If you have specific a medical condition, disability, or unique travel needs, going through airport security can be a stressful experience.
Thankfully, the TSA realized this and introduced something called a TSA Notification Card to better help accommodate passengers needs and potentially expedite the screening process.
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Understanding the TSA Notification Card
The TSA Notification Card is a small card that is designed to fit in your wallet that you present to a TSA officer when you go through airport security to discretely communicate that you have a health condition, disability or medical device on you.
Imagine that you have a medical condition that isn’t immediately visible, such as an implanted medical device or a metal implant. Without the TSA Notification Card, you could face delays and have to explain why you keep on setting off the airport scanner every time you fly.
Should You Get One?
While a TSA Notification Card can benefit many individuals, we say that if you have a medical condition, disability, or otherwise unique circumstances that may affect your airport experience, using one is a must.
This can range from if you have a medical condition, mobility impairment, have an autism spectrum disorder, prosthetic device, or visual impairment.
According to the TSA, a TSA Notification Card is recommended in the following circumstances:
- Alzheimer’s, dementia, aphasia or brain injury
- Autism or intellectual disabilities
- Blind or low vision
- Deaf or hard of hearing
- Use of external medical devices (including an insulin pump, glucose monitor or other medical device attached to your body)
- Implants or internal medical devices
- Mobility disabilities, aids, and devices
- Prostheses, casts, slings, braces or support appliances
- Radioactive medication and materials
- Respiratory equipment
- Use of service dogs and animals
Benefits of the TSA Notification Card
There are several benefits to possessing a TSA notification card.
- You can maintain your privacy and dignity by discreetly conveying necessary information without the need to explain yourself verbally.
- You can minimize any misunderstandings and potential conflicts with TSA officers, as they obtain information upfront.
- You can save time and reduce stress, as you know that you can approach the screening process, confident in the knowledge that your card will assist in addressing your unique needs.
How to Obtain a TSA Notification Card
It couldn’t be easier to get a TSA Notification Card.
Visit this page, print the PDF, and state the disability or medical condition you have under “I have the following health condition, disability or medical device that may affect my screening.”
How to Present the Card
When you approach the security checkpoint, you should present your TSA Notification Card to the TSA officer responsible for screening.
While the card will provide the officer with important information about your condition, it can still be a good idea to communicate your specific needs to the TSA officer about what kind of accommodation or assistance you may need.
For example, if you have a medical condition that requires additional time or assistance during the screening, explaining this to the officer will make sure that they make the effort to provide a safe and comfortable experience.
Limitations of the Card
While the TSA Notification Card is undoubtedly helpful, note that it doesn’t guarantee that you will go through airport security more quickly, nor will you be exempt from security procedures.
The TSA clearly state that “I understand that alternate procedures providing an equivalent level of security screening are available and can be done in private. I also understand that presenting this card does not exempt me from screening”.
TSA Notification Card FAQs
Can the TSA Notification Card Be Used for International Travel?
If you are flying from the United States to an international destination, you can present the card to a TSA officer.
In other countries, especially if English is spoken, it can be helpful to present the card to discreetly communicate and make airport security personnel aware of your medical condition, disability, or unique travel needs.
Is the TSA Notification Card a government-issued ID?
The TSA Notification Card is not a government-issued ID. It is only intended to communicate your specific needs or medical conditions to TSA officers at airport security checkpoints
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).