Can I travel from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale with pending Visa U?

  • What does "pending visa U" mean? Do you have an outstanding application for change of status? If not, what is your current status? – phoog Jul 23 '18 at 20:57
  • @MichaelHampton there's nothing in the question that leads to the conclusion that immigration status is expired. – phoog Jul 23 '18 at 20:58
  • @divibisan there's nothing in the question that leads to the conclusion that there is an expired visa. – phoog Jul 23 '18 at 20:58
  • @phoog I assumed that "pending Visa" means that they don't currently have a valid visa and that, therefore, the problem is roughly the same as someone with an expired or otherwise invalid visa. – divibisan Jul 23 '18 at 21:09
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    @divibisan that wouldn't make the question very interesting, since there is no requirement to have a valid visa while present in the US -- a valid visa is only needed to enter the US. – phoog Jul 23 '18 at 21:22

I assume that "pending U visa" means that you have applied for a change of nonimmigrant status to U status, and that your application has not yet been decided. If that is incorrect, please leave a comment on this answer to explain.

To fly domestically in the US, you must prove your identity. Your foreign passport, if you have one, is the best way to do that. The full list is on the TSA's identification page.

The TSA will not pay any attention to your immigration status. However, there is a small chance that you will encounter US Border Patrol officers at the TSA checkpoint. If you do, they will want evidence that your presence in the US is compliant with US immigration law. If that happens, you can show them the receipt for your pending application. If your prior nonimmigrant status is still valid, you should also show them any evidence related to that. The specific evidence depends on the status in question.

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For this answer, I assume that you have valid ID (a foreign passport, for example) but do not currently have a valid Visa to enter the US (since it's pending).

As the linked answers explain in more detail, you only need a visa to enter the US, not to fly domestically within the country. As long as you have valid ID (See the answer by @phoog for a list of valid ID), you shouldn't have a problem flying within the US regardless of your visa status.

Can I travel when US visa extension is pending?

Expired visa, can I still fly inside US without risk?

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    "regardless of your visa status": this is literally true, but people often use "visa status" loosely to denote "immigration status." Immigration status is independent of visa validity, so it's possible to be out of status with a valid visa (for example, a tourist with a 10-year B visa who overstayed a six-month period of admission), and it's possible to be in status without a valid visa (for example, a tourist who received a six-month admission when arriving on the visa's expiration date). When out of status, with no pending application, encountering Border Patrol is to be avoided. – phoog Jul 23 '18 at 21:45
  • @phoog Good point, but does that make a difference here? You're certainly more of an expert on this than me, but my understanding is that none of those things would be checked by a TSA agent while boarding a domestic flight. If that's changed recently, I don't want to put someone at risk. – divibisan Jul 23 '18 at 21:49
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    TSA certainly does not pay attention to immigration status, but US Border Patrol sometimes screens passengers at TSA checkpoints. AFAIK they do this only in airports within 100 miles of the border. I don't know whether they do it at Ft. Lauderdale, but they could. Crishagnes would have a problem only if out of status without a pending application in the unlikely event of encountering such a screening. – phoog Jul 23 '18 at 21:56

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