Ask the CCLA: I’m on the US no-fly list, now what?

May 16, 2015

I was recently told I’m on the ‘No Fly List’ of the US. I would appreciate your help or connecting me to some helpful resources so I can understand this.

Getting support with this issue depends on whether you’re on the US no fly list or have only been misidentified (you have the same name as someone on the no fly list).

What to do if you believe there is a mistake or you believe your name is the same as someone on the US No-fly list:

For individuals whose names are the same or similar to persons on the list, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides a mechanism for redress.  The DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) helps resolve difficulties resulting from name similarities by providing a “redress control number” that allows systems to prevent misidentifications from happening.  Information on the program is available here.

To make a redress request one can read instructions at .  When you complete the online form, DHS TRIP determines whether a redress request concerns an exact or near match to the watch list, and if so, forwards the complaint to the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). TSC determines whether the individual is on the watch list, consults with any relevant agencies, and makes a final decision as to whether the person should remain on the list.

DHS TRIP responds to the individual with a letter that neither confirms nor denies the existence of any terrorist watch list records relating to the individual.  You should know that the letter does not confirm or deny whether you have been included on the No Fly List, whether you remain on it, or whether you can fly in the future. The government also refuses to provide any notice or reason for inclusion on the No Fly List or a meaningful hearing at which you can clear your name.  This often leads to confusion by the applicant even if their redress application has been accepted.

It is important when you send the form to keep the “redress control number” you are given.  If DHS approves of your case, this number must be used in the future to avoid misidentification. Note that it is very important to read the information on the DHS TRIP website very carefully in order to become familiar with their process and the requirements of making a Redress Inquiry. 

Unfortunately, currently, the only way to discover if you have been removed from the No Fly List or not after following this procedure is by purchasing an airline ticket and attempting to board.

What to do if you are actually on the US no-fly list:

If you were specifically placed on the no-fly list, rather than misidentified with someone else, the situation is more complicated.  The DHS TRIP does not remove anyone from the no fly list, since only the agency that placed the individual on the list can do this, but rather it is designed to pre clear persons whose names are the same or similar to persons on the list.

In order to be removed from the no-fly list itself, one has to appeal directly to the Appellate Federal court and the process has been subject to ACLU litigation (which you can learn about here). The American Civil Liberties Union has put together a “know your rights” fact sheet for individuals who think they are on the US no fly list, including information specifically for US citizens.  It is available here.

You can read more about the ACLU’s work on the US no fly list at this site. You might also benefit from contacting the ACLU directly since they are heavily involved in this issue and would be more intimately familiar with U.S. government procedures. 

They would also be more likely to point you to a lawyer who does work on this issue.  You can contact the ACLU by mail at 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004, United States Or call: 212-549-2500.  The ACLU has been collecting complaints about the TSA.  If you would like to make a complaint to the ACLU, please fill out the form on their website.

We hope that you find this information helpful. The information provided is current to January 2017, and consists of general legal information. It is not legal advice. CCLA does not take responsibility for information found on external websites, even where we have provided links to that information. Everyone’s legal situation is different. If you are facing a legal issue, we recommend that you seek independent legal advice. You can find a list of legal clinics and other resources to help you here.