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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

Civil Enforcement

Prohibited Items

prohibited_items_reminder_smallPlanning ahead and packing properly can facilitate the screening process and ease your travel experience at the airport. Know what you can pack before arriving at the airport by checking the prohibited items list. Carrying prohibited items may cause delays for you and other travelers, but they may also lead to fines and sometimes even arrest.

Passengers may transport unloaded firearms in checked baggage if they are transported in a locked, hard-sided container and declared to the airline before traveling. Read the requirements for transporting firearms and ammunition. In addition, local and state governments, and other countries, may have their own rules on firearm possession or transportation. As a result, prohibited items may result in both a TSA civil enforcement action and a criminal enforcement action.

Before leaving home, remember to check your baggage to ensure you are not carrying any prohibited items to avoid a possible arrest and/or civil penalties.

Enforcement Sanctions Guidance

Individuals/Travelers

TSA may impose civil penalties of up to $13,066 per violation per person. This table outlines some of the penalties that may be imposed on individuals for prohibited items violations and violations of other TSA regulations. Repeat violations will result in higher penalties.

Security Violations by Individuals for Prohibited Items Discovered at Checkpoint/Sterile Area/Onboard Aircraft

Any flammable liquid or gel fuels, including gasoline, lighter fluids, cooking fuels; turpentine and paint thinners

$330 - $1,960

Axes and hatchets; bows and/or arrows; ice axes and ice picks; knives with blades that open automatically (such as switchblades); knives with blades that open via gravity (such as butterfly knives); any double-edge knives or daggers; meat cleavers; sabers; swords; and machetes throwing stars

$330 - $1,960

BB, pellet, and compressed-air guns; flare and starter pistols; realistic replicas of firearms (including gun lighters); permanently inert firearms; spear guns; stun guns, cattle prods, or other shocking devices

$330 - $1,960

Blasting caps; dynamite; gunpowder (more than 10 oz.); hand grenades; plastic explosives; all other high explosives

$7,840 - $13,066 + criminal referral

Consumer fireworks, novelty fireworks, professional display fireworks; flares; gunpowder (10 oz. or less)

$330 - $1,960 + criminal referral

Loaded firearms (or unloaded firearms with accessible ammunition)

$3,920 - $9,800 + criminal referral

Realistic replicas of explosives

$650 - $3,260 + criminal referral

Self-defense spray, tear gas

$330 - $1,960

Silencers, mufflers frames and/or receivers

$1,960 - 3,920 + criminal referral

Unloaded firearms

$1,960 - $3,920 + criminal referral

Security Violations for Prohibited Items Discovered in Checked Baggage

Any flammable liquid or gel fuels, including gasoline, lighter fluids, cooking fuels; turpentine and paint thinners

$330 - $1,960

Blasting caps; dynamite; gunpowder (more than 10 oz.); hand grenades; plastic explosives; all other high explosives

$7,840 - $13,066 + criminal referral

Consumer fireworks, novelty fireworks, professional display fireworks; flares; gunpowder (10 oz. or less)

$330 - $1,960 + criminal referral

Firearms - Loaded firearms

$1,310 - $2,610 + criminal referral

Realistic replicas of explosives

$330 - $1,960 + criminal referral

Undeclared and/or improperly packaged firearms

$650 - $1,310

Other Security Violations by Individuals or Persons

Attempt to circumvent a security system, measure, or procedure by the artful concealment of a non-explosive liquid, aerosol, or gel (other than those permitted)

$130 - $260

Entering sterile area without submitting to screening

$650 - $3,920

Failure to allow inspection of airman certificate, authorization, FAA license

$1,310 - $3,920

False threats

$1,310 - $3,920

Fraud and intentional falsification

$3,260 - $7,840 + criminal referral

Improper use of airport access medium

$650 - $3,920

Interference with screening (assault)

$9,800 - $13,066

Interference with screening (including physical contact)

$5,100 - $9,800

Interference with screening (non-physical)

$1,960 - $5,100

Tampering or interfering with, compromising, modifying, attempting to circumvent, or causing a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure. Includes the artful concealment of prohibited items (except for those prohibited items covered above)

$1,960 - $7,840

The Enforcement Sanction Guidance Policy in its entirety, including civil penalty ranges for regulated entities.

Voluntary Disclosure

Read the Voluntary Disclosure Policy for regulated entities. This policy directive relates to information and guidance that may be used by aircraft operators (except individuals), indirect air carriers, foreign air carriers, airports and flight training providers when voluntarily disclosing to TSA apparent violations of TSA regulations listed in paragraph II. The TSA Voluntary Disclosure Program does not apply to violations or apparent violations committed by individuals other than individuals as agents of covered regulated entities, under paragraph XI.

Civil Enforcement FAQ

Are prohibited items returned to the owner?

Federal law and operational considerations restrict the return of prohibited items that are left at the security checkpoint.

Do I need an attorney?

The choice to hire an attorney is solely your decision. You are afforded the options of requesting an Informal Conference or a Formal Hearing (see related questions below), with or without legal representation.

How can I contact the Special Enforcement Program Office after receiving a notice of violation?

All disputes or mitigating information specific to an individual case must be submitted to the Special Enforcement Program Office in writing. The preferred way to contact us is by email, at NOV.APO@dhs.gov. If you are unable to contact us by email, you can send your correspondence, in writing, to:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Special Enforcement Program Office (TSA-801)
601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598-6801

Please include your full name, TSA case number (in the notice of violation), and your contact information (e.g. telephone numbers, mailing address, email address).

