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While flying is a lot of fun, there are also a lot of details involved, including your luggage, your airplane ticket, and your ID. If this is your first time traveling domestically or internationally, you may be unaware that you need to bring identification documents with you every time you travel.
TSA ID Requirements 2023
What IDs do you need to bring when you go on a trip? Do they require different IDs for domestic and international flights?
What ID Do You Need to Fly Domestic?
According to the TSA, passengers 18 years old and above must present a valid identification document at the airport checkpoint to fly.
The following types of identification cards are valid and will allow you to take a domestic flight:
- Driver’s license (or other state photo identity cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles)
- 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
- State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
- Photo ID issued by a federally recognized Tribal Nation/Indian Tribe
- 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
- Veteran Health Identification CARD (VHIC)
Note that a weapon permit is not an acceptable form of identification.
If you plan to use your state-issued ID or license to fly domestically, you’ll need to make sure it is REAL ID compliant starting May 7, 2025. If you are unsure if your ID is REAL ID compliant, check with your state’s department of motor vehicles. If it isn’t, ask them what you can do to get a REAL ID-compliant document.
What ID Do You Need to Fly International?
When you go on an international trip, you must have official documents with you, as proper identification is necessary for international travel. While a passport is the first and most crucial official document, it would also be good to have the following aside from your passport:
- National ID card
- Driver’s license
If you don’t feel comfortable having all your IDs on your person, you can consider bringing copies or storing digital copies on your phone, tablet, or laptop.
These extra IDs can be extremely helpful, especially if you accidentally lose your passport or it gets stolen. You’ll need these IDs to prove your citizenship at your country’s embassy or consulate.
Aside from having extra IDs, make sure your passport is valid. Countries usually apply specific rules concerning a passport’s expiration date. In some countries, for example, you are no longer allowed to enter if your passport’s validity expires in six months or so. It varies depending on the country, but it’s good to always check your passport validity before you fly. Taking such precautions will help you avoid unfortunate circumstances when you go through immigration to your destination country.
Can You Fly Without an ID?
Let’s say you are going on a trip and when you get to the airport, you need to clear the necessary security checks. However, when the officer in charge asks you for your ID, you realize you don’t have any ID with you. Will you still be able to take your flight?
What If I Lost My Passport?
If you are flying domestically, and realize you have somehow lost your passport, it is no problem as long as you are a citizen of the country of your domestic flight. If you were planning to use your passport as the ID you will present at the airport, then you’ll have to look for and present another ID.
If, however, you are flying internationally and you lose your passport, you may have to cancel or postpone your trip. No international flights will accept you without your passport, as they will ask for it from you when you get your ticket at the check-in counter. You also won’t be able to clear security or immigration at all even when at the airport of your country of origin.
As soon as you learn that your passport is missing, you should apply for a new passport. Note that it may take some time for the travel document to arrive, so you may have to postpone your trip until then.
If you are in another country and accidentally lose your passport or have it stolen, you need to contact your nearest consulate or embassy. They’ll guide you through the next steps and probably require you to show proof of your citizenship. In some cases, if your flight is the next day, the consulate or embassy may give you an emergency passport.
What If I Lost My Driver’s License?
If you lose your driver’s license and originally planned to present it as an ID at the airport, you can look for an alternative ID instead. You can bring a passport, a passport card, or a permanent resident card (see above for the complete list) instead. You can still fly as long as you bring another ID with you.
However, what if you are already at the airport when you discover your driver’s license is missing? Before you panic, take a deep breath and make yourself calm down. There’s a chance you may still be able to fly without valid identification.
First, explain to the airline representative at the counter that you don’t have your driver’s license with you, as it is lost or stolen. You’ll need to provide other forms of identification, such as a credit card, photo business card, or student ID. It’s a good idea to have this with you even if you have your driver’s license, so you still have something to prove your identity in case you lose your driver’s license.
Once the airline representative has determined you are who you say you are, they will issue a boarding pass and note that you don’t have an ID.
Second, you’ll have to clear security. Explain your situation to the TSA agents. They will likely take you to a separate room for additional security screening. Cooperate with the questions they ask. They may ask you for information, such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity.
If you refuse to provide proper identification or cooperate with the additional screening, you will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint, as they cannot confirm your identity. Thus, you will not be able to take your flight.
Can I Fly If I Forgot to Bring My ID?
If you accidentally forgot your ID, you may still approach the airline representative and explain your situation. This is why it is important to have a few more IDs on hand—such as a student ID, passport, or anything that will help identify who you say you are, even if they are just digital. TSA will most likely conduct additional screening, just like in the scenario above. If you are able to prove your identity, you may still be able to take your flight.
Can You Fly with a Paper ID?
While it can be common to only have a paper ID, such as a temporary driver’s license, you cannot, however, use that when you fly. If you accidentally lost your driver’s license or it got stolen, and all you have left is a paper ID, you will not be able to use it when you fly.
According to the TSA, a paper ID is not considered an acceptable form of identification. Whether you are flying domestically or internationally, you won’t be allowed to if you only bring a paper ID as your form of identification. You’ll need to use another acceptable ID instead.
Can You Fly with a Suspended License?
Is your driver’s license suspended, but you are hoping to use it as your main ID when you fly? In case it is, you can still fly because the suspension only applies to driving a vehicle. It still serves as a valid form of identification, and the TSA will still accept it.