New York TSA Checkpoints Are Using New ID Authentication Technology

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia Airports in New York are utilizing new technology at passenger checkpoints that both verifies travelers’ identifications and confirms their flight details, in close-to-real time.

22 of these credential authentication technology (CAT) units are currently in operation at JFK International and 18 are now in use at LaGuardia Airport.

John Bambury, TSA’s Federal Security Director for JFK International Airport, explained: “The credential authentication technology units improve upon TSA’s capabilities to detect and identify fraudulent identification documents, such as driver’s licenses and passports at checkpoints, and increases efficiency by automatically verifying passenger identification.”

“In addition to enhancing detection capabilities for identifying fake IDs, the credential system is able to confirm a passenger’s flight status in near-real time through a secured connection,” said Robert Duffy, TSA’s Federal Security Director for LaGuardia Airport.

At checkpoints, travelers hand their ID cards to a TSA officer for insertion into the CAT unit, which scans each card and indicates whether the ID is valid or not. In some places, units are positioned to allow passengers to insert their IDs themselves.

In most instances, travelers approaching the TSA travel document checking station don’t need to show their boarding passes because the CAT unit has already cleared them as prescreened for travel out of the airport on that day; although, those with ID issues or passengers under the age of 18 may be asked to present one.

It’s still necessary for travelers to check-in with their airlines in advance and to present their boarding passes to gate agents prior to boarding their flights, but CAT units should make fumbling to collect all of your documents when heading to TSA screening a thing of the past.

CAT units have the ability to authenticate thousands of ID types, 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.

Each unit costs just under $30,000 and consists of a passport reader, ID card reader, Federal personal identity verification ID card reader, a monitor, stand and UV light.

It’s important to note that passengers must have their REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or another acceptable form of identification (including U.S. passports) in order to travel after October 1, 2021, the REAL ID deadline. CAT units won’t accept non-REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses after that date.

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