Security Screening | Transportation Security Administration (2023)

Carry-on Baggage Screening

Carry-on Baggage Screening in Standard Lanes
TSA screens approximately 4.9 million carry-on bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. Here’s what to expect when taking your carry-on bag through security screening next time you fly.

You will be asked to remove personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag and place them into a bin with nothing placed on or under them for X-ray screening.

Common examples of these devices include laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles.

This does not include items such as hair dryers, electric shavers or electric toothbrushes.

Listen to the instructions of the TSA officer. In most cases, food or snacks such as fruit, health bars, and sandwiches can stay inside your carry-on bag. There are special instructions for liquids, gels, and aerosols, as well as for baby food, breast milk and medically necessary items.

A TSA officer will be available to guide you through the process.

If you are preparing for your flight, be aware that how and what you pack can impact the screening process. Be sure that you check for prohibited items and remember to follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule.

(Video) TSA on the Job: Transportation Security Officer

In addition to screening personal electronic devices separately, including laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles, TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate other 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.

We recommend keeping your bag organized to help ease the screening process as it takes time for TSA officers to make sure a jam-packed, cluttered, overstuffed bag is safe.

Check out our travel tips page for more packing and screening tips.

Checked Baggage Screening

TSA screens approximately 1.4 million checked bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. Upon check in, your checked baggage will be provided to TSA for security screening. Once the screening process has completed, your airline will transport your checked baggage on your respective flight as well as deliver it to the baggage claim area. The majority of checked baggage is screened without the need for a physical bag search.

Inspection Notices: TSA may inspect your checked baggage during the screening process. If your property is physically inspected, TSA will place a notice of baggage inspection inside your bag. This is to inform you that an officer conducted an inspection of your property.

Claims: If your property is lost or damaged during the screening process, you may file a claim with TSA. If your property is lost or damaged during transport to the plane or baggage claim, please contact your airline.

Locks: TSA has been provided universal "master" keys under agreements with Safe Skies Luggage Locks and Travel Sentry so that certain branded locks may not have to be cut to inspect baggage. These locks are commercially available, and packaging on the locks should indicate they may be opened by TSA officers. TSA has no position on the validity or effectiveness of these product as a security measure and will be forced to remove these products if necessary during the inspection.

Monitoring: Responsibilities for access control and video monitoring of checked baggage facilities fall to individual airports as part of their security plan. Methods of monitoring vary from airport to airport and may include CCTV.

International Flights

TSA works closely with international partners to maintain aviation security standards abroad.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is actively working to raise the baseline for aviation security across the globe by requiring the implementation of enhanced security measures, both seen and unseen, at approximately 280 foreign airports with direct commercial flights to the U.S., in more than 100 countries around the world. Read about the security measures and FAQ for more information on aviation security worldwide.

What to Expect
If you are flying from any of the last-point-of-departure airports into the U.S., you may experience a more extensive screening process and should prepare for additional screening of your property and personal electronic devices. We recommend arriving early to the airport to allow enough time for the screening process. Please know, there are no changes to items allowed in carry-on and checked baggage.

For your convenience, we encourage you to place powder-like substances over 12 oz. / 350 mL in your checked bags. Powders in carry-on baggage may require secondary screening, and powders that cannot be resolved by security officials will be prohibited from the cabin of the aircraft effective June 30, 2018.

Check with your airline if you have questions about your flight to the U.S.

Electronics Restriction
There are currently no airlines under restrictions for large personal electronic devices.

Overseas Foods & Goods
Visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Know Before You Go page for information on what you can bring upon entry to the U.S.

Hazardous Materials
Most hazardous materials are forbidden in carry-on and checked baggage. There are a few exceptions for some personal items such as toiletries, medicines, battery powered electronics and assistive devices. To learn about transporting hazardous materials to the U.S., check the Federal Aviation Administration Pack Safe list.

(Video) Meet a Transportation Security Officer - Donovahn

Pat-Down Screening

Pat-down procedures are used to determine whether prohibited items or other threats to transportation security are concealed on the person.You may be required to undergo a pat-down procedure if the screening technology alarms, as part of unpredictable security measures, for enhanced screening, or as an alternative to other types of screening, such as advanced imaging technology screening.Even passengers who normally receive expedited screening, such as TSA PreCheck™ passengers, may at times receive a pat-down.

A pat-down may include inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs, and feet.This includes head coverings and sensitive areas such as breasts, groin, and the buttocks. You may be required to adjust clothing during the pat-down.The officer will advise you of the procedure to help you anticipate any actions before you feel them. Pat-downs require sufficient pressure to ensure detection, and areas may undergo a pat-down more than once for the TSA officer to confirm no threat items are detected.

TSA officers use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body.In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.

