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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Can you Travel WITHOUT a Picture ID? You Might Be Surprised How You Can Travel Without Your ID!

Flying Without ID? Here’s How It’s Possible.

The Commerce Department said this week that driver's licenses could soon be replaced by cell phone apps, but what do you do in the meantime if you have to fly without a driver's license?

A  friend of LTD recently told us the story of how he went to the airport and he went home because he thought he could not get through security. We immediately told him that he was mistaken, and that there are processes in place for the TSA screen you if you have forgotten your identification.

Did the ghost that steals your socks and car keys run off with your ID? Did your license expire and you don’t have time to renew it before you travel? Did you lose your wallet? Did you simply forget your ID at home? While it is much easier to go through screening with the proper identification, you’re not going to cause too much of a mess if you don’t have it.

You May Be Able to Fly if You Forgot Your Identification
Photo Credit: Seth Wenig/AP

According to

"In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You may be subject to additional screening, to include a patdown and screening of carry-on property.
You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you chose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.
TSA recommends that you arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time.
 If your identity cannot be verified, you will not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint"

The extra screening takes about 45 min in larger airports and probably 15-30 in regional airports but give yourself a couple of hours to be safe.  

Another follower of LTD had this happen to him at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.  He notified the ticket agent that he did not have his driver's license and she issued his ticket by looking at other identifications that he had in his wallet, such as credit cards.  She directed him to the TSA line where he notified the officer of his lack of photo identification.  He was taken to the private TSA area, where he was asked to present several credit cards with his information, complete and sign forms provided by TSA providing his address and other personal information for verification.  The TSA officers called two credit card companies to verify the cards were active and performed a full pat-down and search of carry on luggage.  Importantly, he did not have checked bags and only a carry on.  LTD always recommends traveling with a carry only if possible because of ease, saved time, security of you things, among many other reasons.  

What if you do not have a license but have another form of government issued identification?  No problem! These are considered VALID government issued identification:

  • Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • 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
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • 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

LTD recommends having alternative forms of government issued identification in your wallet.  What does LTD carry?

Your Global Entry Card can be used as Photo Identification instead of Driver's License
Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (

A U.S. Passport Card Can Be Used as Photo Identification Instead of Driver's License
Photo Credit:  U.S. Department of State
Apps like 1Password can store a Digital Copies of Government Issued Identifications for Reference

Does the ticket agent have the ability to refuse checking a bag?

Unfortunately this is not very clear, but does not appear to be a problem.

LTD phoned American Airlines Executive Platinum Line and asked what they tell persons who are about to fly and don't have their driver's license.  The agents response was that this happens often and they tell the flyer to get to the airport about 3 1/2 hours early to allow time for the TSA to perform their checks we discussed above.  They do not tell the flyer they cannot check a bag, but they do not have an official policy on what is needed.

The policies for checking bags are not clear for other airlines either when we phoned, but Delta has one policy published online under the "Delta Vacations" policies:

"Travel Identification

• Domestic Travel: All passengers 18 years of age or older are required to present 1 form of government- issued photo ID (such as a valid driver's license) or 2 forms of non-photo identification, 1 of which must be a state or federal agency-issued (such as a U.S. Social Security card), before boarding a flight. Failure to present positive identification can result in denied boarding and no refunds will be granted."


The bottom line is that you can still board a DOMESTIC flight if you have forgotten or lost your driver's license but if you need to do so, give yourself plenty of time for extra screening that is required.  It is possible that the airlines can refuse to check your bags, but if you are traveling with your family, they can check your bag.  Make sure you have other forms of identification with you, such as credit cards, work identification cards, or any other government issued identification you may carry such as a social security card or birth certificate.  If you know ahead of time, just take your passport or another form of government issued photo identification and LTD always carries their Global Entry Card and Passport Card just in case our driver's license is lost.  

This only applies to domestic travel, and if you plan to travel internationally, you will not be granted admission to another country without a passport.  

Look for future LTD posts about what to do if your passport is lost or stolen while in another country and for an update on the upcoming Real-ID requirements which have been delayed until 2020.

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We love this RFID minimalist wallet for carrying your identification while traveling domestically.  It allows you to have your id and whatever cards you need readily available without worrying about
RF theft of your information.  Click the photo below to learn more!

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