It’s a relatively well-known fact that if you’re an adult and you plan to fly, you need to have a form of ID with you. This is, of course, to prove (A) you are who you say you are and (B) you are indeed the person who’s scheduled to fly that day. You may have to show your boarding pass for that cross reference, but more and more often, you don’t (here’s why); you may only need to show your ID.
There are plenty of types of ID you can use when you get to the TSA checkpoint (here’s a list). For the vast majority of travelers, especially those traveling domestically, the ID of choice is a driver’s license.
If you’re flying internationally, regardless of what type of ID you show, you’ll also need to have your passport with you. Or, of course, you’re also free to use your passport AS your ID, for either international or domestic travel.
But what happens if you’re traveling that day and you realize that your driver’s license and/or passport have expired? Can you still fly?
According to the TSA, “If your driver’s license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration.”
This is, obviously, a holdover from rules that changed due to covid, back when state agency offices were closed due to the pandemic and some people were delayed in getting their driver’s licenses renewed in time. When and if the rules are updated, I suspect they’ll go back to what they were beforehand. Here’s how it could possibly, from a TSA Blog post, August 2018:
If you’re traveling with an expired license or passport you may still be able to fly. Acceptable forms of ID cannot be more than 12 months past the identified expiration date.
If you have misplaced, lost, traveling with an expired ID, or simply do not have an acceptable form of ID, our officers will ask you for two secondary forms of identification, with the following information:
- A photo
- Phone number
- Social Security Number
- Date of birth
The TSA officer will review all documentation provided in order to verify your identity. To minimize any potential delays, you are encouraged to provide as much information and documentation as possible. If your identity cannot be verified with the provided documentation, you may be required to go through an alternative identity verification process, which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information, and asking personal questions to help confirm your identity.
So it’s similar to what happens if you try to fly and have no ID with you.
Keep in mind that although the TSA officers will try to work with you, there’s no guarantee you’ll be allowed to fly if your only ID is an expired driver’s license.
For domestic flights
If you have another government-issued picture ID that’s valid (i.e. a driver’s license), use that. If the only picture ID you have is your expired passport, prepare for the TSA to ask for other ways to prove that you are who you say you are, as outlined in the aforementioned August 2018 TSABlog post.
Keep in mind that although the TSA officers will try to work with you, there’s no guarantee you’ll be allowed to fly if your only ID is an expired passport.
For international flights
An expired passport is invalid. If you’re traveling back to the U.S. on a direct flight, you may be able fly with an expired passport, if you get the OK from the relevant embassy. However, you cannot fly out of the U.S. with an expired passport.
For what it’s worth, keep in mind that for international travel, many countries require your passport to not only be unexpired, but to not expire for X number of months.
- 22 countries you can visit if your passport expires in less than 6 months
- …with 3, 2 or less months on it
- Places you can go without a passport
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary