When planning a trip, the last thing you want to forget is your identification, not just your boarding pass. But you might be wondering – “What ID do i need to fly domestic?” or “Can I use X ID to fly?” Bringing the right form of ID to the airport ensures you don't miss your plane and that you get through the TSA security checkpoints with minimum fuss. The Transportation Security Administration issues a detailed list of the allowed forms of identification and ID requirements depending on where you are traveling to, your age and your U.S. residency status. Here are some common FAQs about compliant cards and real ID enforcement so you can get through TSA precheck and check-in without any hassle.
State Issued ID
State identification cards include driver's licenses from the department of motor vehicles, state photo IDs or enhanced driver's licenses. These acceptable forms of identification must include a photograph, have your date of birth, and be current. All states issue identification that is compliant with federal security protocol for air travel. These forms of identification are sufficient for domestic flights, not global entry. Canadian provincial driver's licenses are also allowed identification for travel within the U.S. although you might need additional screening at airport security.
A U.S. passport or foreign passport is necessary for traveling abroad. It must be current and contain a photograph of the passport holder. Both adults and children must have a passport to travel abroad. A government-issued passport card is not necessary for travel within the U.S. for foreign travelers if they have a permanent resident alien card. Although it is only necessary for international travel, you can also use a passport for travel within the U.S. if you don't have other forms of ID available.
Immigration documents and identification cards are allowed for both international and national air travel. Allowed identification documents include resident alien cards, border crossing cards, permanent resident cards, and passports from a foreign country. Other ID options are DHS travel documents, an ADIT stamp or an emergency travel document issued by a U.S. or foreign consulate for emergency travel reasons.
Other Forms of ID
Certain forms of ID are allowed depending on the background of the traveler. A current military id or merchant mariner ID card is allowed for both U.S. and foreign travel. A NEXUS card, issued by Canadian or U.S. border authorities, allows Canadian and U.S. travelers passage between those two countries only. Native American tribal IDs can be used instead of state issued IDs for U.S. travel.
All international flights require a valid passport or other acceptable form of id, regardless of the age of the traveler. minors do not require photo identification when traveling with an adult guardian, although it's advised they still carry some form. Teens 15 to 17 do require identification for traveling alone. A school ID, library card, Social Security card, birth certificate, state driver’s license, or an organization ID all suffice, as do the allowed identification forms for an adult, such as a state ID. Children younger than 14 do not require identification when traveling alone.
The Transportation Security Administration oversees the photo identification requirements for all travel within the United States and territories. Although airline passengers under age 18 are not required to present a photo ID when flying, all adults must present an acceptable form of identification before passing through the TSA screening checkpoint and being allowed to board their aircraft.
Acceptable Forms of Identification
All travelers flying on a domestic flight must present a photo ID issued at the state or federal level, such as a state driver's license that meets Real ID requirements, military ID or the United States passport. In addition to these commonly used forms of identification, passport cards, trusted traveler cards (such as the NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST cards issued by the Department of Homeland Security), border-crossing cards, Native American tribal ID cards, airline or airport photo ID cards issued in compliance with TSA regulations and transportation worker ID credentials also are acceptable forms of identification.
The name on the airline ticket must match the name on the photo ID presented at the TSA airport checkpoint. Travelers who have had a name change since purchasing an airline ticket and do not have a valid photo ID that matches the name listed on the ticket must bring proof of the name change, such as a marriage certificate or a documentation of a court-ordered name change, to the airport along with photo identification.
Lost or Forgotten ID
A lost or forgotten photo ID does not mean that a passenger will be unable to board his flight. The TSA allows passengers arriving at the security checkpoint without appropriate identification to still pass through the checkpoint, as long as they can provide personal information that can be matched with that found in public databases. However, these travelers may be required to undergo additional screening. In the event that a passenger's identity cannot be verified, he will be unable to pass through the screening area.
International visitors and American residents who do not hold United States citizenship are still required to present a government-issued photo ID to TSA agents at the airport. A passport issued by a foreign government is an acceptable form of identification for all visitors to the U.S. Foreign citizens who have a form of photo ID issued by the U.S. government, such as a permanent resident card, may present their American ID in lieu of a passport.