See Where Big Brother Has Been Watching You Fly

The Budget Travel blog tells you how to get your Homeland Security Automated Targeting System files which include your international travel activity since 2002.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is required by law to make your records available to you, with some exceptions. Your request must be made in writing on paper and be signed by you.

Ask to see the “information relating to me in the Automated Targeting System.” Say that your request is “made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552).” Add that you wish to have a copy of your records made and mailed to you without first inspecting them.

Your letter should, obviously, give reasonably sufficient detail to enable an official to find your record. So supply your passport number and mailing address. Put a date on your letter and make a copy for your own records. On your envelope, you should conspicuously print the words “FOIA Request.”

It should be addressed to “Freedom of Information Act Request,” U.S. Customs Service, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20229. Be patient. I had wait for up to a year to receive a copy of my records.

Then if you believe there’s an error in your record, ask for a correction by writing a letter to the Customer Satisfaction Unit, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Room 5.5C, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m guessing a request from a Canadian would be met by a quick rejection? What is the word on non-American citizens asking for their file? I’m guessing we’re not covered under the same freedom of information protections as US citizens are.

  2. Actually as a foreigner you can make the request. I’m British and going for US citizenship. I needed to make the request to meet the ridiculous requirement of listing every trip abroad in the last 5 years AND the duration of each trip. I travel frequently and have no easy way of tracking where I went and for how long. Using the FOIA is actually the government recomended way of obtaining that data.

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