I would like to know, if I need to carry passport while traveling inside states. I do have State ID and my living address is written in it, but I suppose I don't have permanent residency http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_residence_United_States

According to this I need to: http://redbus2us.com/h1b-issue-at-immigration-checkpoint-within-us-must-carry-passport-visa-for-travel/

According to this I don't: Flying within the United States, Passport required?


1 Answer 1


You can show any state ID to TSA officers, airline employees and if necessary police offices. In fact, it's better to show them a state ID since almost all passengers show them a state ID. However, if you are not a US citizen or US permanent resident you must always carry your passport with a valid I-94 with you. (If you are a US permanent resident you must always have your "Green Card" with you.)

See 8 U.S.C. § 1304:

(e) Personal possession of registration or receipt card; penalties Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

Your alien registration card is your I-94. In practice, visitors are very rarely asked to present their passport and I-94. In most states, only Customs and Border Protection agents (as well as other federal law enforcement agents) can demand your immigration papers; police officers cannot (possibly, Arizona is an exception).

  • 7
    So in theory I need to have these documents with me even if I walk to nearby park, even if I live 500 miles from border.
    – user14742
    Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 23:04
  • 1
    @user14742: However, pretty much nobody does; as in practice it is never necessary, and it is a pain to replace those documents if lost.
    – user102008
    Commented Aug 17, 2013 at 0:50
  • I wonder whether a G4 visa holder's limited immunity would protect him or her fromfrom prosecution under this section.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 21:07
  • @user14742, given the fact that most travelers no longer receive an I-94 form, is the law still relevant? Perhaps it is the responsibility of the immigration officer to have access to the I-94 database.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 19:14
  • In respect of my earlier comment, it seems rather that G4 and similar visa holders aren't liable for prosecution under this section because they are not registered under subsection (d). They therefore don't have a registration or receipt card issued pursuant to subsection (d) and don't have to carry proof of immigration status.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 22:13

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