17

My understanding is that it's a more complex process, but once you're processed, it's much faster to get through airport screenings in future. Is it available to non US citizens as well, and if so, once approved, how long are you approved for?

  • It feels like I am the only one who never knew something like this existed. :( – Aditya Somani Apr 9 '14 at 1:58
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Yes and No.

There are a few different ways to get TSA Pre - each with it's own restrictions.

  • You can get access via your airline, particularly if you're a frequent flyer. Historically you had to specifically request to gain access via this means, however many airline now will automatically submit you for access. Check with your airline to see if there's a specific process, although this is likely only for US airlines. You do NOT need to be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident to get access this way (historically you technically did need to be, but it wasn't well enforced, and this restriction has recently been removed).

  • You can get access via Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS. These are programs generally designed for frequent travellers to make crossing specific borders (specifically the US/Canadian border) easier. Some non-US Citizens are able to join these programs, especially Canadian citizens. You do NOT need to be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident to get access this way, however access is only available to citizens from a very small list of countries.

  • You can get access via the TSA Pre Application Program, where you basically pay a fee to be screened and then given access to Pre. Currently you DO need to be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident to get access via this means.

  • If you are over 75 years old, or under 12 years old you will be given access. You do NOT need to be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident to get access this way.

As an Australian with high frequently flyer status with United Airlines I get Pre access the majority of times I fly (and have pretty much since the Pre program was introduced).

  • They might also randomly add it when in a group, I think. I was recently travelling in a group of three (one 70, one 77, and one 35) from international to various domestic US locations, and the 70-year-old had a TSA-Pre logo on all domestic passes except the final transfer before the international departure. No application necessary; no idea what triggered it. None of the travellers were US residents. – Miral Oct 14 '14 at 6:16
  • Very small clarification: while you can get NEXUS as a Canadian permanent resident that does not make you eligible for TSA Pre until you get citizenship. I know this first hand, I myself am in this middle. I will go on a limb and say this is because of the problems of verifying Canadian PR status outside of Canada. – chx Oct 2 '15 at 0:09
  • Since April 2015 you must have Known Traveler Number to enroll to TSA Pre, which means you have to be a citizen or a permanent resident - blog.tsa.gov/2014/06/… – JBaruch Dec 11 '15 at 23:16
  • @JBaruch I am a non-US citizen/non-PR, and I do not have a KTN, yet I still get Pre for about 50% of my flights in the US (down from maybe 90% before the change you're referencing) - most recently last Saturday. – Doc Dec 12 '15 at 1:17
3

As of August 2017 there are a number of ways for foreign citizens of certain countries to access the TSA Pre✓ program. Unfortunately, the details are a bit muddy.

The TSA's website states the following:

Can foreign citizens participate in TSA Pre✓®?

To be eligible to participate in TSA Pre✓®, foreign citizens must meet specific citizenship/residency requirements. Before you apply, we recommend that you review the various DHS trusted traveler programs such as the TSA Pre✓® Application Program, Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and determine the best program for you.

Global entry provides all the TSA Pre✓ benefits plus expedited processing in airports upon arrival in the U.S. from abroad. See this comparison table by the DHS.

The U.S. Customs and Border protection's website states the following about membership in the Global Entry program:

Can I join Global Entry if I am not a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident?

Global Entry is also available to citizens of the Netherlands who are enrolled in FLUX and Korean Smart Entry Service members. Citizens of Germany, Panama, and Mexico may also apply for Global Entry. Canadian NEXUS members have Global Entry benefits, but are not eligible to join.

Unhelpfully, a different page gives a different list of countries. And yet another page on the website gives a different list again. Based on what I can piece together the actual list is:

  • Argentina
  • Canada (through NEXUS)
  • Colombia
  • Germany
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands (see below)
  • Panama
  • Republic of Korea (through Smart Entry Service)
  • Singapore
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Taiwan is also listed on the Wikipedia page, but I couldn't find any official sources that confirmed they are part of the Global Entry program. It seems like there are plans for them to join but, as of yet, there is no concrete implementation date.

The FLUX program for Dutch citizens was discontinued as of January 2017, being replaced by the Registered Traveller Program Nederland, which is scheduled to start offering Global Entry eligibility starting in October 2017. Travellers who had previously been admitted under the FLUX program retain their benefits, but in the transition period no new members are admitted.

The information on NEXUS and SENTRI regarding access to TSA Pre✓ is a little conflicting. The DHS's comparison table suggests it is available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents (and Canadian citizens but not permanent residents for NEXUS), but the sections about these programs on the CBP's website suggest TSA Pre✓ is always included.

Note that there may also be restrictions based on the visa type foreign nationals are using (see the CBP's FAQ on Global Entry).

The DHS has also published an online tool to suggest a frequent traveller program based on your nationality and travel needs.

To your other questions: once approved to any of these programs your membership is valid for five years. And yes, the application process can be more complex for foreign nationals. Just like for TSA Pre✓, an in-person interview is conducted, and a background check is done. For some countries, applicants first need to be approved by their own national authorities before applying to the US CBP. This may involve another application fee, background check, etc.

3

I am an Indian citizen with Canadian PR and today I got my nexus approved. Following was explained to me during the interview- 1) I get nexus card 2) I get global entry too and can use it just like American citizen. I have to use my USA visa (h1b) page through global entry kiosks to login. 3) I get TSA Pre too with no limitation.

To summarize, You should have either Canadian PR or citizenship to get nexus which will give you both global entry and TSA Pre. If not, then you have to apply for global entry program which supports some 10 to 20 countries, then you get TSA Pre as part of it.

Please vote this up guys as there seems to be lot of miscommunication about this one. Let me know if anyone has any questions.

  • 2
    If you're a Canadian citizen (or eligible permanent resident), this is definitely the way to go. – Jim MacKenzie May 10 '18 at 21:15
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Short answer: Yes, if you're a US permanent resident or a citizen of the Canada, Netherlands, South Korea or Mexico, and apparently it's valid for five years.

TSA:

Who is eligible for TSA Pre✓™?

  • Canadian citizens who are members of NEXUS.
  • Foreign citizens who are members of Global Entry (see Global Entry eligibility) and not registered as a U.S. lawful permanent resident.

And while their link is broken, the trail of breadcrumbs leads to the CBP:

Global Entry is open to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Dutch citizens, South Korean citizens and Mexican nationals.

2

From the FAQ of Global Entry: http://www.cbp.gov/faqs/can-i-join-global-entry-if-i-am-not-us-citizen-or-us-lawful-permanent-resident

Global Entry is also available to citizens of the Netherlands who are enrolled in FLUX and Korean Smart Entry Service members. Citizens of Germany, Panama, and Mexico may also apply for Global Entry. Canadian NEXUS members have Global Entry benefits, but are not eligible to join.

  • Some more countries have been added since then, it would be good if you could update your answer to include them – Gagravarr Jan 7 '16 at 12:24

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