Home Travel Can You Fly If You Don’t Have Your I.D.?

Can You Fly If You Don’t Have Your I.D.?

by SharonKurheg

You get to the airport for your cross country trip and have done everything you can to prepare to go through X-ray as  quickly and easily as possible. You’re all ready to go up to the TSA agent so you reach for your wallet to get your ID and…it’s gone. Was it stolen? Was it lost? Did you somehow leave it at home? Whatever happened to it, it doesn’t matter. The point is that it’s gone, your flight’s in 90 minutes and now you won’t be able to fly, right?

Well, maybe not all is lost.

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel. Those firms of ID include:

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential

Kids under 18 don’t have to show ID if they’re with a companion in the U.S.

Heads up that neither a weapon permit nor a temporary driver’s license are acceptable forms of ID. Also keep in mind that beginning Oct. 1, 2021 (previously Oct. 21, 2020 but, you know. COVID.), if you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly within the U.S., it HAS to be REAL ID compliant. If you’re not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your state department of motor vehicles.

Here’s what the TSA has to say if you don’t have your ID on you for whatever reason:

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You may be subject to additional screening, to include a patdown and screening of carry-on property.

You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you chose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.

TSA recommends that you arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time.

So there you go.

Although they don’t specify it, I doubt you’d be able to get through the TSA checkpoint if you’re traveling outside of the country and don’t have your passport. Or even if you could, you wouldn’t be able to get back in, because you’d need your passport to leave that country. But for flights that keep you within the U.S.? It should be possible, provided you pass the identity verification process and don’t cause a fuss during the additional screening.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Gabrielle Mercadante July 26, 2018 - 2:15 pm

It’s happened to me! They let me fly with my credit cards, it didn’t take much longer.

GUWonder February 15, 2021 - 6:26 am

Adults without any physical ID generally are not allowed to fly by the TSA unless the TSA clears the passenger following a passenger ID charade. And even after the adult clears the TSA’s identification charade game, the TSA can send such passengers to a haraSSSSment type screening, and it often does so based on any applied prejudices that the TSA thinks it can get away with applying.

The TSA is opposed to adults flying without identification, whether or not the identification is confirmed by a check of a physical ID document.

SharonKurheg February 15, 2021 - 11:44 am

I’m sorry you seem to be so angry about the whole process. For me, as long as we can get through, I’m good. <3

Steve February 15, 2021 - 8:17 am

Left my wallet in a cab on the way to LaGuardia, was able to use my Concealed Carry License from the state of Ohio. #WorthIt

SharonKurheg February 15, 2021 - 11:41 am

WOW! Did you get your wallet back?


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