My daughter is a US and French citizen. We leave in a couple of days for France and realized her passports for both countries are expired. We are going from the US to France. She has her National ID card for France which isn’t expired and is accepted for entry into France through passport exemptions. What I can’t figure out is if she will be able to board the plane without a valid passport?

We have a solution for returning to the US so aren’t concerned about that. Only getting through security and on the plane to get to France.

  • What airline is operating the flight?
    – phoog
    Nov 27, 2022 at 8:18
  • How old is your daughter?
    – jcaron
    Nov 27, 2022 at 10:32
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  • @xngtng in that question the OP had a valid US passport. In this question the OP has no valid passports at all.
    – littleadv
    Nov 28, 2022 at 0:22
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    If you’re still around, we would love to hear what you did/what happened. Did you attempt the trip? If so, was she able to travel?
    – jcaron
    Dec 1, 2022 at 22:33

2 Answers 2


The places where checks happen are:

  • During check-in. Airlines are required to check that you have the necessary documents to enter the destination country, and in the case of the US, to report that you were in board (and left the country).

    You can enter France with just a national ID card, but I would be surprised if the airline accepted it in this situation. Don’t have any evidence either way though.

  • At the TSA checkpoint. You can actually travel without any ID at all, there’s a special process for that, but it takes a lot longer (IIRC they advise 2 hours). Bring the expired US passport and any other form of identification, especially anything with a picture. Of course if she’s a minor she doesn’t actually need any ID, but if she’s close to 18 any way to prove it is useful.

  • Upon arrival in France, where a national ID card is sufficient.

So it all boils down to the airline accepting the national ID card. You may try to call them to see what they say (or hop to the airport today and ask at a check-in desk).

The alternative is to get an emergency passport, but there are conditions for that, and if you are leaving tomorrow it’s probably extremely tight.

In any case if you do try it, you should budget a lot more time than usual at the airport.

  • -1, airline agents are required to follow airline guidance. It is unlikely that the op would be allowed to board because the airline requires a valid passport. See the guidance references in my answer.
    – littleadv
    Nov 27, 2022 at 17:43
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    @littleadv guidance for passengers and actual policy are very different things. I was once greeted at check-in 20 minutes past the limit with “we were waiting for you”, for instance. And the Iata Travel Centre, which is based on Timatic, seems to think that an ID card is enough, and airline policy is usually “do whatever Timatic says”. I’m really not fully convinced it’s possible, but I wouldn’t be that surprised if it worked. Surprised, yes, but not very surprised.
    – jcaron
    Nov 27, 2022 at 23:37
  • The op is asking a practical question, not a SCOTUS level discussion that some people here like so much. We don't know what an actual gate agent might do, but I told the OP with a high level of certainty and reliable references what the airlines require.
    – littleadv
    Nov 27, 2022 at 23:50

Passport is required for international air travel to and from the US, and US citizens are required by law to bear a valid US passport when they leave the country (See 8 USC 1185(b)). Bearing an expired passport to satisfy that requirement may count as a misuse of passport, a felony (18 USC 1544).

Example from the American Airlines guidance:

A passport is required for all international travel. If you're traveling anywhere overseas, you need a passport to board an international flight and to enter the country.

Similarly, from Delta (highlighted at source):

When you’re traveling outside of the United States, make sure you have all required travel documents. A passport is required for all international travel.

While you may get lucky and the airline agent would let you board without any passport at all (highly unlikely on its own), the troubles will start long before that - at the checkin and the TSA security check.

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    US citizens are not required to use their US passport to leave the US, only to "bear" it. In the discussions about whether a national ID is sufficient, the fact that there is no valid US passport might come up, but it might not.
    – phoog
    Nov 27, 2022 at 8:17
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    Where it is written that a passport is requiered for air travel? Nov 27, 2022 at 16:08
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    Hundreds of thousands of people fly without passports every day — domestic flights, internal Schengen flights, and so on.
    – Mike Scott
    Nov 27, 2022 at 16:49
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    @phoog good luck arguing semantics with an overworked gate agent
    – littleadv
    Nov 27, 2022 at 17:38
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    @littleadv I've flown out of the US dozens of times without showing my US passport to anyone and without being asked for it. Gate agents are not charged with enforcing 8 USC 1185(b) and they don't enforce it.
    – phoog
    Nov 27, 2022 at 18:31

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