TSA and U.S. Customs Guidance for Travelers for the 2019 Sukkot Holiday

Posted on October 11, 2019 In Blog, Press Releases, Resources, Holiday Travel

TRAVELING FOR SUKKOT

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have released their guidelines for travelers carrying Lulavim and Etrogim.

Approved Guidance for Sukkot Holiday 2019 (for public use)

The estimated travel period for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot is from September 29, 2019 through October 27, 2019. The holiday begins October 13 (after sundown) until October 20th (after nightfall). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) understands that observant Jewish
travelers entering the United States during the Sukkot holiday might carry religious items
(ethrogs, palm fronds, twigs of willow and myrtle) in their vehicles if arriving at land border
ports of entry, or in their personal baggage if they are arriving by aircraft. These items are
regulated to prevent the introduction of invasive pests and diseases; however, these items might
be allowed into the United States after inspection by CBP Agriculture Specialists. Thus, the
following guidance is provided for travelers:

Ethrogs:
 Personal shipments of ethrogs are allowed entry through North Atlantic and Northern Pacific ports of entry after inspection by CBP Agriculture Specialists. North Atlantic ports are defined as Atlantic ports north of and including Baltimore; ports on the Great
Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway; Canadian border ports east of and including North Dakota; Andrews Air Force Base, Andrews Air Force base and Washington, D.C. (including Dulles) for air shipments. Northern Pacific ports are defined as Pacific ports north of California including Alaska, Canadian border ports west of and including Montana, excluding Hawaii.
 Travelers will be asked to open the container with the ethrog and unwrap it. The Agriculture Specialist will inspect the ethrog. If either insect stings or pests are found, the ethrog will be prohibited from entering the United States. If neither is found, the traveler will be allowed to rewrap and re-box the ethrog for entry into the United States.
Palm Fronds:
 Single palm fronds, for religious purposes, will be inspected by Agriculture Specialists and released if no pests or symptoms of disease are found.
Twigs of Willow:
 If the twigs of willow are from Europe, they will be prohibited from entering the United States. If they are from other than Europe, they will be inspected by Agriculture Specialists and released if no pests or symptoms of disease are found.
 Also, if the twigs of willow are green in color, have soft tissue present, or have buds that sprouted, then they are capable of being grown and are prohibited from entering the United States.
Twigs of Myrtle:
 Twigs of myrtle will be inspected by Agriculture Specialists and released if no pests or symptoms of disease are found.
If travelers have any concerns resulting from the inspection of their religious items at a port of entry, a CBP Supervisor is always available to answer questions and address their concerns. As always, CBP is committed to treating all travelers, including travelers who may be observing
Sukkot, with respect and dignity at all U.S. ports of entry.

The Transportation Security Administration is committed to ensuring access and serving all persons with dignity and respect.
If you are enrolled in a trusted traveler program (TSA Pre✓®, Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI), enter your known traveler number or PASS ID when making airline reservations. When you check in for a flight, look for the TSA Pre✓® boarding pass indicator.

We are aware and respect that traveling practitioners of the Jewish faith may be wearing traditional clothing and headwear considered loose fitting and bulky, which may require additional screening.

WHAT TO KNOW

• Signing-Up for TSA Pre✓®
o Apply online at TSA.gov.
o You will go through a background check where your identification and citizenship will be verified, among other things. Make sure all of
the information on your identification is exactly the same. Inconsistent information can delay the process.
o Then you’ll get a Known Traveler Number (KTN). You have to enter in your KTN every single time you make a reservation, otherwise
you will not get the benefit of TSA Pre✓®.
o As one of many layers of TSA security, you may, on occasion, be randomly selected to receive additional screening.

