Getting ready to board a flight in the U.S. has you double checking your ID. Do you need more than a driver’s license and require a passport for domestic travel? If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: No, you do not need a passport for domestic flights within the U.S. A REAL ID compliant driver’s license or other approved ID is sufficient.

REAL ID Replaces Passport for Domestic Flights

For years, travelers have relied on their passports as the primary form of identification when flying internationally. However, with the introduction of the REAL ID Act, there has been a shift in the requirements for domestic flights as well.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 and aims to enhance the security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.

Compliant Driver’s Licenses Meet TSA Requirements

Under the REAL ID Act, certain driver’s licenses are now considered compliant with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements for domestic flights. These compliant driver’s licenses have an added layer of security features, making them more reliable for identification purposes.

So, if you have a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, you can use it as an alternative to your passport when flying domestically.

It’s important to note that not all driver’s licenses are REAL ID compliant. Each state has been given an extension to become compliant, but there is a deadline by which all states must comply. To check if your state’s driver’s license is compliant, you can visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website for more information.

Also Accepts Military IDs, Passport Cards, More

In addition to REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses, the TSA also accepts other forms of identification for domestic flights. These include military IDs, passport cards, permanent resident cards, and trusted traveler cards such as Global Entry or NEXUS.

These alternative forms of identification are accepted because they have undergone rigorous screening and verification processes.

It’s worth noting that while these alternative forms of identification are acceptable for domestic flights, they may not be sufficient for international travel. If you’re planning to fly internationally, it’s always best to carry your passport to avoid any potential complications.

Make Sure Your ID is REAL ID Compliant

When it comes to traveling within the United States, it’s important to have the right identification. In recent years, the federal government has implemented the REAL ID Act, which sets stricter guidelines for identification requirements.

The REAL ID Act was enacted to enhance the security of driver’s licenses and identification cards, making them more difficult to counterfeit or tamper with. So, if you’re wondering whether you need your passport for a domestic flight, the answer depends on whether your ID is REAL ID compliant.

Star Icon Indicates Compliance

One way to determine if your ID is REAL ID compliant is to look for a star icon on your driver’s license or identification card. This star icon indicates that your ID meets the requirements set forth by the REAL ID Act.

It serves as a visual cue to airport security personnel that your ID is acceptable for domestic air travel. So, if you see that star on your ID, you can rest assured knowing that you won’t need your passport for a domestic flight.

Non-Compliant IDs Rejected After May 2023

It’s important to note that starting from May 2023, non-compliant IDs will no longer be accepted for domestic air travel. So, if your current ID does not have the star icon, you will need to obtain a REAL ID-compliant identification card or an alternative acceptable form of identification, such as a passport, to board a domestic flight.

To avoid any last-minute hassles or disruptions to your travel plans, it’s recommended to check if your ID is REAL ID compliant well in advance.

For more information about REAL ID compliance and how to obtain a REAL ID-compliant ID, you can visit the official Department of Homeland Security website:

Bring Approved Secondary ID Just in Case

When it comes to domestic flights, it’s easy to assume that your passport is not required. However, it is always a good idea to bring an approved secondary ID with you, just in case. While most domestic flights do not require a passport, there may be situations where you might need to provide additional identification.

Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, etc.

One of the most common forms of secondary ID is a social security card. This official document contains your unique social security number and serves as proof of your identity. Another option is to bring your birth certificate, which provides information about your date of birth and parentage.

These documents can be used to verify your identity if needed.

It is important to note that not all secondary IDs are accepted universally. Different airlines and airports may have their own specific requirements. Therefore, it is always a good idea to check with your airline or the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for a list of acceptable secondary IDs before your trip.

Supports Identity if Primary ID Questioned

While your primary ID, such as a driver’s license, is usually sufficient for domestic flights, there may be instances where it is questioned or deemed insufficient. This could be due to various reasons, such as an expired ID or concerns about its authenticity.

In such cases, having a secondary ID can come in handy and provide the necessary support to establish your identity.

By having an approved secondary ID, you can avoid potential complications or delays at the airport security checkpoint. It’s always better to be prepared and have multiple forms of identification readily available.

Remember, even if you bring your passport as your primary ID, it’s still a good idea to have a secondary ID as a backup. This way, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.

Children Under 18 Have Different ID Requirements

When it comes to children traveling domestically, there are some differences in the identification requirements compared to adults. While adults typically need a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, children under 18 may have alternative options.

Birth Certificate

In most cases, children under 18 can use their birth certificate as a form of identification for domestic flights. This document proves their age and citizenship, and it is often accepted by airlines as a valid ID.

However, it’s important to note that some airlines may have additional requirements or restrictions, so it’s always a good idea to check with the airline before traveling.

School ID or Social Security Card

In some instances, a school ID or a Social Security card may be accepted as a valid form of identification for children traveling domestically. These documents can help establish the child’s identity and are often seen as sufficient proof of age and citizenship.

Accompanied by an Adult

In certain situations, children under 18 may not need any form of identification if they are traveling with a responsible adult. The adult’s identification can serve as proof of the child’s identity, and the airline may not require any additional documentation for the child.

It’s important to keep in mind that ID requirements can vary between airlines and even between different countries. It’s always a good idea to check with the airline or consult their website to ensure you have the necessary identification for your child before booking a domestic flight.

Additionally, it’s recommended to arrive at the airport well in advance to allow for any potential issues or delays related to ID verification.

Double Check TSA ID Rules Before Flying

When it comes to air travel, it’s always important to ensure that you have the necessary identification with you. While most people associate passports with international travel, there may be situations where you need to present your passport for a domestic flight as well.

It’s crucial to double-check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ID rules before flying to avoid any last-minute surprises.

TSA Accepted Forms of Identification

The TSA has a list of accepted forms of identification that passengers can use when traveling domestically. These include:

  • A valid passport
  • A driver’s license or state-issued ID card
  • A permanent resident card or green card
  • A military ID card
  • An enhanced driver’s license (only available in certain states)

It’s essential to ensure that your ID is not expired and in good condition. The name on your ID should match the name on your boarding pass to avoid any potential issues at the security checkpoint.

Passport as a Backup ID

While a passport is not typically required for domestic flights, it can serve as an excellent backup form of identification. If you don’t have any of the other accepted forms of ID, having your passport with you can help prevent any travel disruptions.

Additionally, if you’re planning to travel internationally after your domestic flight, having your passport handy will save you time and hassle.

Check with the Airline

It’s always a good idea to check with your airline before your flight to confirm their specific ID requirements. Some airlines may have additional rules or restrictions when it comes to identification. Visit their website or give them a call to get the most up-to-date information.

Pro tip: The TSA website ( is an excellent resource for detailed information on ID requirements for domestic flights. Make sure to familiarize yourself with their guidelines to ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.


While passports are still required for international flights from the U.S., you can keep yours safely at home when catching a domestic flight. Just bring a federally approved REAL ID compliant form of identification.

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