You will receive a pat-down by an officer of the same gender.TSA officers will explain the procedures to you as they conduct the pat-down. Please inform an officer if you have difficulty raising your arms or remaining in the position required; an external medical device; or areas of the body that are painful when touched.You may request a chair to sit if needed.

At any time during the process, you may request private screening accompanied by a companion of your choice. A second officer of the same gender will always be present during private screening.

(Video) Transportation Security Officer | Realistic Job Preview

Screening Technology

TSA uses millimeter waveadvanced imaging technology and walk-through metal detectors to screen passengers. Millimeter waveadvanced imaging technology safely screens passengers without physical contactformetallic and non-metallic threats, including weapons and explosives, which may be concealed under clothing.Generally, passengers undergoing screening will have the opportunity to decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening. However, some passengers will be required to undergo AIT screening if their boarding pass indicates that they have been selected for enhanced screening, in accordance with TSA regulations, prior to their arrival at the security checkpoint. This will occur in a very limited number of circumstances. The vast majority of passengers will not be affected. See the responses to frequently asked questions.

Safety: Advanced imaging technology is safe and meets national health and safety standards. This technology uses non-ionizing radio-frequency energy in the millimeter spectrum with no known adverse health effects. It does not use X-ray technology.

Privacy: TSA has strict privacy standards when using advanced imaging technology to protect your privacy. Advanced imaging technology uses automated target recognition software that eliminates passenger-specific images and instead auto-detects potential threats by indicating their location on a generic outline of a person. The generic outline is identical for all passengers.

Secure Flight

Secure Flight is a risk-based passenger prescreening program that enhances security by identifying low and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport by matching their names against trusted traveler lists and watchlists.

To protect privacy, the Secure Flight program collects the minimum amount of personal information, such as full name, date of birth, and gender, necessary to conduct effective matching. Read the Privacy Impact Assessment and the System of Records Notice for information about the program's rigorous privacy protections. Personal datais collected, used, distributed, stored and disposed of according to stringent guidelines.

Secure Flight transmits the screening instructions back to the airlines toidentify low-risk passengers eligible for TSA PreCheck®; individuals on the Selectee List who are designated for enhanced screening; and those whowill receive standard screening. Secure Flight also prevents individuals on the No Fly List and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Do Not Board List from boarding an aircraft. The Travel Redress Program provides resolution for travel-related screening or inspection issues.

(Video) TSA Screener Interview Questions with Answer Examples

Standard and TSA PreCheck® Screening

Security Screening | Transportation Security Administration (1)

As you know, standard screening requires that you remove all items and place them on the X-ray belt for screening. With TSA PreCheck®, you are able to speed through security and don’t need to remove your shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. Learn about how you can receive expedited screening with TSA PreCheck®.

TSA uses unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening.


What is a security screening process? ›

Security screening checks the history and background of successful applicants and current employees. For most positions, screening consists of a criminal record check, which is a search for convictions, penalties or outstanding charges.

What is the security screening by TSA? ›

TSA uses millimeter wave advanced imaging technology and walk-through metal detectors to screen passengers. Millimeter wave advanced imaging technology safely screens passengers without physical contact for metallic and non-metallic threats, including weapons and explosives, which may be concealed under clothing.

Is mascara a liquid TSA? ›

So is mascara considered a liquid? Yes, when it comes to makeup, the following items are considered liquid cosmetics: mascara. nail polish.

How to get TSA PreCheck for free? ›

The best way to get TSA PreCheck for free is by carrying an eligible credit card. Dozens of credit cards reimburse the TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee if you use that card to pay upfront.

What are the five steps in the screening process? ›

Our Simple 5-Step Screening Process:
  1. #1 – Skills Testing.
  2. #2 – Resume Check.
  3. #3 – Async Video Interview.
  4. #4 – Online Research.
  5. #5 – Interview.
Jan 11, 2023

What gets removed during TSA screening? ›

In Standard Screening Lane

Ensure pockets are empty (keys, tissues, currency, wallets, cell phones, etc.) and remove bulky jewelry (valuable items can be placed in carry-on). Remove your shoes and place them directly on the X-ray belt.

How long does TSA screening take? ›

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

How do I prepare for TSA screening? ›

Planning ahead and packing properly can help speed up the screening process and ease your travel experience at the airport.
  1. Pack Appropriately. ...
  2. Dress Smartly. ...
  3. Download MyTSA App. ...
  4. Check in Online. ...
  5. Leave Early. ...
  6. Provide Correct Identification and Documentation. ...
  7. Provide Boarding Pass. ...
  8. Separate Food Items.
Mar 16, 2022

Can I bring a razor in my carry-on? ›

Safety Razors: Because the razor blades are so easy to remove, safety razors are not permitted in your carry-on luggage with the blade. They're fine to pack in your carry-on without the blade. The blades must be stored in your checked luggage. The same applies for straight razors.

