I'm currently out of status and want to travel to New York from Los Angeles. I came here in the US with a tourist visa. I've been out of status for five years. I got married recently with a immigrant resident here is US. I have a valid driver's license because of the law that was given last year for non immigrant visa to obtain a driver's license. I also have a valid passport but my visa and status are no longer up to date.

I'm scared to travel by plane because they might question me regarding my status because President Trump has a lot of new policies and laws being enforced. The travel is for our honeymoon I just want to make sure I can pass through the airport without being questioned about my status.

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    What do you mean by out of status? Are you residing illegally in the US? If so you should probably contact a lawyer. – JoErNanO Feb 22 '17 at 1:41
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    @JoErNanO "Out of status" is an official term that means exactly that. – Doc Feb 22 '17 at 2:02
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    When you decided to overstay and not properly document it, you made a choice, effectively depriving yourself of many freedoms you would have enjoyed has your stay been legal. You also sentenced yourself to the constant fear of being caught. When you married, you decided to deprive your partner of some of the above mentioned liberties as well for many long years. – mzu Feb 22 '17 at 2:29
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    It would probably be more useful to provide information rather than to lecture the OP. – Zach Lipton Feb 22 '17 at 2:48
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    @mzu but the statute criminalizes the aiding and abetting of "encouraging or inducing...." It does not criminalize offering aid to anyone who already resides illegally in the US (unless the aid is encouragement or inducement to reside in the US, of course). If you want to discuss, ping me in chat. – phoog Feb 24 '17 at 1:07

The TSA does not care about your immigration status or lack thereof. The border patrol sometimes operates at TSA checkpoints, but I'm only aware of this happening at airports closer to the Mexican border (for example McAllen, TX, or San Diego, CA).

I've flown several times between LA and NY without any indication of immigration checks. I've used a non-US passport with no indication of immigration status at TSA checkpoints (I'm a dual US citizen); they've never looked at anything other than the ID page.

Still, the trip increases your risk of exposure. Border Patrol can change their practices without warning. The safest thing to do is to refrain from traveling to New York.


There is no requirement to use or show your passport while travelling by plane on a domestic flight within the US. If you have a valid driver's license, that will be sufficient to fly. Airline employees are not immigration officers and probably wouldn't even know what questions to ask you.

The above answer was written before it became clear that the current US administration (February 2017) will be much more strongly enforcing checks of immigration status for all persons. As a result, it's no longer safe to assume that domestic travellers will not need to show proof of immigration status.

  • This ignores the recent action on illegal aliens. APIS data means that their information will be passed to the government. Whilst it may seem unlikely that any action would be taken, it's certainly far more impossible. – Doc Feb 22 '17 at 2:01
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    @Doc does APIS apply to domestic flights? – phoog Feb 22 '17 at 2:17
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    The TSA may not accept a driver's license that is issued to someone who is out of status. These licenses are typically different, and they certainly won't be accepting them in the future; I'm just not certain what the status is now. Regardless, the traveler has a valid passport and can use that. If there's an immigration checkpoint at the TSA screening, the driver's license will be of no use in any event. – phoog Feb 22 '17 at 2:21
  • @phoog: As far as I know, TSA currently accepts all valid state driver's licenses, period. tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification mentions no exceptions. You might be thinking of the REAL ID implementation which is scheduled for January 2018, but has been pushed back before. – Nate Eldredge Feb 22 '17 at 2:58
  • California AB 60 driver's licenses are really not useful for getting on planes. – Dennis Feb 22 '17 at 3:17

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