I am currently based in the US on a F1 Visa. My passport was recently submitted to the Canada Visa office for a confirmation of PR stamp. I had booked my flights and hotel reservation for Puerto Rico on the assumptions that I would receive my passport back by then. I was recently informed by Canada office that my application may take longer.

I have a valid driver's license and an I20. Would these documents suffice to fly to and back from Puerto Rico? Would it be safe to travel without a passport?

  • 1
    It would help if Pal Po would say what country and state/province the driver license is from. Homeland Security is constantly threatening to not recognize driver licenses from a few states that have not yet implemented REAL ID. In states that have implemented it, they often provide two kinds of license, a REAL ID one that is good for domestic air travel and one for people who can't prove they are legally present in the US; not sure if the latter would be accepted. Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 21:26
  • @GerardAshton Driver's licenses from elsewhere than the US and Canada are not sufficient in any event. In some states, the non-Real ID license is also available to some people such as myself who do not want to prove that they are legally in the US, even if they could.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 19:16
  • @GerardAshton: All states and territories are currently in compliance or have an extension, so all states' and territories' driver's licenses are accepted for TSA. I believe all states will continue to receive extensions until they are compliant, and when they are compliant, their non-REAL-ID driver's licenses will continue to be accepted for TSA until October 2020. So basically, all states' driver's licenses, even non-REAL-ID ones, are expected to be accepted for TSA until October 2020.
    – user102008
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 20:17
  • @GerardAshton: Also, non-REAL-ID driver's licenses are not only for people who can't prove they are legally present. 1. Some people who can show they are legally present are not eligible to get a REAL ID one (e.g. people who are in valid status but have an expired visa). 2. People who are legal including citizens who have driver's licenses from before REAL ID, who renew them by mail in a state that requires in-person application for REAL ID, will continue to get non-REAL ID ones. 3. Some states, like WA, only issue non-REAL ID driver's licenses unless you get an Enhanced DL (only for citizens)
    – user102008
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


Flights between the US mainland and Puerto Rico are considered domestic. It is unlikely you will be asked to show a passport on departure or arrival. The TSA has a list of acceptable photo IDs and a Canadian driver's license will suffice to get through security.

The caveat here is you'll be interacting with several people who might ask you for a passport (again, there's no need for one). It's not clear what they would do if you didn't have it. Most likely they would just deny you boarding, seeing as you have a valid visa.

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    "You might want to contact the consulate": What consulate? Also, TSA agents won't demand a passport since the US driver's license satisfies TSA requirements. The problem would be if the airline or a CBP officer demanded proof of citizenship.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 20:13
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    Okay, you changed it to "visa office," but the question stands: what visa office would one ask about this?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 20:18
  • @phoog Reworked the whole thing since I'm not exactly sure on that point.
    – Machavity
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 20:24
  • That's better. The reason I'm being so picky is that it looks rather like CBP does state that nonimmigrants in the US do need a passport to fly between the US proper an Puerto Rico, although I cannot find any basis in law for that requirement.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 20:29
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    This issue came up with regard to Guam today, with the added wrinkle of an overstay: Overstaying in the US, is it possible to go to Guam and get back to LA? I've asked a related question on Law: Passport requirements for travel between a US territory and a US state.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 19:17

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