Advertiser Disclosure: This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers.

I recently flew from Houston to Cancun in United Business Class and noticed something very strange: my grandparents who were travelling with me got TSA Pre-Check… and they aren’t U.S. residents/citizens and just have a U.S. Visa from Poland and a Polish Passport.

To be clear:

  • I booked my reservation separately after they booked theirs since I didn’t know if I was going to go
  • None of the two reservations were linked in any way
  • They are not frequent flyers (though did have their Miles & More numbers in the system)
  • They aren’t U.S. residents/citizens or members of any trusted traveller programme
  • Our last names are different (not that it should matter)

How in the world did they get Pre-Check? Obviously I had it so we all went through the Pre-Check line and cleared security in no time. I’m really puzzled about this since I know that U.S. citizens sometimes get randomly selected for Pre-Check even if they are not frequent flyers… but Polish citizens who have no relationship with the U.S. government except a U.S. Visa?

The TSA Website mentions nothing about non-U.S. residents getting Pre-Check, so I have no clue how my grandparents got it. If anyone knows why this happened and can explain it, it would be awesome since I have absolutely no clue.

Q. Who is eligible for TSA Pre✓®?

A. Travelers that are eligible for TSA Pre✓® include:

  • U.S. citizens of frequent flyer programs who meet TSA-mandated criteria and who have been invited by a participating airline.
  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents with a Known Traveler Number (KTN), sometimes referred to as a trusted traveler number.
  • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are members of the TSA Pre✓® application program.
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves, and National Guard.
  • Department of Defense and U.S. Coast Guard civilian employees.
  • Members of the following U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveler programs:
    • All members of Global Entry.
    • U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and Canadian citizens who are members of NEXUS.
    • U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are members of SENTRI.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.