This is a current situation we're trying to find solutions for.

My 17yo son has been in Florida for a week with friends, and is about to come home (flying to San Diego). Luckily the flight today has been delayed (well, was canceled and rebooked for tomorrow night) as he has realised his bag, containing his only IDs (NZ passport and a SENTRI card) were left in the car that dropped them at the airport. They have so far been unable to reach the driver of the car.

What options does my son have, if any, to fly without his ID if they can't reach the driver? He has travel insurance. Everyone else he is flying with are US citizens, however my son is not a US citizen (is in US on B2 visa). I have a scanned copy of the ID page of his NZ passport (but not of his US visa), and a scanned copy of his Mexico Residency ID card - if I send him those to display on his phone would/could that help? Or is he stuck and we have to make some other travel arrangements?


2 Answers 2


Technically, children under 18 are not required to provide ID when going through TSA airport security checkpoints. See this page:


TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling within the United States. Contact the airline for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18.

(although how he would prove that he is under 18 without ID, I don't know).

He is unlikely to encounter immigration checkpoints where he has to prove his immigration status, when flying domestically.


He would probably be able to board the flight to San Diego without any ID or just with the scanned picture on the phone (he will very likely go through a significantly more intrusive security scan than usual).

Getting home however, whether it is New Zealand or Mexico, may be tricky without these documents.

The nearest NZ consulate seems to be in Los Angeles, 2-12 hours drive from San Diego (depending on the traffic). Mexico has a consulate in San Diego. He'll need to inquire with these consulates as to what he needs to return to either of these countries and how he'd go about getting it.

  • 5
    Getting into Mexico from San Diego won't be a problem, if he can get to SD.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 0:59
  • 1
    @phoog yeah. I've made the San Diego to LA stretch of I-5 in two hours before (don't tell the CHP), and I've also stood on I-405 for hours just getting from Orange County to LAX. LA traffic is rather unpredictable.
    – littleadv
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 22:42
  • 1
    @Kevin we live in Mexico, crossing the border into Mexico isn't a problem
    – Midavalo
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 3:34
  • 1
    @littlead yes, hundreds of times
    – Midavalo
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 3:36
  • 1
    @Kevin our exits are never reported when we drive across the border
    – Midavalo
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 6:10

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