TSA

Find the TSA and offices of the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA provides information about airports and airport security, TSA pre-check locations, TSA complaints, jobs, and how to apply for TSA pre-approval.



What is the TSA?

The TSA, or Transportation Security Administration, is a federal agency that monitors travel and screens passengers at major transportation areas like airports. The TSA's mission is to protect passengers and the nation's transportation systems while minimizing terrorist threats through security measures. The organization also oversees government contracts with private screening firms. The TSA was founded by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act in 2001, and it is a division of the Department of Homeland Security.

The TSA is responsible for screening travelers at airports. Passenger screening is intended to prevent prohibited items in secure areas of the airport and aboard airplanes. Screening can include metal detectors, advanced imaging technology screenings, and pat-down screenings. Standard screening requires passengers to remove their shoes, laptops, belts, and jackets. Carry-on liquids must also be placed in a quart-sized bag, and they must be in travel-sized containers of no more than 3.4 ounces.

Airport security screening also include prescreening of passengers before they arrive at the airport and baggage screening. Prescreening identifies high-risk passengers by checking their names against watch lists. The TSA coordinates with intelligence and law enforcement agencies to share information about potential threats. At the airport, the TSA also screens checked bags for explosives and dangerous items, which can include a physical inspection of the bag and its contents.

TSA Pre-Check is a service offered by the TSA that allows passengers to bypass standard passenger screening at the airport and receive an expedited screening. Passengers can apply for TSA Pre-Check online. In order to qualify for TSA Pre-Check, passengers must visit an enrollment center for a scheduled appointment, which includes a background check and fingerprinting, and pay a fee. Once approved, TSA Pre-Check is valid for five years.

The organization also plays a role in developing policies designed to protect passengers and the nation's transportation system. The TSA coordinates with other agencies to develop security policies for railroads, buses, mass transit systems, and highways. It also helps develop security policies for pipelines, ports, and air cargo transportation.