Can You Fly Without an ID?
18.09.2023 - 18:29
Can you fly without an ID? If you have to ask, you're probably finding out the hard way. But what really happens if you lose your ID before a domestic flight—or show up to the airport, only to realize it isn't in your wallet? How about the too-late epiphany that your driver's license has officially expired?
The first step is to avoid panicking. You have a few options to still get through the security checkpoint and onto your plane for flights within the US.
There are several types of IDs that will work for boarding a domestic flight. Chances are, you have at least one of them at home or in your wallet, even if your driver's license mysteriously goes missing. If those aren't an option—or you're already at the airport—you can explain your situation to the TSA representatives at security, and they will likely work with you to get your identity verified through alternative means.
Here, we break down what types of IDs are allowed for domestic trips, how to get through security without an ID, and how the forthcoming Real ID law will change some of these protocols.
Read on for your complete guide to ID requirements for domestic flights.
A driver’s license is the most commonly used ID to get through security on a domestic flight. But there are several other IDs that are valid at the TSA checkpoint as well.
The TSA has a full list of all the IDs it will accept for domestic flights on its website. Many of the alternatives are federal IDs, like a US passport or passport card (yes, they work to board domestic flights, too!). You can also use an ID card from a federal “trusted traveler” program. These include Global Entry cards or those for the NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST programs. Permanent resident cards, foreign government-issued passports, and federal IDs issued by a Tribal Nation/Indian Tribe are also accepted.
If you’re in the process of renewing a driver’s license, however, be aware that the TSA does not permit temporary driver’s licenses to be used as an acceptable form of ID.
If you don’t have your ID with you when you get to the airport, TSA officers can likely work with you to confirm your identity in another way. Explain your circumstances to the TSA officer at the podium—and be sure you are polite and clear.
The officer will likely ask you to provide personal information that they’ll check against databases they have access to. This could include your name and current address, as well as other data specific to you. If the officers feel they have enough information to confirm your identity, they’ll allow you into the screening area. Once there, however, you will be subject to additional screening protocols, including a pat-down and a look-through of through any carry-on items.
The whole process—from