What is the DHS Travel Redress Inquiry Program?
I was trying to buy a plane ticket online and bumped into something called the DHS TRIP. I once had some problems at airport security when the TSA people found a match for my name on one of their watch lists, and understand it's a way for me to avoid that problem in the future, but can you explain how it works, Dave?
Well, this is definitely outside of my usual topic area, but I am interested in airport and plane security as a frequent traveler, so I do pay attention to these sort of things. You're right, as of fall 2009 the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) have indeed tweaked airport security mechanisms yet again, but this time to benefit the small number of people who are unfortunate enough to have a name that's too similar to criminals or terrorists.
The DHS TRIP program, as it's more formally called, is administered by the US Department of Homeland Security and it is, as they explain, "a single point of contact for individuals who have inquiries or seek resolution regarding difficulties they experienced during their travel screening at transportation hubs".
Reading the description, it sounds a lot like it's for people who live overseas but travel into the United States of America, but I might be wrong there. Given your situation, it sounds like it'd be a good idea to read more about it, which you can do here: Travelers Redress.
The interesting question, of course, is what's in place to stop terrorists or other undesirables from applying for and being granted a DHS TRIP pass. As the DHS explains, "People who have been repeatedly identified for additional screening can file an inquiry to have erroneous information corrected in DHS systems."
To understand, check out the application form at trip.dhs.gov. It includes the following categories of complaint / requested redress:
Pretty comprehensive, and it's interesting that if you can't print a boarding pass from home, you're able to complain to the Department of Homeland Security. Shouldn't you call up the airline instead? Maybe that's one reason DHS is so darn busy?
As you go through the process, you'll find that at some point you need to submit a legible scan of your passport, whether you're an American citizen or not. It details:
At that point they have as much information as the TSA personnel have when they've found you on a stop list. I presume that further into the application you can explain the misidentification and request redress. If you are granted it, you'll have a special identification number which hopefully will be understood by the TSA authorities and will expedite your future travels. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
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