I'm trying to determine whether foreigners (tourists etc, not resident) are required to show their foreign passport as ID when checking in and going through TSA checks when flying domestic within the USA, even if they hold US issued ID such as Trusted-Traveler cards (SENTRI, Global Entry, etc).

This (non government) website says

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) checkpoints will require all foreign nationals to show a valid passport when traveling domestically.

However this TSA page says that Trusted Traveler cards are acceptable (and doesn't appear to limit that to US citizens/residents etc.)

Adult passengers 18 and older must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.

Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) Beginning May 3, 2023, if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S., make sure it is REAL ID compliant. If you are not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your state department of motor vehicles.

  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • An acceptable photo ID issued by a federally recognized, Tribal Nation/Indian Tribe HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

As a foreigner, can I use a US issued ID such as a Trusted Traveler card to fly domestic within the US? My uncertainty is whether the TSA page is primarily referring to US citizen travelers (without specifically saying so) as I have mostly heard that I need to use a passport (such as the first website, and others I have seen over time, says)

I am aware that I will still need to carry my passport with me, but feel it would be easier to just pull out my SENTRI card with my boarding pass and leaving my passport safe and secure with my other valuables in my carry-on.

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    Pull the SENTRI card and then pull the passport if the agent asks for it, what's the problem? Are you going to argue with the TSA about "what's required" if your passport is with you anyway?
    – littleadv
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 0:28
  • @littleadv I do that at the border already - every time they (CBP) see the passport they ask to see the passport. If they don't see the passport it's sometimes asked for and sometimes not. At the airport I'd prefer not to be holding my passport, but I already have my wallet with my SENTRI card handy. Yes it's entirely for convenience. I guess next time I could just present my SENTRI and have the passport in my back pocket if they refuse it, but I'm hoping for a more definitive yes or no
    – Midavalo
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 1:04
  • 1
    "I am aware that I will still need to carry my passport with me": in general there is no need to carry your passport. The law states that you must have your "alien registration receipt" if one has been issued to you. A self-printed copy of the I-94 record fulfills this requirement.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 8:33
  • 3
    Ack, I just read that non-government web page. It is full of inaccurate and nonsensical statements. You should discount it entirely.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 10:05
  • 2
    Not only are you not required to present a passport to TSA for domestic flights; you aren't even required to do so for international flights. (Of course, the airline is unlikely to allow you to board an international flight without a passport, unless you meet one of the exceptions.)
    – Brian
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 12:20

1 Answer 1


The TSA website, as far as I'm aware, correctly states the TSA policy: any of those documents is acceptable for use by anyone who legally has any of them. I'd certainly trust it over the unsourced and unofficial "passport today" site. (Some of the documents on the list, such as an Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card are, in fact, not generally available to US citizens resident in the US).

Immigrants Rising, which is not authoratative but at least has lawyers on staff, says that even people who are "undocumented" in the US can use any of the listed forms of ID to board a domestic flight if they have them; surely, visitors who are authorized to be temporarily in the US are also entitled to do so.

It is possible that a poorly trained TSA document checker relishing in the ability to exercise arbitrary authority could look at your SENTRI card closely enough to notice that you are not a US citizen and then, contra the TSA policy above, ask for your passport. In that case, if you have your passport in your carryon, you could find it and show it to them, and move on with your day. If you prefer, you could seek clarification from a supervisor at that point.

  • 3
    "Some of the documents on the list, such as an Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card are, in fact, not generally available to US citizens resident in the US": and US driver's licenses demonstrate residence in the US but say nothing about nationality. Similarly, Canadian driver's licenses are only available to nonresidents of the US, regardless of nationality.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 8:46
  • One more point to add: where it says "State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License" it refers to a license issued by one of the 50 US states (and DC?, Puerto Rico?), not a foreign state. This is a very US-centric description which can confuse foreigners. Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 21:29
  • @CrisLuengo That's kinda what prompted the question. Some things seem very US centric, so it makes me (a foreigner) uncertain when it comes to some of the other items listed
    – Midavalo
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 22:02
  • 1
    @Midavalo Yes, if it's written in the US, it's US centric. Americans have a hard time understanding the point of view of foreigners (or even understand that foreigners exist!). You tell them they're the only country in the world not using SI units, ISO paper sizes, or sensical date ordering, and they'll tell you they're the only country doing it right. :) Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 22:29
  • 1
    @ChrisLuengo actually there are only five states that issue enhanced driver's licenses.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 6:13

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