Flying within the US.

My fiance only brought a temporary driver license with her which is considered a secondary form of ID by the TSA. On our first security check she had to go through an extra security pat down and they went through all her stuff since she didn't have a primary ID. We really want to avoid this on our return flight.

We can't get any of her primary forms of ID before our return flight. Is there anything we can do to avoid this on the return flight? Thinking about going through TSA pre check online or something like that.

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    I don't know the answer but, logically, it seems unlikely. The kind of ID your fiance has isn't fully trusted by the TSA so, logically, it also shouldn't be enough to enrol them in any program that the TSA would fully trust. If it is enough to enrol in such a program, that's a flaw in the system. Analogously, you're saying "I want to buy a $300 ticket but I only have $200. Is there something I can buy for $200 that I can exchange for the ticket?" Logically, the answer should be no because, otherwise, the seller would just accept $200 for the ticket. Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


I doubt that there is any way to avoid it, other than somehow getting a better ID before your return flight. (E.g. if the permanent driver's license card is being mailed to your home, and it arrives before your return flight, you could have someone pick it up and send it to you.)

TSA PreCheck will not help here. For one thing, it isn't a fully online process: after the online application, you have to make an appointment to go in person to an "enrollment center", at which you have to... show identification. You can find here an explanation of what kind of ID you would need to bring; naturally, temporary driver's licenses are not on the list. And even after you've attended your appointment (for which there may be a wait), it can take several weeks for them to finish processing the application. Unless your trip is quite long, you probably wouldn't be done before your return flight.

Also, PreCheck still requires you to show ID at security screening just like everyone else. And my guess is that they would be even more insistent on seeing proper ID from a PreCheck member: in their minds, since PreCheck member "Karen Smith" would receive a less thorough screening, it makes it that much more crucial to verify that the person standing in front of them is really Karen Smith and not some terrorist impostor trying to sneak into PreCheck.

(Yes, we all know this isn't real security, etc; please skip all the followup comments about "security theater".)

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