Can I bring tweezers on a plane? ›

Yes, tweezers and razors are allowed on planes, in your cabin bag. So are scissors, as long as the edges are less than 4 inches long (10 cm). Straight razor blades, however, are not allowed in the carry-on. They must be packed in your checked bag instead, or left at home.

What is not allowed in a carry-on? ›

Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible. 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 documents do I need for TSA PreCheck? ›

Valid Photo ID

Unexpired photo ID card issued by the federal government or by a State or outlying possession of the U.S. This must include a federal agency, State or State agency seal or logo (such as a State university ID). Permits are not considered valid identity documents (such as gun permits).

How long does TSA PreCheck take to get approved? ›

How do I know when I'm approved for TSA PreCheck®? Most applicants receive their KTN (Known Traveler Number) in 3-5 days, though some applications can take up to 60 days. Applicants can receive updates on their enrollment application status by email, phone, text or by checking online.

Does AAA offer TSA PreCheck? ›

Travel smarter with TSA PreCheck

A TSA PreCheck™ agent will conduct enrollments at select AAA branches. Enrolling in TSA PreCheck™ creates a smarter travel experience with fewer hassles and less stress. Enrollment is $85 dollars and good for 5 years.

What are the 3 stages of screening process? ›

1) Pre-screen, in-screen and post-screen refers to three stages of the screening process.

What are the main principles of screening? ›

Principles of screening
  • prevent earlier deaths or improve quality of life by detecting a condition at a stage where treatment can be more effective (rather than waiting for symptoms to develop)
  • reach everyone in the target population (see inequalities chapter.
Oct 10, 2022

What are the four concept of screening? ›

Understanding the differences among four key measures of evaluation for tests (sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value) are necessary for proper utilization of screening tests.

What are some examples of screening? ›

Examples of Screening Tests:

Pap smear, mammogram, clinical breast exam, blood pressure determination, cholesterol level, eye examination/vision test, and urinalysis.

What is screening process example? ›

The screening process may include a variety of elements such as: job screening questions within the employment application. pre-employment testing using cognitive, behavioral and/or skills-based assessments. candidate interviewing–including phone screens, video interviews, and in-person interviews.

What is the purpose of screening process? ›

Screening processes help businesses identify suitable candidates for positions and ensure they're a good fit for both the role and the company. To screen applicants, you can assign tests and review multiple pieces of information to determine their suitability based on pre-defined criteria.

What is the 3 1 1 rule? ›

You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. This is also known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule.

How hard is it to pass a TSA background check? ›

A TSA background check is extremely rigorous and includes the following items: Fingerprinting and fingerprint processing to check against FBI criminal databases and FBI terrorist watch lists. Felony and misdemeanor criminal searches at the county, state, and federal level.

What happens after you pass the TSA test? ›

The entire test may take you up to 2.5 hours to complete. You will receive your results very quickly via email, typically within 30 minutes. If you pass, you will receive a preliminary notice of acceptance. Even though they call this “a contingent offer,” don't quit your job - you have a long way to go!

How long is TSA onboarding? ›

Travel Required. Occasional travel - A minimum of three (3) weeks of travel in a full-time duty status may be required to complete TSA's New Hire training. New Hire training and travel requirements vary by duty location and may require up to six (6) weeks of full-time duty status travel.

What questions are on the TSA test? ›

The TSA screener English test (also known as the TSA Writing Skills Assessment) is a multiple choice test that includes three topics: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Written Communication.

Is there an interview for TSA? ›

To apply, applicants simply complete a TSA Precheck application online at or at an enrollment center. All candidates must schedule a visit to an enrollment center for a short interview and show proof of identity, citizenship and submit their fingerprints.

Does toothpaste count as a liquid? ›

Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.

What items are not allowed on a plane in hand luggage? ›

all drinks, including water. liquid or semi-liquid foods, for example soup, jam, honey and syrups. cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss. sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants.

Do you still have to put liquids in plastic bags 2022? ›

Do you still have to put liquids in plastic bags in 2022? Yes, the rule about the bags is still a thing, but the TSA actually doesn't specify whether that bag needs to be clear. Still, a clear plastic bag will certainly make things easier for your TSA agent and help you get through security faster.

Do toiletries have to be in a clear bag? ›

Each item must be 3.4 ounces or less and must be able to fit inside a one-quart size clear zip-top bag. The limit is one bag per person. Typically, travelers put their toiletries in the bag such as shampoo, hair products, make-up and toothpaste.

Can I fly with nail clippers? ›

Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors. For more prohibited items, please go to the 'What Can I Bring?'

