Normally to get past the security checkpoint you need to show the TSA agent your boarding pass and a valid picture ID. But what happens if your wallet was stolen a week before your scheduled flight? You might be able to get a temporary ID (eg. a black and white printout) but would that be an acceptable picture ID?

Maybe you could file a police report about the stolen wallet but would that even make a difference in this scenario?

edit: let's assume the US state is Texas since I guess not all US states issue temporary ID's.

  • Were all your state-issued photo IDs stolen with your wallet ? Do you have a passport ?
    – blackbird
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 17:40
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    Keeping in mind that this is a contrived scenario lol... let's say that yes, all state-issued photo IDs were in the wallet (most people only have one anyway, I imagine) and that the victim doesn't have a passport (it's not like you need one for domestic trips).
    – neubert
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 17:46
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    You don't need to tell us why you're asking... but now I'm curious! Hope you're not thinking of stealing someone' driving license to stop them boarding a crucial flight? ;-) Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 17:47
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    There are other hypotheticals that are less contrived: (1) You forgot your ID at home -- my wife did this once and (2) your wallet including DL and other picture IDs was lost or stolen while you were traveling to the airport.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:29
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    Not an exact duplicate question, but the same answer: travel.stackexchange.com/q/68863/19400
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:30

5 Answers 5


Call the airline to see if they have any suggestions.

TSA does not require you to have 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.

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    Ah I was just going to add this to my answer, too slow !
    – blackbird
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 17:54
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    What pull does the airline have with TSA? TSA doesn't treat passengers differently based on the airline they are flying on,
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:39
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    @cdkMoose, I would expect the airline to be asked a question like this often, and therefore have already found the answer. And, just a hunch, they might be more helpful than the TSA.
    – donjuedo
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:47
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    The process isn't that complicated, apparently. I just went through it twice. Sure, they used every security scan available to them, including the full body scan plus pat down plus the swabs of your gear, but the inconvenience isn't that bad as long as you cooperate.
    – phyrfox
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 2:24
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    This was my experience too, flying home after I'd lost my license. They basically had me show them everything in my wallet, and by the time I got to my museum membership cards, they were convinced. Although it's possible that you may have a harder time depending on how you look, your ethnicity, etc.
    – JW.
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 16:26

There are many other ways to provide ID to security, depending on how many of those were also stolen with your wallet, you have quite a few options.

According to the TSA's website, you can use any of the following (besides your driver's license and passport):

  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
  • Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service Employment Authorization Card (I-766)

Note however that weapon permits and temporary driver's license are not an acceptable form of identification.

Of course, as this answer mentions, you can still travel if you have no ID.

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    I wonder what percentage of the US population has any one of thsoe documents. I imagine it's pretty small.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:32
  • @phoog Nexus/Gloabl entry, PR cards, foreign passports and military IDs should be pretty common. I skipped US passport in that list because the OP assumes he has none
    – blackbird
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:35
  • Between passports, military ID (which includes military family members, so that's a lot more people), a couple million Global Entry members, a decent number of Enhanced Driver's Licenses from the states that issue them, I'd say a fairly good chunk of people have at least one of those documents. And since the TSA will usually work with you if you have no ID, it's even less of an issue. Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:44
  • @ZachLipton we're talking about alternative ID when the DL is lost or stolen, so enhanced DLs don't count. The military seems to be around 3 million, so maybe there are 10 to 15 million military IDs running around; there are a similar number of green cards. Even if we assume no overlap, that's around 10% of the country. Is 10% "pretty common"?
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:49
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    The relevant metric is really "percent of people who might want to fly," not just percent of the whole country, so that changes things, but also makes it harder to measure. Anyway, around 36% have a valid passport. Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:54

Why not just go to the local Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent in your state) office and get a replacement. They are aware that these things happen and have forms for just this case.

I recently misplaced my license and followed this course. I waited in line for 10 minutes and the process took about 5. I think there may have been a small replacement fee.

Not only will this help with your travel plans, but you're going to need a new copy anyway.

