Travel to and from the United States

When you fly to or from the United States, special rules apply. If you are not required to have a visa, you will need an ESTA travel authorisation.

When booking your flight

The ‘Secure Flight program’ of the United States government requires airlines to register some personal data at the moment of booking your flight. This ‘Secure Flight data’ includes your gender, date of birth and your first and family name exactly as stated in your passport.

We are required to pass this information of all our passengers to the United States’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at least 72 hours before departure. If you book your flight within 72 hours before departure, we will send the ‘Secure Flight’ information at the time of booking.

TSA Pre Check

KLM is participating in the TSA Pre✓® (TSA Pre Check) programme of the US Transportation Security Administration. This is accessible for passengers departing from or travelling within the United States. If you want to benefit from TSA Pre Check on your connecting flight within the United States, you must always re-print your boarding pass upon arrival at the first US airport.

Once you have applied and have been approved to be a member of the TSA Pre Check programme, the TSA Pre Check logo or text “TSA PRE” will appear on your boarding pass. You will still have to undergo a quick security check at a dedicated TSA line, currently available at 200 US airports. However, you don’t need to remove your shoes, electronic devices, liquids, belts and light jackets.

Registrate and read more about TSA Pre✓®

Currently it is not yet possible to enter your TSA Known Traveler Number online. Please contact KLM Service Center to add the number to your booking.

Advance Passenger Information

If you travel to the United States, we are required to collect various personal data. We recommend you provide this Advance Passenger Information (API) as early as possible:

  • to your travel agent
  • via My Trip
  • during online check-in, from 24 hours up to 1 hour before departure.
  • at a kiosk at the airport. If you depart from an airport where you can only check in at the desk, our staff will register the data on your passport.


The API data includes:

  • Family name and first name
  • Date of birth and gender
  • Passport number
  • Country that issued the passport
  • Passport expiry date
  • Nationality
  • Country of residence
  • Temporary address where you will be staying. This address must include the house number, street, city/town, abbreviation used for the state, and the zip code.


ESTA travel authorisation

Residents of countries Under the Visa Waiver Programme may travel to the United States without having to request a visa. However, they will need to apply for a supplementary travel authorisation (ESTA). Without ESTA travel authorisation, these travellers will not be allowed to board their flight to the United States.

Passengers from all countries need to have ESTA travel authorization to be able to check in online or at a kiosk at the airport for their flight to the United States.

You can either apply directly, at the official website of USA Customer and Boarding Protection or let our partner CIBT take care of everything for you for a fee.

Read more about ESTA and Visa Waiver Programme countries

Baggage to/from the United States

  • Due to the need to inspect baggage, you are not permitted to lock your hold baggage unless with a TSA approved lock. You can buy these locks at many suitcase stores.