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The essential difference between the KTN or Known Traveler Number and Redress Number is that a Known Traveller Number is a beneficial, fast-tracking tool while a Redress Number is more of a damage control system.
Don’t worry if this seems confusing to you right now; understanding the different unique numbers in depth will help clarify any doubt you might have. A known traveler number is something that everyone must have issued to them for international travel, and as a part of it, whether you are traveling out of the US or returning. However, a redress control number or a redress number is not so common.
In the first part of the article, let me take you through what a known traveler number is and how you can get one, or how to identify the one that you already have and which is the best program to associate with. Following that, we will discuss redress numbers and if and when you need one.
What is a KTN (Known Traveler Number)?
This is an identification number that is issued as a part of your membership with the Trusted Traveler Program by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Sometimes, this can also be issued by the DHS or the Department of Defense.
When you are traveling internationally from the US, you will be able to access easy security checks on account of owning this identification number. When you are in the airport, you would have noticed that there are different lanes during security and customs called the TSA PreCheck Lanes and Global Security Lanes.
A person with a KTN is identified at the airport as someone who has undergone sufficient background check and/or other necessary screening, which renders them to be a trusted traveler, hence safe to be on the flight. Your KTN is also known as Trusted Traveler Number.
Not all airports have TSA PreCheck or Global Security Lanes. But when you are booking a flight, if you add your KTN during the reservation, you will be able to utilize these lanes while traveling through the airports that do have them, indicating that they are participating in the Trusted Traveler Program.
This is rather beneficial for frequent international flyers who would otherwise be spending copious amounts of time in security clearance which would rather be spent enjoying the airport.
Depending on whether you are a TSA PreCheck member or Global Entry Member, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of expedited processing during customs in participating international airports.
How Do I Get My Known Traveler Number?
There are many ways to get your KTN, and depending on the situation, you might not need to apply for one specifically, but the easiest way to go about it is to apply for either of the two most popular programs: the TSA PreCheck or the Global Entry Program.
You will have to submit your application and wait for it to be approved. Once you receive your approval for the application, you will be issued your Known Traveler Number, which you can henceforth use for your travels.
If you are a frequent flyer with an airline that participates in either of the programs, you may be issued with a PreCheck status at the discretion of the airline, and they will issue you with a KTN as a part of this.
If you are someone who travels internationally frequently, it would be more advisable for you to opt for the Global Entry Program, which ensures that your KTN is linked to your Passport Number.
Besides this, you will be able to access expedited processing during customs checking in different airports that are participating in the Global Entry Program.
You will be charged a mandatory fee of $100 for applying to the program, and the membership is valid for five years.
PreCheck charges $85 for a five-year membership. You can easily apply for both online.
How to use my KTN?
First of all, you need to ensure that the airline that you are booking a flight with is participating in the PreCheck program. You can find a list of all the participating airlines here, and if you can identify your preferred airlines here, well and good.
When you try to book a flight by yourself online, you will see a field for entering your KTN at the time of reservations where you can enter it. If you are phoning in to get your seats reserved by an airline agent or travel agent, just give them your KTN. Furthermore, you can add this number to your different travel profiles and frequent flyer profiles as well.
Once you print out your flight ticket, you will be able to see the words TSA PRE on the top left corner of your ticket. If you do not say this, contact the airline or your travel agent. Ensure that you enter the number correctly during the reservation and make sure that while you are applying for the same, all the information that you provide is verifiable and accurate. Even a slight difference can lead to your PreCheck status being invalid.
How to find my KTN?
For those who are enrolled with the TSA PreCheck program, you can easily identify your Known Traveler Number by clicking here. You will need essential information such as your full name, date of birth and contact information. Alternatively, if you have your Universal Enroll Number, you can enter this along with your date of birth.
If you are a Global Entry member, you can look for your KTN on your Trusted Traveler Card on its top left corner. If you do not have the card on you for easy reference, you can click here and request to obtain your membership number. Select Trusted Traveler Program and indicate that you are already a member. Once you select the type of program that you are associated with, you can enter your email and describe your issue and you will receive a quick response.
Now that you have a good idea about KTN, let us understand what a Redress Number is and whether you need one.
What is a Redressal Control Number or a Redress Number?
This may not be applicable to many people, but there are some of us who have gone through issues in the past while trying to get through the airport to the flight.
These issues might have caused delays during security checks and customs clearance. Some of the issues that occur include denial or delay in the airline boarding, denial or delay while exiting or entering the US, etc.
Sometimes, you feel that you are being put through many levels of security screening without any apparent reason. Such passengers can approach the airline, and the airline then works with the Secure Flight Program by the TSA to provide these passengers with a Redressal Number.
This number is used by the TSAs Secure Flight Program to match your details against the No Fly List and your previous case to ensure that you are not on the Watch List.
If you have had problems of being misidentified in the past on account of sharing a name with passengers from the No Fly List, getting a Redress Number ahead of the flight would be a good way to mitigate the problem ahead of time and improve your travel experience and avoid unnecessary hassles.
If you have had repeated issues of additional screening and the likes of it, this would be a good way to insure yourself from such incidents in the future. The redress number is purely optional, and you do not need it for traveling. If the application form during the reservation asks for the number, you can just leave it blank. For those who have a redress number, it would be most advisable to enter this number so as to avoid travel hassles.
You can easily file an enquiry seeking redress online using the DHS TRIP.
Do I Need a Redressal Number for PreCheck?
No. You don’t need your Redressal Number for PreCheck. For the PreCheck, all you need is your KTN. Only in the case of the above-mentioned issues you will need your Redressal Number.
Besides, using your redressal number will not help you with PreCheck as they have their own mandatory KTN as a part of the Trusted Traveler Program.
In conclusion, I hope that you now have a clear idea about the difference between your KTN and Redressal Number and the application for both. Keep in mind that if you are a frequent flyer, who does not experience issues that require redressing, it is advisable to take a note of your KTN and ensure that you renew it every five years to guarantee a smooth international travel experience each time.
You must also note that just because you have your PreCheck membership, you might not always qualify to enter the PreCheck lane for many reasons, including the fact that the airport must have implemented improved security measures to randomize the security screening process.
Another interesting thing for you to note is that you can use your Global Entry membership for air, land as well as water travel, unlike PreCheck, which is limited to air travel.