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    idk how it works in other states but in TX the way it works is... you go to the Department of Public Safety and you'll get a temporary paper ID on the spot. The more permanent ID will be snail mailed to you. You don't get a fancy full color ID with all the security features until several weeks later.
    – neubert
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:01
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    @blackbird57 - I know. I just mentioned them because, in TX, at least, that's what you get the day you get your picture taken, regardless of whether or not that's what you need. Maybe in other states it's different but in TX you can't just go "this piece of paper is useless junk! I need a real ID that's suitable for my purposes and I need it /right now/!"
    – neubert
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 18:56
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    Interesting, since you need your license to drive anyway. You would think they would establish a process to quickly give you a valid drivers license. Maybe that is just expecting too much from the government :) In NJ, I was given a new permanent drivers license on the spot.
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:36
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    Actually, in TX, you can even use a court order as a license lol. Like a temporary license at least has a pic even if it's black and white. A court order doesn't even have that. Quoting txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/OccupationalLicense.htm, "The court order may be used as a driver license for 45 days from the date of the judge’s signature while the request for an occupational license is processed"
    – neubert
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 20:21
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    @cdkMoose, it depends on what you mean by "valid license". When I did a change of address, the receipt from my visit to the DMV was considered legally valid proof that I was allowed to drive on public roads, but I'm pretty sure the TSA wouldn't accept it as a form of identification. The actual updated license (ie. the thing the TSA would accept) didn't arrive for another week.
    – Mark
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 21:43

Harry Vervet's answer is correct, as someone that flies quite a bit, I can tell you 100% your don't need a state issued ID to fly.

What you should do is allow your self more time to get through the process. 9/10 times they just send you through the perv scanner and ask a few extra questions. Some airports are setup in a way that the boarding pass check and the security check point are very far apart, in those cases you don't even (usually) need to show your ID at the security check point, just the boarding pass check.

Now there are two important things that you should know. (and it's why I made this a separate answer)

  1. If you bought your ticket with a credit card, and intend to pick it up at the desk at the airport, this usually requires an ID or the credit card used to make the purchase. This has nothing to do with TSA though and every airline will have different rules about this.

  2. When you get your boarding pass from the airline counter, if you tell them you don't have your ID, then can (at least at some airports) provide you with a "pass" to get you past the boarding checkpoint. It's a little piece of paper that they staple to your boarding pass. This tells TSA that you don't have an ID and that the airline verified your identity some how. Usually TSA will ask you extra questions, and may flag you as needing more then just the metal detector. Some airline can even issue you a temporary ID, that works just fine for TSA. It's worth asking the airline, and working with them.

  • Your point 1 seems completely wrong. At every airport I've used for domestic flights in the past few years, all the airlines have self-check-in, and all you need to know to check in and get boarding passes is the alphanumeric (usually 5-character) booking identifier they gave you. Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 23:38
  • @R.. Depends, Usually if you buy online, you get this booking number. If you purchase over the phone or via some travel agents, or a few other methods that require you to go to the airport to pick up your ticket (this is different then a boarding pass) then you have to present your payment.
    – coteyr
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 1:35
  • A good example of this is, if you plan a flight days-weeks in advance, then you buy online and get an e-ticket. This e-ticket is all you ever get till you get your boarding pass. If you purchase a "same day" ticket on the phone in the cab on the way to the airport, or a short notice ticket by calling the airline and purchasing a ticket for tomorrow then you usually have to pickup that ticket up at the counter and present your payment.
    – coteyr
    Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 1:40
  • Thanks for clarifying. I can't imagine wanting to do that (when I've needed a last-minute ticket purchase, I used the airline's website from my phone) so I didn't even think of it. Commented Jul 24, 2016 at 1:50

I'm wondering why you just don't drive to your nearest MVS office and get a replacement on the spot. Also, why are you even asking here. Call your airline for info directly related to your specific situation. I lost my license while on vacation and didn't realize it until I was ready to go through airport security. (I had already printed my boarding pass at the hotel.) I was allowed to fly back home after being 'grilled' for about half an hour.


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