Can I fly with an expired license? This recent reader-submitted question got us thinking. Can you fly with an expired license? We answer all of your expired ID travel questions here.

Can I fly with an expired license?

Can I fly with an expired license? This recent reader-submitted question got us thinking. Can you fly with an expired license? We answer all of your expired ID travel questions here. Specifically, this article answer the following questions:

  • Can I fly with an expired license?
  • Can You Travel With an Expired Passport?
  • I lost my ID and I have a flight – now what?
  • Can you fly with a temporary paper license?
  • Can I check into a hotel without an ID?
  • Can I rent a car without a license?
  • What are the TSA ID Rules?

Some quick context for our readers. This article is written from the perspective of a United States Citizen who is attempting to travel domestically, travel internationally (leaving the country) or is attempting to re-enter the United States. Since ID and travel laws vary by country please check with your non-US destination country for regulations regarding lost IDs or identification in general.

TSA ID Rules

TSA ID Rules

Before we dig into each of the various questions reader’s often have about lost IDs and travel let’s level set on the TSA ID requirements and take you through the lost ID process. The TSA’s ID requirements state the following:

“Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.

  • 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
  • State-issued Enhanced Drivers 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”

Morever, the TSA notes the following procedures apply to a forgotten or expired ID:

“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 will 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”

The Identity Verification Process is going to involve you being pulled aside, completing some forms, and being queried by TSA agents until they can prove who you are. You will be asked to show other forms of identification. Often credit cards, library cards, work badges, even a Costco card with a photo.

The TSA is going to attempt to look you up in a public database. You will be asked a questions and you are definitely going to get a pat down.

They key is to come prepared. Give yourself some extra time. And don’t panic.

Ok, let’s dig into each of the key questions reader’s often have including:

  • Can I fly with an expired license?
  • Can You Travel With an Expired Passport?
  • I lost my ID and I have a flight – now what?
  • Can you fly with a temporary paper license?
  • Can I check into a hotel without an ID?
  • Can I rent a car without a license?

Can I fly with an expired license?

The quick answer is yes. You can fly with an expired driver’s license but you will still be required to prove your identity. According to the TSA, that could involve using a different form of ID (e.g. a valid passport) or some other form of accepted identification or going through an identify verification process to prove who you are.

Skip to the bottom of this article to read what to expect with the TSA Lost / Expired ID Process.

Can You Travel With an Expired Passport?

The quick answer is no. Passengers traveling internationally must have a valid passport. However, passengers traveling domestically do not require a passport to travel, only a valid form of ID (e.g. drivers license, etc).

It may seem obvious, but if your traveling domestically in the United States you do not need a passport to board a flight or get through security. You certainly can use your passport to travel domestically but you don’t have to. If you present an expired passport as your primary form of ID while traveling domestically you will not be able to travel without going through an identity verification process. Or you could just present your driver’s license like the rest of us do when traveling domestically

Traveling internationally requires a valid passport. In fact, most airlines and countries will not allow you to travel if your passports is inside a 90-day window (Delta’s policy is 6 months) or if it expires during your planned trip.

Can You Travel With an Expired Passport

I lost my ID and I have a flight

Passengers who’ve lost their ID and have a flight can potentially still travel if they successfully complete an identity verification process. Travelers must have their identify verified by TSA officers in order to travel. They are going to have you fill out some forms, ask you some questions and attempt to verify your identity. You can present alternative forms of ID (e.g. Costco card, credit card, library card, military ID, etc) to validate who are you. You are also going to get a special pat down. Scroll the bottom of this article to read the full lost ID / expired ID process.

It’s a nauseating feeling though. Maybe you are halfway through your vacation. It’s Thursday night. You are packing your stuff up in the hotel room for your early flight home in the morning. Panic sets in when you realize you’ve lost your ID. You quickly start googling “I lost my ID and I have a flight” and you land here.

Realizing you’ve lost your ID while you are traveling is terrifying, but it’s still possible to travel. Scroll the bottom of this article to read the full lost ID / expired ID process

Can you fly with a temporary paper license?

No, a temporary paper license is not an acceptable form of identification for the TSA. Travelers must present a valid photo identification to travel. This can include a driver’s license, passport, military ID, passport card or other forms of acceptable ID.

Can I check into a hotel without an ID?

