I live in the USA and I am going to Puerto Rico soon, but I have lost my driver's license. A new one from the DMV would not come in the mail for 2-4 weeks, but they do issue a temporary paper version for the time being.

Would that get me on a plane? Would providing pictures of my old license (which I do have) be useful, or maybe my SS card? This is my first time flying.

1 Answer 1


According to TSA:

A temporary driver's license is not an acceptable form of identification.

But you're in luck, because the same page also says:

Forgot Your ID?

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You will be subject to additional screening, to include a patdown and screening of carry-on property.

You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you choose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.

TSA recommends that you arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time.

So you should be fine as long as you are willing to subject yourself to the additional screening and you arrive early enough at the airport. I would probably make it three hours just to be on the safe side, depending on the airport.

Be sure to have your credit cards and any other documents that might be able to serve as a secondary form of identification. (Alternatively, if you have one of the other documents listed on the linked page, you can use it instead and avoid the alternative verification.)

Would providing pictures of my old license (which I do have) be useful, or maybe my SS card?

They probably won't pay much attention to the picture of your old license, since those can be faked easily, but it can't hurt to offer it. The social security card may be useful because the alternative verification process involves (or at least it can involve) retrieving information from your credit report, and having proof of your social security number may be helpful.

(I infer the credit report aspect from my experience with a trip with someone who forgot her ID. They looked at her bank cards, among other documents, and asked her some questions of the sort you have to answer when verifying yourself with credit agencies, such as "which of these addresses is a place where you used to live?")

Another thing to consider is that while US nationals and lawful permanent residents do not need to have a passport to travel between Puerto Rico and a US state, foreigners who aren't LPRs do need a passport. I don't know how regularly passengers are screened for this, and I suspect that it is usually no more than asking whether you're a US citizen and then accepting your verbal answer, but if you want to be on the safe side you may want to bring your birth certificate or other evidence of US citizenship.

  • 3
    I don't think "you should be fine" follows from "you may still be allowed to fly". Unless one has gone through this process before, and knows that the TSA is able to reliably confirm their identity, I would not risk my flight on a "may" and the TSA's goodwill.
    – BoppreH
    Oct 17, 2023 at 12:40
  • @BoppreH depends on how big of a deal is missing the flight is to OP vs how big of a deal it is to not get to Puerto Rico that day
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 17, 2023 at 19:10
  • @BoppreH Yours does sound like the best fall-back view… and why is no-one suggesting Have a nice day contacts TSA directly and explains all the details of this particular case? Oct 17, 2023 at 21:46

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