Do You Need a Passport to Fly to the United States?

2023-01-22 03:47:09 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Can You Fly If Your Driver's License or ID Card Was Lost or Stolen? The quick answer is "Yes," but there's more to it than that.

You're in a tense situation: you need to show government-issued photo identification at the airport, but you can't seem to locate any of the documents you normally carry that would serve this purpose. It has been misplaced or stolen. Good news: if you're 18 or older, you won't necessarily be denied boarding if you can't show identification.

Can you fly without ID or a Drivers License

Airport Identification Verification

The Ability to Travel Within the Country Without Identification

You can still board a domestic US flight, but you'll need to go through a more thorough identity and security check with the TSA. In conclusion, if you have lost or had your government-issued photo ID stolen, you do not need it to fly domestically. There is a prerequisite, though, so keep reading to find out

You're getting ready to leave the house but can't locate a photo ID, such as a driver's license, and you're already out and about but can't seem to locate it. Because the TSA knows you can't get a new ID while you're away, they'll do their best to verify your identity so you can board the plane even if yours goes missing while you're abroad.  

Following These Steps Is Necessary If You Must Fly Without Proper Identification

First, you should get to the airport much earlier than usual because the additional security checks will take more time. It's suggested that you get up two hours earlier
(2) Bring as many additional forms of identification with photographs as you can.

Third, a skycap cannot assist with luggage check-in at the curb; this must be done inside the airport at the check-in counter. 4 Explain the situation in detail to a TSA manager by requesting their assistance.

5 Get your boarding pass printed out ahead of time.

Let's start with some context.

Over-18s are required to show a government-issued photo ID at check-in.   Valid identification is required at check-in and includes a valid military ID, driver's license, passport, or passport card. An international passport is valid for domestic travel. Your best bet is to call your airline and speak to a customer service rep about its particular policies. Make sure a notation is made in your file describing your predicament. Keep in mind that some domestic airlines are more relaxed about identification requirements than others; however, international flights may require more documentation, including a passport. Some airlines, like Southwest and United, require passengers to show a valid government-issued photo ID at check-in. However, some other carriers offer more wiggle room.  

For those times when you can't bring your driver's license or State ID card with you on your trip, the TSA has a page with details about the acceptable forms of identification that can be used at TSA checkpoints. A helpful resource is the TSA webpage titled "What types of ID can be used at TSA checkpoints." Be sure to check out the final paragraph, where we go over the various other forms of identification that can be used at TSA checkpoints.

The TSA blog post titled "TSA Travel Tips Tuesday — Can You Fly Without an ID?" is another helpful resource for learning which forms of ID are accepted at TSA checkpoints.

Q How Do I Know If I Can Fly Without Identification?

Answer Those over the age of 18 traveling on this service must present a valid U. S ID with your picture and personal information like birth date, gender, expiration date, and tamper-proof features that was issued by the federal government or a state government. If you are unable to present your primary form of identification due to its loss or expiration, the TSA may accept an alternate form of identification. Some of the documents you can use to prove your identity are detailed in the list below. Check out this CBS report and the video that goes along with it for more details.  

Last but not least, here is a selection of alternatives to ID that can be used at TSA checkpoints. Please bring as many of the items listed below as possible so that we can verify your identity and where you live. For domestic flights, you can verify your identity with the TSA using these documents.

  • Identification documents issued by the government that have expired
  • Charges for essential services
  • Prescriptions
  • A library card (with a photo, as a TSA spokesperson is rumored to have said)
  • Non-government issued but photo-equipped Costco membership card.
  • Security badges for the workplace (with a photo, ideally).
  • Mobile device ID photo (always carry a photo of your driver's license).
  • A lost or stolen passport or wallet reported to the police
  • Valid Student ID
  • Checkbooks
  • Pictures on business cards
  • Printed periodicals (with a mailing address)

Is Identification Required to Fly Internationally?

A valid passport is required for any international flight. Airlines and airport authorities will only accept this form of government identification. There is simply no escaping it. In the event that you misplace your passport while abroad, you will need to visit an American consulate or embassy to have a new one issued before you can return home. Make sure your passport has at least six months remaining on it after your return date before leaving on an international trip. Only land and sea ports of entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda are acceptable for use of the passport card to enter the United States.

Q What other forms of identification can I use if I lose my primary form of identification while abroad?

Answer It is easier to travel within a country than it is to leave the country. If you don't have a government-issued photo ID, like a driver's license, any other form of identification will have to do. Travelers must bring two forms of identification, including a photo ID and another form of government-issued identification. A passenger's name must appear on the documents. Date of birth, gender, address, or a photograph must also appear on one of the documents. After confirming your identity, the TSA will issue you a boarding pass and a note to explain why you didn't bring identification. To learn more, take a look at the TSA ID Requirements for Airport Checkpoints.

The Procedures That The TSA Uses To Verify Your Identity

The TSA can verify your identity with the help of public databases, so you should be able to board the plane. Due to the length of time required for this process, please plan to arrive two hours prior to your scheduled departure.

Before boarding, a TSA agent will need to verify your identity. The TSA agent will request information that can be used to verify your identity, such as your name, current address, and date of birth. This may take some time.

You should report any criminal activity or loss of identification documents while abroad at the nearest police station. If you go to the police station and file a report, you can usually go on your trip. Please remember to bring a copy of the report with you to the airport to show the TSA agents and the airport staff. In order to prove that you do not have access to your legal identification, you should present a police report.

But if you don't have a driver's license, don't worry; there are other ways the TSA can confirm your identity. Get your hands on a photo ID that can be verified, whether it's an expired driver's license or a passport. Keep in mind that fake government IDs can still help establish your identity. Having a photo of your driver's license on your phone can come in handy here.

Before you leave, make sure you have a backup plan in case your identification is stolen or lost.

1. Keep your credit cards, driver's license, and other valuables photographed and their corresponding ID numbers stored in your phone.
It's possible to take photocopies of your license and passport with you when you travel. Place them someplace safe, like a photo album or an email to yourself, from which you can easily retrieve the information. Use a passcode to safeguard your phone's data. Make sure a trusted family member or friend has a copy and can email or fax it to you or the authorities in case of an emergency if you don't know how to use a cell phone.
Third, always have an extra set of photo identification on hand, both at home and when you're out and about. Don't put the duplicate in your wallet in case it gets stolen; instead, stow it away safely in your checked baggage. )

An Exit Strategy for Boarding a Plane Without Identification

If you're unable to do so at the airport, make sure you've printed your airline boarding passes from the convenience of your own home or the hotel's kiosk. You can't really rely on them, but they help establish your identity until you can. Take precautions against the loss or theft of your valuables by using an Anti-Theft Document Organizer. We recommend hidden waist wallets or clothing-attached wallets to keep your identification documents, cash, and credit cards secure and within easy reach while traveling.

Remember to allow for additional time at security checkpoints if you are traveling with any of the aforementioned items. However, TSA reserves the right to refuse entry to the airport if any of the above documents are presented. TSA employees are sympathetic to the fact that you might have your wallet stolen or go missing.

Security equipment for carrying your identification close to your person

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