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Can you fly without a driver's license or identification card if they were lost or stolen

Life happens, and sometimes travelers may have their id lost or stolen before or during their trip.  But it this occurs, can you fly and get through airport screening without identification?  This is a common questions that all travelers should be aware of.  Contrary to popular belief, passengers 18 years of age or older are not automatically denied boarding if they cannot provide proper identification -- they may still fly on domestic flights in the US, provided that they go through additional identity and security screening at the security checkpoint. This policy is specifically noted on the TSA's website, at the page linked below.

The reason why this policy exists is exactly for the reason that this question is asking about -- people lose their IDs or have them stolen. If someone has their purse stolen while they're on vacation, telling them that they can't get home when they have no way to get an ID is hardly a productive outcome for either the TSA or the passenger.

If you plan on flying without ID, you should taken into consideration the following information - with the number one issues being that you should plan on getting to the airport significantly earlier than you  would otherwise, because the additional screening will take longer.  Additionally, know that you will not be able to check your bags at curbside with a skycap - you will have to go inside the airport to the check-in counter.

The TSA has the following information listed on their website to give you an idea what their official comment is about this subject:

Q.  Can I fly without ID?
A.  Adult passengers, 18 and over, are required to show a valid U.S. Federal or State-issued photo ID that contains a name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature. A passenger that refuses to provide any ID and will not cooperate in the identity verification process will not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. If you lose your primary ID or it has expired, TSA may accept other forms of ID to help verify your identity.

Q.  If I lose my ID during travel, what secondary forms of ID will be accepted?
A.  Passengers who do not have a valid photo ID, such as State-issued driver’s license, should bring any ID or documents they have available to assist in verification of identity.  Passengers need at least two alternate forms of identification, such as a social security card, birth certificate, marriage license, or credit card. The documents must bear the name of the passenger. Also, one of these documents must bear identification information containing one of the following:  date of birth, gender, address, or photo. If TSA can confirm the passenger’s identity, they may enter the secured area, but they could be subject to additional screening. For more information, please review the ID Requirements for Airport Checkpoints.

Most of the time, you will be allowed to travel if you go to your local police or sheriff station, make a report, and bring a copy with you to the airport with you to show both airport and TSA check-in personnel.  Possession of a police report will help prove your case why you do not have possession of valid identification. However, even if you don't have one, the Transportation Security Administration can verify your identity other ways besides a driver's license.  If possible, try to obtain an old expired identification card, or some other type of identification card that has your picture on it and may be verified.  Remember, government issued ID that is expired is not valid, but may help identify you in this unique situation.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Print out your airline boarding passes from home or the hotel kiosk prior to arriving at the airport, in case you can't do it at the airport.  While you wouldn't be able to use them ultimately, they may be somewhat helpful to prove your identify.

At the airport:

1. Tell the TSA screening agent that you do not have your ID because it was lost or stolen and provide them a copy of the police report (always keep a back-up copy in case one is lost or not given back to you).  Typically, once this happens TSA personnel will alert other personnel of your "special issue" of being a security risk and assign personnel to address the issue.  Obviously, expect additional security checks, searches, and scrutiny, to ensure the safety of others traveling.  Remember, other than you, no one knows who you are so expect to be delayed while the TSA addresses this security issue.

Our site contains over 100 pages of travel safety tips and security tips that are useful for any traveler. You will find tips involving luggage theft, avoiding pickpockets, laptop theft, hotel burglary, and airplane, train, automobile, and boat travel crimes.