Traveling overseas is an exciting experience, but to get on the plane, you'll need the proper form of air travel identification. Always make photocopies of your government (gov) ID before leaving home, and if possible, email them to yourself so they can be easily accessed if the originals are lost during international travel. To prevent theft or loss abroad, store your passport or other identification cards in a money belt worn beneath your clothes.


To fly to another country, including Canada and Mexico, American citizens must have a valid passport. Avoid trouble by applying for your passport well in advance of your trip overseas, as it can take weeks or even months to procure one. If you already have a passport, consider renewing it if it's valid for less than six months after you're scheduled to return, as many countries will not accept passports set to expire shortly.

Children and Babies

All children, even babies, require their own passport to travel overseas via air and cannot do so using the passport card or id card of a parent or guardian. To apply for a passport for a child under 16, both parents must accompany the minor to an application center. If one parent cannot do so, he'll need to send a notarized statement of consent, according to Baby Center. Single parents will need to provide evidence of their legal status, like a sole custody agreement. The process of getting a passport or other necessary travel documents may require a birth certificate, documentation showing date of birth, and a real id-compliant driver's license depending on your state’s real id enforcement and real id requirements.


When you pass through Transportation Security Administration screening points on your way to catch an international flight, you use a photo id like a U.S. passport or another acceptable form of identification. Pay attention also to your state’s real id-compliant ID requirements. For instance, a driver's license, military ID, Native American tribal ID, permanent residence card and a state-issued ID are all acceptable for use at airport security checkpoints as long as read id re. However, to actually board your flight overseas, you will need to present a valid passport. To receive an enhanced driver's license complying with the real id act, visit a local department of motor vehicles (DMV) to receive a new state-issued driver’s license.


Though a visa is not a form of ID, it does identify you as a person allowed to visit, study or live in the country to which you are flying. Not all countries require Americans to have visas for short visits, but others do upon check-in, and most mandate them for longer stays due to marriage, work or school. To avoid being sent back to the US, research the visa requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has additional information for child and adult passengers travelers taking domestic flights or international trips. Resources available through the DHS include FAQs regarding U.S. citizens traveling, required documents, or even travel tips. Information on global entry requirements for citizens of other countries, including Canadians, who seek entry with a foreign government issued passport can be found online as well.