US TSA continues the roll out of new credential authentication technology to improve checkpoint screening capabilities

The Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Eppley Airfield is now using new technology that confirms the validity of a traveler’s identification (ID) andconfirms their flight information in near real time.

“The technology we’ve now installed at the Eppley Airfield checkpoint enhances detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent ID such as driver’s licenses and passports at checkpoints and increases efficiency by automatically verifying passenger identification,” said Michael Fowler, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Nebraska. “The system also has the added capability of confirming the passenger’s flight status in near real time through a secured connection.”

Passengers should approach the travel document checking station at the checkpoint and hand their ID to the TSA officer, who will insert it into the device. Passengers will not have to hand over their boarding pass (electronic or paper), thus reducing a touchpoint. The credential authentication technology (CAT) unit will verify that the traveler is prescreened to travel out of the airport for a flight that day; however, a boarding pass may be requested for travelers under the age of 18 and/or those with ID issues.

Even with TSA’s use of credential authentication technology, travelers still need to check-in with their airline in advance and bring their boarding pass to their gate agent to show the airline representative before boarding their flight.

This technology will enhance detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent documents at the security checkpoint.

CAT units authenticate several thousand types of IDs including passports, military common access cards, retired military ID cards, Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards, uniformed services ID cards, permanent resident cards, U.S. visas and driver’s licenses and photo IDs issued by state motor vehicle departments.

CAT with invalid DL photo
A CAT unit reads a driver’s license that was inserted into the unit and indicates that this license has expired and is no longer valid for passage through the checkpoint. (TSA photo)

A CAT unit consists of the passport reader, an ID card reader, a Federal personal identity verification ID card reader, a monitor, a stand and a UV light.  

In addition, it is critical that travelers have their REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or other acceptable form of identification by the Oct. 1, 2021, deadline. The CAT units will not accept a driver’s license after Oct. 1, 2021, if it is not REAL ID-compliant.