No, hotels require valid identification to secure lodging. This applies even if you are attempting to pay cash for the hotel room. Occasionally, motels will allow you to check in without ID and pay cash, but this varies by motel and is usually an indication that you are staying at a shady location (which is probably why you are trying to to check in without ID anyway).

Can I check into a hotel without an ID

Acceptable forms of hotel ID include:

  • Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Military ID
  • Any valid form of ID that shows you are over 18

For example, here is Hilton’s policy on showing ID:

It’s worth noting that we are not aware of any US federal laws that require ID but hotels (all major chains) have adopted such a policy. There are some state laws that do require ID, but they vary by state.

If you are looking for tips on how to check into a hotel anonymously visit this link.

Can I rent a car without a license?

No, travelers cannot rent a car without a valid driver’s license. Rental car companies require proof that renters are authorized to legally drive cars.

Can I rent a car without a license

That said, if you have lost your driver’s license while traveling it is still potentially possible to rent a car with a lost license. For example, let’s say you had your driver’s license with you as you went through airport security, but accidentally lost it on the plane or at the airport. However, at your final destination you have a reservation for a car rental.

In this scenario, it’s possible the rental car agency will still rent you a car, but it might vary. If you are a frequent renter as part of that program it’s very possible they will go ahead and rent you the car. If you are a newbie renter or under the age of 25 it’s very likely they will NOT rent you the car.

We highly recommend making a copy of of your driver’s license when traveling. You may even consider taking a picture of it (although make sure you follow good cyber security hygiene while traveling).

Some folks recommend filing a police report for a lost license which you could then present to the rental car company. This might work, but seems like a pain the arse.

General Travel Tips for Identification

To help our readers plan better we’ve identified a few travel tips specifically tailored around identification. Here at the CBoardingGroup we often talk about being prepared (prior planning can prevent piss poor performance). If you employ the tips below you will find yourself better prepared for those situations where you might lose an ID while traveling and/or avoid significant delays or frustration.

  • Bring a backup form of Picture ID (e.g. I always carry my driver’s license and passport)
  • If you are traveling internationally, make copies of your passport and driver’s license
  • Pay attention to the expiration dates on your forms of ID and plan accordingly. I actually put mine on my work calendar 6 months ahead of their expiration. And, my company’s travel system (Concur) will actually email me well in advance of their expiration.
  • Consider joining an biometric ID service like Clear, or Global Entry (Global Entry also gives you another form of picture ID)
  • Consider taking pictures of your IDs (but lock the damn thing, please)
  • If you are traveling internationally and not a frequent traveler consider getting a passport holder like below (often used by folks on group tours and the like).

BuyFromAmazonButton

TSA Lost / Expired ID Process

The TSA notes the following procedures apply to a forgotten or expired ID:

“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 and identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identify. If your identity is confirmed you will be allowed to enter the screening check point. You will be subject to additional screening, to include a pat down and screening of your carry-on property. You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you choose to not provide proper identification or decline to cooperate with the identity verification process. TSA recommends that you arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time”dhs_tsa_small_1

The TSA Identity Verification Process is going to involve you being pulled aside, completing some forms, and being queried by TSA agents until they can prove who you are. You will be asked to show other forms of identification. Often credit cards, library cards, work badges, even a Costco card with a photo, and yes, some even have used Facebook accounts (wtf!).

TSA Lost or Expired ID Process

The TSA is also going to to attempt to look you up in a public database. You may be asked a few questions including:

  • Name
  • A photo
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth

And you are definitely going to get a pat down. The key is to come prepared and give yourself some extra time (like two hours). And don’t panic.

The Points Guy has a fun list of various forms of ID passengers have used to get through airport security

Thanks for stopping in – did we answer all of your expired or lost ID travel questions?

As always we greatly appreciate your readership. In this article we’ve answered all of your ID related travel questions for domestic US travel. Specifically, we’ve answered the following questions:

  • Can I fly with an expired license?
  • Can You Travel With an Expired Passport?
  • I lost my ID and I have a flight – now what?
  • Can you fly with a temporary paper license?
  • Can I check into a hotel without an ID?
  • Can I rent a car without a license?
  • What are the TSA ID Rules?

Note: if you are looking for ID retirements for train travel check out this USA Today Article

Be sure to check back often to find new frequent traveler tips and tricks, travel deals, product reviews and so much more including some of the following content:

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