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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

How does the imaging technology screening process work?

You will be asked to remove all items from your pockets (including non-metallic items) and walk into the imaging portal. Once inside, you are required to stand in position and remain still for a few seconds while the technology creates an image in real time. You will then exit the opposite side of the portal and collect your belongings. The entire process takes a matter of seconds.

Millimeter wave imaging technology uses harmless electromagnetic waves to detect potential threats, which are highlighted on a generic outline of a person appearing on a monitor attached to the unit. If there isn’t an alarm, an “OK” appears on the screen with no outline.