issue you a letter known as a “Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility.” Upon receipt of such a letter, we advise you to immediately have an attorney review the letter on your behalf.

Can you argue with TSA? ›

Keeping Calm at Security

Any time you disobey a TSA agent's instructions, you run the risk of violating the law. But, people are not usually prosecuted unless they hit officials or repeatedly ignore, argue with, or disobey them. To avoid problems in case of a disagreement: If possible, do as you are asked.

Can I call the TSA to ask a question? ›

Contact us 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. You may call (855) 787-2227 or submit an online form.

What percentage of people pass the TSA test? ›

What is the passing score for the TSA test? You must get a “qualified score” to pass the test and continue with the hiring process. But it's not that simple. Because of the test's complexity and the large number of candidates, the TSA exam has a 32 percent pass rate.

Can I walk in for TSA interview? ›

What to know about the TSA PreCheck interview. TSA PreCheck allows walk-ins for interviews but applicants with appointments have priority. Appointments are scheduled to last about 20 minutes but if the enrollment center is busy, it may take a bit longer.

How many questions are asked in a TSA interview? ›

The Paneled TSA Standardized Interview

A panel of two to six interviews will ask you six questions based on soft skills. Here are the six skills you should prepare to talk about the following soft skills.

Can you bring snacks on a plane? ›

Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked baggage. TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine.

What airlines use the Verify app? ›

What Is the VeriFly App? The app is used in the aviation and travel industry (American Airlines, Alaska, Iberia and British Airways are a few of the carriers that use it, along with other oneworld Carriers) to streamline the documentation process needed for passengers to check in for their flights.

What documents are required in airport? ›

  • International Travel: Make sure that your passport is at least 6 months valid from your date of travel.
  • Domestic Travel: Bring a valid government, school, or company-issued ID. The name indicated on your ticket must be exactly the same name reflected on the ID.
Oct 4, 2022

What documents do I need at airport? ›

Passport, Travel Visa and National ID Card

As a result, you should ensure to always have an official identification document with you. You can even consider having multiple documents such as your passport, national ID card or driver's licence.

What documents do I need for air travel? ›

Besides REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses, other acceptable forms of ID to board a plane include:
  • U.S. passports.
  • U.S. military IDs.
  • Permanent resident cards.
  • State-issued enhanced driver's licenses (EDLs)
  • Government-issued passports from foreign countries.
Dec 6, 2022

Which states require REAL ID to fly? ›

All states issue REAL ID-compliant IDs, but none require a REAL ID. You can still fly as long as you have a TSA-approved form of ID.

Can I fly with a picture of my ID on my phone? ›

A ticket agent might let it happen, but there is no way a TSA agent would allow it.

What does 4s mean on boarding pass? ›

Secondary Security Screening Selection — or "The Quad S," as some call it — means you have been selected for additional enhanced security screening by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

What does P mean on boarding pass? ›

If you spot F, P or A on your boarding class you're one of the lucky few who get to turn left when you enter the plane. That's right, you're up in first class, and if you've got the super exclusive A stamp it probably means you're a celebrity, or celebrity-adjacent at the very least.

Why is TSA taking my picture? ›

It improves a TSA officer's ability to authenticate a guest's photo identification while also identifying inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents.

What does CODE RED mean in TSA? ›

Hearing Code Red at the terminal typically means there's a confirmed security risk, such as a bomb or terrorist. Airport security and police are almost immediately mobilized to deal with the situation.

What are examples of suspicious activity? ›

Leaving packages, bags or other items behind. Exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms. Unusual noises like screaming, yelling, gunshots or glass breaking. Individuals in a heated argument, yelling or cursing at each other.

What qualifies as suspicious activity? ›

Suspicious activity is any observed behavior that could indicate a person may be involved in a crime or about to commit a crime. Each of us might think of different things when it comes to what appears suspicious.

What will get you flagged at the airport? ›

17 Reasons You Could Get Flagged by TSA
  • What does it mean to get “flagged” by TSA?
  • Tripping the system during a background check.
  • Showing signs of nervousness.
  • Traveling with too much cash money.
  • Bringing large containers of powder.
  • Medications.
  • Bringing odd or complex objects.
  • Trying to transport drugs.
Oct 31, 2022

How long is TSA onboarding? ›

There is no iron-clad rule to the length of the process; some new hires reported two days, while others reported four. However, what is for sure is that Orientation is an integral part of the onboarding process, and you will complete the following: Fill out Federal forms, including the OF-306.

What is the fastest way to get through TSA security? ›

Travel with ease with TSA PreCheck®
  1. Wait 5 Minutes or Less. In January 2023, 92% of TSA PreCheck® passengers waited less than 5 min.
  2. Families Welcome. Children 12 and under can join a parent/guardian with TSA PreCheck® in the dedicated lanes.
  3. Nationwide Reach. More than 200 airports and 85+ airlines provide TSA PreCheck®

Can I walk in for TSA PreCheck interview? ›

Visit tsa.gov/precheck to learn more about the TSA PreCheck® Application Program. You can pre- enroll and make an appointment online or walk-in at an enrollment center. To apply for TSA PreCheck®, travelers must go in-person to an enrollment center to provide documentation and fingerprints.

Can I still fly in the U.S. without a REAL ID? ›

Beginning May 7, 2025, every traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver's license, state-issued enhanced driver's license, or other acceptable forms of identification, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to fly within the U.S. Review the complete list of acceptable identification.

Can you get on a plane without an ID? ›

Identification needed for domestic flights

Photographic ID is required on all domestic flights. Children under the age of 16 do not need to show ID on domestic flights (excluding Italy).

What is TSA starting pay? ›

The estimated hourly pay at TSA (Transportation Security Administration) ranges from approximately $12.78 per hour for Correctional Officer to $20.23 per hour for Security Officer....

Is TSA a federal job? ›

Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) are the face of the agency, the people on the front lines and the most important role at TSA. For many people, working as a TSO has led to a long, fulfilling career with the federal government.

Why does TSA take your picture? ›

It improves a TSA officer's ability to authenticate a guest's photo identification while also identifying inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents.

What does TSA see when they scan your bag? ›

Airport body scanners alert the TSO to threats—mainly weapons such as knives, guns and explosives. They are designed to detect “metallic and nonmetallic threat items,” according to the TSA. Those are things like explosives or knives made out of materials other than metal, like ceramics, says Malvini Redden.

How do I avoid TSA? ›

Apply for Global Entry

Global Entry is everything that TSA PreCheck is and more. If you have Global Entry, you'll automatically also get TSA PreCheck and all of its benefits. On top of that, you'll get to avoid the general customs line when returning to the U.S. from abroad.


1. Customs Discovers Suitcase Full of Marijuana | Border Security: Canada's Front Line
2. The State of the Transportation Security Administration
(Homeland Security Committee Events)
3. TSA Honorary Awards 2021
4. Innovation, Partnerships and People
5. Why Airport Security Is So Bad In The U.S.
6. Touchless credential authentication system installed at MBS Airport


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated: 02/25/2023

Views: 5289

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.