• Making Reservations:
o TSA requires airlines to collect a traveler’s full name, date of birth, gender, and redress number (if applicable) to significantly decrease
the likelihood of watch-list misidentification. TSA verifies a traveler’s identification through Secure Flight.
o You are encouraged to book your reservation such that the reservation information matches the full name, date of birth, and gender on the
government issued identification (ID) that you will use for travel, as well as your Known Traveler Number (KTN) if you have signed-up
for TSA Pre✓®. For additional information about identification documents, visit the Identification page on TSA.gov here.
o On arrival to the security checkpoint, you must present your government-issued ID that has the same name as the one on your boarding
pass to the TSA Officer who will verify that the names on the ID and boarding pass match, and that the photo on the ID matches you.

• The Contact Center (TCC):
o The Contact Center (TCC) is a toll-free helpline, 1-866-289-9673 or Federal Relay #711, available for travelers to ask questions about
screening or to request help at the checkpoint. You may call from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
weekends and holidays.
o If you would like to arrange assistance at the checkpoint, TSA recommends that you call at least 72 hours ahead of travel so that The
Contact Center (TCC) has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support. Checkpoint support may include coordination with a
Passenger Support Specialist (PSS). Each airport has different resources; therefore, the level of assistance you receive at the checkpoint
will vary. Some airports have an individual who will call you to gather additional information and arrange a meeting time and place.
Other locations notify the checkpoint manager of your itinerary, but no pre-contact is made.
o If you arrive at the checkpoint and have any concerns before, during, or after the screening process, you should immediately request to
speak with a Supervisory Transportation Security Officer (STSO) or a PSS for assistance.

• Planning Your Trip:
o Arrive early to allow time for security screening.
o Communicate your specific needs (e.g., religious headwear, sacred delicate/fragile items, sensitive items or body areas) to the TSA Officer before screening begins to have a smooth airport screening experience.
o Some observant Jewish travelers may be carrying the four plants used during Sukkot – a palm branch, myrtle twigs, willow twigs, and a
citron – in airports, through security checkpoints, or on airplanes. These plants or agricultural items are not on TSA’s Prohibited Items
List. However, all persons and property will undergo security screening at the checkpoint.
o The 3-1-1 liquids rule for carry-ons allows each traveler to have liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes in quantities of 3.4 ounces
(100ml) or less per container; in 1 quart sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; and in one bag.
o This rule does not apply to medically-necessary liquids for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. However, you will need to
declare medically-necessary liquids for inspection at the checkpoint, and officers may need to conduct additional screening of these
items.
• Walk-Through Metal Detectors (WTMD):
o You may be chosen to be screened by a Walk Through Metal Detector (WTMD), most commonly in the TSA Pre✓ ® lane.
o You cannot request WTMD screening instead of receiving screening via the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) or a pat-down.
o Learn more about Walk Through Metal Detectors at TSA.gov.

• Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT):
o You are eligible to be screened via Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) if you are able to stand, walk through the machine, and stand
holding your hands above your head for five to seven seconds without support. If there is an alarm, you may need to stand for additional
time to resolve the alarm.
o If you do not want to be screened by AIT, or are ineligible, you may request a pat-down. A reminder – you may not request screening
using the Walk Through Metal Detector.
o The AIT has software that protects individual privacy, eliminating traveler-specific images by auto-detecting potential threats, which are
shown on a generic outline of a person on a screen located after you exit the machine. You can see this as well. The generic outline is
identical for all travelers. If there is an alarm indicated on the generic outline, TSA Officers are trained to clear the alarm, not the
individual. Additional screening is conducted to determine whether a prohibited item is present.
o You may always request a private screening at any time if a pat-down is needed to resolve an alarm.
o TSA is committed to ensuring effective and efficient security screening, while treating all travelers with dignity and respect.
o Learn more about Advanced Imaging Technology at TSA.gov.

