When traveling, people must possess a specific form of identification, depending on where they go. People flying domestically must have a government-issued ID, such as a driver's license, while those traveling to other countries must have a passport. Losing your personal ID document can certainly present a problem. But there are solutions.
Domestic Travel: Lost or Stolen ID
According to the Transportation Security Administration TSA website, there is no need to worry if your real ID was lost or stolen prior to boarding a domestic flight, as long you are willing to cooperate. The TSA understands that situations happen, and its officers want to do their best to get flustered travelers where they need to go. If you don't have your ID, the TSA simply needs a way to confirm your identity. The travel document checker or tsa officer at the airport will walk you through this.
As part of the identity verification process, either provide the travel document checker with additional forms of ID like a photo ID or credit card or be willing to answer some personal security questions as part of additional screening. The TSA agent will cross-check the information you provide against public databases to be sure of who you are. If you're unable to provide additional ID or answer questions correctly and the agent cannot confirm your identity, there is a chance you won't able to fly, even if you have a boarding pass.
There are several forms of identification that people can use to pass through the TSA check that fulfills id requirements after losing their primary form of ID:
- Library card
- Business card
- Student ID
- Passport card
- Photo of an ID
- Birth certificate
- Military ID
- Permanent resident card
- Social security card
- Prescription medication with your name
Children under the age of 17 do not need an ID to fly or check-in, so no need to worry if you're traveling with younger children or if your young teenager has lost her ID.
International Travel: Lost or Stolen Passport
Traveling internationally is a different story. Because countries like the United States have such tight [border control] and security screening(http://traveltips.usatoday.com/difference-between-us-customs-tsa-airports-61442.html)ss), the TSA and its counterparts in other countries are not so lenient if your passport was lost or stolen while abroad. There won't be the same questioning process to help you board your flight as there would be if you simply forgot your government-issued photo ID for a domestic flight. International travelers, whether flying from or to the United States, must have their passport, no exceptions for airport security.
Travelers who lose their passport before embarking on an international trip have some time to get their situation sorted before traveling. Traveling abroad without a passport simply is not allowed, so you must apply for a replacement as soon as you realize your passport is missing. Passport offices in the United States will do what they can to replace your passport before going abroad, but there are no guarantees.
If your passport is lost or stolen while abroad, it's a bit more complicated. Don't worry: You'll be able to fly home. However, a few things must happen first:
1. Figure out what happened. If the passport was stolen due to a violent crime or robbery, it's important to file a local police report.
2. Inform the nearest U.S. embassy via its consular assistance of what has happened. In some cases, you must present a police report or fill out a form explaining the circumstances of how the passport went missing. If you must travel soon, tell the consular officer the details.
3. The consular officer will provide instructions on what to do next, such as where to obtain a passport photo and when to come in to file for a replacement.
4. If you are traveling within a day or two, the embassy will make every attempt to issue you an emergency, limited-validity passport, which must be replaced upon returning to the States.
Tips on identification cards and Passports
Keep your passport and/or ID stored safely in your home. There have been instances of people misplacing their passports or even having their family pet chew it up. In fact, it wouldn't be a surprise if more passports went missing at home than while in transit.
When traveling, always prepare photocopies of IDs, extra forms of identification and physical copies of travel itineraries. It's also not a bad idea to have photocopies of everything stored on your phone as well. Take note of where the embassies are located in the places you're traveling to, and consider writing down emergency phone numbers too.
If you discover at the last moment that you have lost your ID or passport, the important thing is not to panic. There are systems in place designed to help travelers overcome this stressful problem.