How many disposable razors can I take on a plane? ›

Disposable razors, replacement blades, and electric razors can go in either your carry-on or checked baggage; if you have a safety or straight razor, you can pack it in your carry-on — but you must remove the blades first and pack them in one of your checked bags.

Can I 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.

Can you have clothes in your carry-on bag? ›

Can you put clothes in your personal items? Certainly, you can pack clothes in your personal items or carry-on bag. But for a better experience, we recommend packing most of your clothes in your carry on and leaving extra space in your personal items.

Can a backpack be a carry-on item? ›

Many airlines will allow a backpack as a personal item, and for those that don't, a backpack can still be your carry on luggage as long as it is under the size restrictions for the particular airline. The standard domestic carry-on luggage size is 22" x 14" x 9.”

Does TSA PreCheck require an interview? ›

Travelers interested in TSA PreCheck must apply online for pre-approval. After being pre-approved, you will be prompted to schedule an appointment for a required 10-minute interview and a background check that includes in-person fingerprinting.

What is TSA PreCheck cost? ›

The application fee for TSA PreCheck® is $78 for 5 years. Before you apply, we recommend that you review the various DHS trusted traveler programs, such as the TSA PreCheck® Application Program, Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI, to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and determine the best program for you.

How many forms of ID do you need for TSA PreCheck? ›

At least two documents are required if you do not have a document from List A. The documents must include: a valid photo ID, and. a document that meets citizenship requirements.

What do they ask you during TSA PreCheck interview? ›

If you do have any criminal history, you'll probably be asked more questions about that. You may also be asked about your employment status, how often you travel, why you want to join PreCheck and other fairly innocuous questions. Expect to be fingerprinted and have your photo taken.

How much does TSA PreCheck cost 2022? ›

4, 2022, TSA application and in-person renewal fees have been cut to $78. Read our coverage here. Effective Oct. 1, 2021, the Transportation Security Administration lowered the online renewal fee for TSA PreCheck to $70 from the previous cost of $85.

How do I get TSA PreCheck for free? ›

Some of the cards that convey free TSA PreCheck and/or Global Entry are:
  1. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
  2. The Platinum Card® from American Express.
  3. United Explorer Card.
  4. Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.
  5. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.
  6. Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Aug 7, 2022

Does AARP offer TSA PreCheck? ›

Members pay $100 for five years, but that includes enrollment in TSA PreCheck, which alone will cost you $85.

Can senior citizens go through TSA PreCheck? ›

For those younger than 75 who can't—or don't want to—stand in long security lines, the TSA Precheck or Global Entry program are options.

Who can accompany TSA PreCheck? ›

With TSA PreCheck™, you can breeze through airport security. Best part, children 12 and under can accompany a parent or guardian who has TSA PreCheck™ on their boarding pass. Travelers 13 and older who do not have a TSA PreCheck™ boarding pass must go through standard security lanes or apply for TSA PreCheck™.

What does it mean when your application is in the screening process? ›

Screening is the process of evaluating job applications, scanning resumes and selecting suitable candidates that match with the job description. The process of determining whether a candidate is qualified for the role is based on their educational qualifications, experience, and skill sets.

How long does a security screening take? ›

What is the Process for Acquiring a Security Clearance? How Long Does it Take? The processing time for the clearance depends on the level of clearance and the complexity of conducting a review of your background. The processing times can be from three weeks to over a year.

What is screening process in hiring? ›

Candidate screening is the process of reviewing resumes, profiles, or people for a job. It happens right after the candidate sourcing process and encapsulates activities such as resume screening, telephonic screening, written interviews, face-to-face interviews, background checks, etc.

How long does screening process take? ›

Screenings for professional jobs can take anywhere from three days for minimal searches to one week or more for more detailed results. Certain screenings — such as verifying college degrees or legal certifications — can take 2-5 days.

How do I know if I passed my screening interview? ›

11 Signs your interview went well
  • You were in the interview for longer than expected. ...
  • The interview felt conversational. ...
  • You are told what you would be doing in this role. ...
  • The interviewer seemed engaged. ...
  • You feel sold on the company and the role. ...
  • Your questions are answered in full.

What comes after the screening process? ›

Today, many companies have an involved interview process starting with screening interviews, which often take place on the phone, followed by in-person interviews, second interviews, and even third interviews. In addition to a hiring manager, you may meet with managers, employees, and other staff.

What happens after the screening process? ›

Screening interviews are typically held by a recruiter or another member of the HR department. The recruiter will share notes from the interview with the hiring manager, who will decide whether to bring the candidate in for a second interview.


1. Inside Look: TSA Layers of Security
2. A Day in the Life: Christopher Cotton
3. TSA on the Job: Lead Transportation Security Officer
4. AskTSA: Preparing Carry-on Bags for Security Screening
5. Meet a Transportation Security Manager - Brandy
6. Breeze through security | what TSA looks for
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