• Pat-Downs:
o You may opt-out of the screening technology and receive a pat-down.
o You will undergo a pat-down if any screening technology alarms, or if you are randomly chosen for pat-down screening.
o When conducted, the pat-down will be performed by a TSA Officer of the same gender as you present.
o You can request a private screening at any time and may be accompanied by a companion of your choosing.
o You can request a chair if you need to sit down.
o You may request that the TSA Officer change his or her gloves, prior to conducting the pat-down.
o A pat-down may include inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs, and feet. This includes head coverings, hair, and sensitive body
areas such as breasts, groin, and the buttocks. You may be required to adjust clothing during the pat-down. This includes head coverings
such as your religious headwear. You may request private screening if your headwear alarms, and you need to remove it, to be cleared
for travel. The TSA Officer will advise you of the procedure to help you anticipate any actions before you feel them.

• Pat-downs require sufficient pressure to ensure detection.
 You may request private screening and that the TSA Officer change gloves prior to conducting the pat-down.

• TSA Officers use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.
o Learn more about pat-downs at TSA.gov.

• Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) Screening:
o TSA Officers may swab your personal property or hands, and then use Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) technology to test for explosive
particles. This is not a drug test.
o Travelers may request a new swab prior to their hands being sampled.

WHAT TO REMEMBER:

• Packing: Separate medically-necessary liquids and equipment from other belongings so they can be quickly identified and accessed for
screening.

• Known Traveler Number (KTN): Enter your known traveler number when you book your flight to get TSA Pre✓® (PreCheck) benefits.

• Companion: You can be accompanied by a companion of your choosing to provide assistance during the screening process. However, the
companion must be re-screened after providing assistance that involves physical contact.

• Body Piercing: Certain metal body piercings may cause the machines to alarm, which will result in additional screening. If additional
screening is required, passengers may be asked to remove their body piercing.

• Gift Wrapping: You should refrain from wrapping gifts until arriving at your final destination. If a TSA Officer needs to inspect a wrapped gift, it may have to be unwrapped.

TSA Pre✓® (PreCheck) Standard Screening
If you have TSA Pre✓® (PreCheck) on your boarding pass:
o Proceed to the TSA Pre✓® (PreCheck) line;
o Present your boarding pass and government-issued ID to the TSA travel document checker;
o The TSA travel document checker will verify your identification and scan your boarding pass barcode and confirm
that you are eligible for this lane.
During the screening process:
o Generally, TSA Pre✓® lines are shorter and have shorter wait times. Find out when TSA Pre✓®lanes are available at your
airport at TSA Pre✓® Checkpoint Schedule.
o If eligible, you may be screened using Advanced Imaging Technology or Walk Through Metal Detector. If not, you may be screened using a pat-down.
You are required to remove:
o Medically Necessary LGA over 3.4 ounces (from accessible property)
You are not required to remove:
o Shoes
o Jackets
o 3-1-1 compliant bag
o Laptop and large electronics from carry-on
o CPAP/BPAP

It is recommended that you remove items from your pockets to expedite the screening process and minimize the need for additional
screening.

If you do not have TSA Pre✓® (PreCheck) on your boarding pass:
o Proceed to the standard screening line;
o Present your boarding pass and government-issued ID to the TSA travel document checker;
o The TSA travel document checker will verify your identity and scan your boarding pass barcode. During the screening process:
o Generally, travelers experience longer lines depending on the
day, date, and time of travel.
o If eligible, you may be screened using Advanced Imaging Technology or Walk Through Metal Detector. If not, you may be
screened using a pat-down. You are required to remove:
o Shoes;
o Jackets/Coats; and
o 3-1-1 compliant bag of liquids, gels, and aerosols.
You are required to separate:
o Medically-necessary liquids;
o Electronics the size of a cell phone and larger;
o CPAP/BPAP

It is recommended that you remove items from your pockets to expedite the screening process and minimize the need for additional screening.

Sources:
https://files.constantcontact.com/4194289d301/dcdafd5b-6af1-4290-8023-233503ad5e30.pdf
https://files.constantcontact.com/4194289d301/31ff3877-75c4-43ed-99cd-6158b7ef216f.pdf