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I need to fly domestically within the United States. The only ID I have is an expired USA passport.

Can I use that to pass T.S.A.?

Can I use it as ID?

  • 1
    See this related question. If it expired relatively recently, there's a good chance you'll be fine. Even if you have no ID at all, TSA can usually verify your identity from databases and allow you to fly. Note though that the airline may want to check your ID (especially if you're checking bags or can't do online checkin) and may have its own policy for what they require. – Zach Lipton May 23 '16 at 17:32
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    Is it a US passport or a foreign passport? @ZachLipton it should probably be noted that "fine" likely means "able to fly with some delay for longer-than-usual discussions with the TSA agent or agents." I once flew domestically in the US with a resident foreigner who'd forgotten her passport. If I recall correctly it took us only 10 minutes or so extra to deal with that. – phoog May 23 '16 at 18:33
  • That's a good point @phoog. An expired foreign passport could cause someone to start asking more questions about your right to stay in the US, which could quickly become problematic. I've certainly known people to fly on a semi-recent expired driver's license without anything more than a "hey, you know your license is expired, right?" Your mileage may vary. – Zach Lipton May 23 '16 at 18:35
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The TSA explicitly allows people to travel without ID. The following is taken from https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification:

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 a form to include your name and current address, and may ask additional questions to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You may be subject to additional screening.

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

TSA recommends you to arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time to allow ample time for security screening and boarding the aircraft.

As I noted in a comment, I once traveled with someone who did this. She is a US resident (non-immigrant) with no official ID issued by any US entity, and she forgot her passport at home. They checked some of her credit/bank cards (and maybe her work ID, if I recall correctly), and let her fly. I think it took about 10 minutes, maybe 15, to get past the ID check. On the way home, it only took a minute or so extra.

I would therefore recommend that you bring everything you can that has your name on it, including your expired passport. They may reject it because it is expired; the page quoted above does say that the ID must be "valid." The expired passport may nonetheless lend weight to your claim, and it certainly won't hurt it.

Also bring bank cards, library cards, employee ID, social security card, birth certificate, school records, anything you can readily get your hand on. The worst possible outcome would be to leave something at home only to be told that you would have been allowed to board if you had brought it.

When you approach the ID officer, hand your boarding pass and say something like "I'm afraid I don't have any valid ID, but I do have this expired passport and these other documents."

If you are sensitive about being scolded, and worried what they might say, you can bring a printed copy of the TSA page that explains that ID isn't strictly necessary.

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    Personally, I'd just hand them the passport and not point out that it's expired. If they start asking questions, you can offer more documents like credit cards and/or complete the identity verification process they have. But there's a decent chance they'll be fine with just the expired passport, especially if it hasn't been expired a long time and it still looks like you. – Zach Lipton May 23 '16 at 20:57
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    @ZachLipton I suppose that's true. However, I'd be reluctant to hand over an expired document without at least acknowledging that it was expired, unless I was planning to pull an "oh, no, I didn't realize it was expired" routine. I'd rather approach apologetically than risk being seen as trying to pull the wool over the agent's eyes, as it were. – phoog May 23 '16 at 20:59
  • Fair enough. I don't think it particularly matters whether you tell them or not. – Zach Lipton May 23 '16 at 21:02
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For internal flights, you just need to be able to prove your identity with a government-supplied ID. Most often this is a passport, but other ID's will suffice. You can travel within the US with a driving licence from most states (see https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification).

  • Hi Pete, i only have my passport as ID, and is expired, would i be able to use it? that would be my question – Alfred Espinosa May 23 '16 at 20:27

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