How is my item considered a weapon, explosive, or incendiary?

The TSA interpretive rule found in the Federal Register (Vol. 68, No. 31) provides guidance to the public on the types of property TSA considers to be weapons, explosives, and incendiaries prohibited in airport sterile areas and in the cabins of aircraft under the TSA regulations. The interpretation also provides guidance on the types of items permitted in sterile areas, the cabins of passenger aircraft, and in passengers’ checked baggage. You may view the TSA interpretive rule in its entirety.

How was the penalty amount determined?

TSA’s civil penalty amounts are based on published Sanction Guidance. Proposed penalty amounts are generally set at the low end of each violation category range. In some cases, however, penalties may be higher based on aggravating circumstances present in the case (e.g. repeat violations). You read the TSA Sanction Guidance Table in its entirety. If you believe that you cannot afford the proposed amount, you may select Option 3 in the Options Sheet and follow the instructions provided.

I had a prohibited item at a security screening location. Will I be able to receive TSA Pre✓®?

Individuals who commit certain violations of Federal security regulations, such as interference with security operations, access control violations, providing false or fraudulent documents, making a bomb threat, or bring a firearm, explosive, or other prohibited items to an airport or on board an aircraft are be denied expedited screening for a period of time. The duration of disqualification for expedited screening will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and/or a repeated history of regulatory violations.

The notice of violation process and the TSA Pre✓® disqualification process are separate processes and are handled by different offices. Individuals with questions concerning their TSA Pre✓® status should contact the TSA Contact Center at (866) 289-9673. Individuals with questions concerning their notice should contact their case agent in the Special Enforcement Program Office. Your case agent will not be able to assist you with questions concerning your TSA Pre✓® status, and the TCC will not be able to help you with questions concerning your notice of violation. Learn more about TSA Pre✓®.

I have additional questions that were not addressed here regarding the notice of violation I received. Can I talk to someone?

You may contact the Special Enforcement Program Office at (571) 227-3994. Be prepared to leave a message providing your name, phone number, the case number and correct spelling of the individual who is listed on the notice of violation, and your case agent’s name. Your message will be directed to your case agent for a return call. It is the goal of TSA to return all calls within 72 hours; however, in the event of a delay, the date of your message will be taken into consideration.

I received a notice of violation, how do I pay the civil penalty?

You may submit your payment electronically through www.pay.gov, a secure website administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Select “DHS/TSA” on the “Find an Agency” page to access TSA civil penalty payments. Your TSA case number will begin with the number "2" and will consist of 11 characters.

You may also mail your payment with the payment page provided in your notice of violation to:

Transportation Security Administration
P.O. Box 530262
Atlanta, GA 30353-0262

If you are paying my check or money order, please make your payment payable to: Transportation Security Administration and write your case number and name on the check or money orders.

I was told at the airport that I would not be issued a civil penalty, why am I receiving a notice of violation?

TSA is unable to advise passengers/individuals at the time of the incident whether or not they will be assessed a civil penalty. When an incident occurs, the screening personnel forward the information to the TSA regulatory department to determine if a violation of the Transportation Security Regulations occurred. Once the investigation has concluded and it is determined that a violation did occur, the individual is notified by a notice of violation.

Is the notice of violation a criminal charge?

A notice of violation does not make any criminal charges against you; it is only a civil (non-criminal) monetary penalty for a regulatory violation. Any criminal action taken as a result of an incident would be handled separately by criminal prosecutors, and through separate notification. TSA does not decide which cases will be charged criminally.

What do I do after receiving a notice of violation?

You may respond to the notice of violation by choosing one of the five options listed in the options sheet that is attached to your notice. Instructions for submitting your response are contained in the options sheet.

All communications with TSA in regard to a specific notice of violation must be made in writing with an appropriate options sheet selection by either emailing NOV.APO@dhs.gov, or by mailing to:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Special Enforcement Program Office (TSA-801)
601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598-6801

Your response is due within 30 days of your receipt of the NOV.

What does 49 § 1540.105 say?

What does 49 § 1540.111 say?

What happens if I request a formal hearing?

What happens if I request an informal conference with a TSA official?

The informal conference is a meeting with a TSA official to discuss your case. It allows you to present information that you would like the TSA to consider before making a final decision. If you request an Informal Conference, a TSA official will be assigned to your case and will contact you to schedule and hold the Informal Conference. Further action is determined on a case-by-case basis and may vary based on the facts and circumstances of each case.

What if I don’t respond to the notice?

If you fail to respond to the notice of violation within 30 days of receipt, TSA will issue you a final notice. If you fail to respond to the final notice within 15 days of receipt, TSA will then assess against you the full civil penalty amount proposed in your NOV, and may refer this matter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury or to the U.S. Department of Justice for collection of this debt owed to the U.S. government.

What is a Notice of Violation?

A notice of violation is a notification by TSA of the initiation of a civil penalty action against an individual for an alleged violation of a security requirement outlined in the Transportation Security Regulations.

Why did I receive a notice of violation?

The notice of violation was sent to you because you are alleged to have violated a security requirement when you were at an airport.

Why is a 50 percent payment option offered?

This option is a settlement offer by the TSA in an effort to resolve this matter fairly and quickly.