I'm a foreigner in the US with a J1 visa. I don't have my passport with me and I have a flight from Boston to Miami. Can I fly without the passport?

I only have a copy of my passport and visa because my original passport is stuck in the Canadian visa centre in NY (because I requested a travel visa to visit Canada).

I was supposed to receive my passport back days ago, but it's taking longer than it usually does. It won't be delivered to me in time for my flight to Miami. The other documents I have are my own country's ID, and an international drivers licence.

Is there any way I can still fly?

  • 1
    There's a number of duplcates for this question, but most do not have accepted (or in many cases, good) answers. The question above, whilst for a different reason, is fundamentally the same and has the correct answer.
    – Doc
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


If you don't leave the United States, you do not need a passport - remember that most Americans have no passport at all.

You do need a 'Secure Government Issued ID'. That could be - aside from a biometric passport from any country:

  • a State issued Driver's License - if your state does already have Secure Driver's Licenses (Florida does have them)
  • a State issued ID card (issued if you don't have a Driver's License)
  • a Global Entry card
  • maybe some other more state specific ID cards
  • not your employer's badge - it isn't government issued
  • not any foreign ID card - it has to come from the US government
  • not any foreign Driver's License (unfortunately)

From what you wrote, I think if you don't have a Driver's License of your state, you might be out of luck. A photocopy would be worthless, because there is no possibility to check it for authenticity - it is easy to change something and photocopy it again.

  • 2
    The TSA has instructions for what to do if you do not have 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." Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 3:08
  • @PatriciaShanahan: I guess that raises the question: given the documentation that the OP holds, how likely is she to successfully satisfy the TSA of her identity? Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 4:32
  • 1
    This is answer is wrong, as per the comment made by Patricia above there are ways to fly without acceptable ID. Also, a "Secure" Drivers License is NOT required until 2018 - standard drivers licenses from any state are acceptable for air travel until then.
    – Doc
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 4:54

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