TSA using state-of-the art identity verification technology, accepting mobile driver licenses at SLC security checkpoint

Local Press Release
Thursday, March 9, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) has deployed the next generation of Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) to verify the identity of travelers.

First generation CAT units are designed to scan a traveler’s photo identification, confirm the traveler’s identity as well as their flight details. The new CAT units, referred to as CAT-2, have the same capabilities, but are also equipped with a camera that captures a real-time photo of the traveler.

CAT-2 compares the traveler’s photo on the identification credential against an in-person, real-time photo. Once the CAT-2 confirms the match, a TSA officer will verify and the traveler can proceed to security screening, without ever exchanging a boarding pass. TSA officers can perform additional passenger verification if needed.

“We are pleased to bring the latest in identification verification technology to SLC. Confirming the identity of a traveler is key element of TSA’s security mission,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Utah Matt Davis. “SLC is the first airport in the country to have CAT-2 units deployed throughout the security checkpoint. We pledge to continue to invest in technologies that are designed to make the TSA operation more effective and efficient”.  

“TSA’s use of CAT-2 is a screening enhancement that will improve our passenger’s experience from curb to gate,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director, Salt Lake City International Airport. “We appreciate the partnership with TSA in keeping at SLC on the cutting edge of security screening technology.”

Photos captured by CAT units are never stored or used for any other purpose than immediate identity verification by a TSA officer. Travelers who do not wish to participate in the facial matching process can opt out in favor of an alternative identity verification process. 

As an added convenience, the CAT-2 units at SLC are equipped with readers that allow TSA PreCheck-eligible travelers to use mobile driver licenses or photo IDs for TSA identity verification purposes.

Last week, the Utah Driver License Division announced that state residents could download the GET Mobile ID app on an Android or iOS device and obtain a mobile version of their Utah driver license or photo identification card. The GET Mobile ID app can be used anywhere mobile driver license credentials are accepted including the security checkpoint at SLC. Residents should continue to carry their physical driver license or photo ID.

Within the past year, state driver licensing offices in Arizona, Maryland and Colorado began offering a similar capability to their residents who have a current, valid state-issued driver license or photo ID. Residents of these states are able to add their mobile ID to Apple Wallet and tap their iPhone or Apple Watch on a CAT-2 mobile reader at select airports in lieu of providing a physical driver license or photo ID for identity verification with the TSA.

There are multiple CAT-2 units with mobile readers in use at SLC’s security checkpoint. These units can read mobile credentials from any of the four states that are offering them to their residents at this time as well as the Delta Air Lines Biometric Facial Identification credential and GET mobile driver licenses.

CAT plays an important role in passenger identity verification. It improves a TSA officer’s ability to authenticate a guest’s photo identification while also identifying inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents.

TSA continues to integrate new technologies into its identity verification process. Read more about these programs at www.tsa.gov/mobile-id.