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You show up to the airport, and panic as you realize that you left your driver’s license in your other wallet at home! Or maybe you are on the way to the airport now, and googling: Can I fly with an expired driver’s license? You do not need to turn the car around, because even with an expired driver’s license, you do have some flexibility to still getting on your flight.
Flying with an expired driver’s license
The short answer is yes, you can fly with an expired driver’s license. However, you will still be required to prove your identity.
The TSA website states:
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 an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You will be subject to additional screening, to include a patdown and screening of carry-on property.
There are occasions where the TSA agent may not notice that your license is expired, and will still let you through the security line. It is a good idea to have back-up identification in the event that the expired license is not sufficient.
Before your flight, renew your driver’s license online
If you notice that your driver’s license is expired at least a day before your flight, check to see if you can renew your driver’s license online. You may not have time to make it to the DMV office, but you may be able to print off a temporary license, or proof of your renewal, that you can use.
If you need to bring a temporary printed license to the airport, I would also recommend bringing your expired license as well. This way, the TSA agent that is screening you has no doubts as to whether your temporary license is valid.
Alternate forms of identification for airport security
A driver’s license is not the only form of identification you can use to get through airport security. Some people may not even have a driver’s license. As stated on the TSA website, the following forms of identification will be allowed at airport security:
- Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
- Permanent resident card
- Border crossing card
- DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
- 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
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
- U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
I always leave my passport in my work bag, in the event that I accidentally leave my driver’s license at home or lose it while on the road. Though, many of the other forms of ID you can use at the airport as less common, and you may not have any of those on hand. If you still do not have a valid ID, you will have to find a way to prove your identity at the airport.
How to prove my identity at airport security
If you do not have any alternative forms of identification and your driver’s license is expired, then bring as many documents with your name on them that you can. Your goal is to show the TSA agent that you are who you say you are, in order to fly with an expired driver’s license. The following documents may be useful in proving your identity:
- Business Cards
- Debit/Credit Cards
- Proof of insurance
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificate
- Bills (electricity/water/etc.)
- School ID
Keep in mind, whether the above evidence is sufficient is up to the TSA agent who is checking your identity. If your driver’s license is expired and you do not have another approved alternate form of ID, then you should arrive to the airport early in the event that you need additional screening. The TSA website recommends that you arrive at least two hours before your flight.
What other issues might I run into with an expired driver’s license?
While you may be able to fly with an expired license, you will not be able to rent a car with an expired license. Your car rental company will require that your license is updated in order for you to drive. In these circumstances, you may be stuck to using an Uber or Lyft. Depending on your state, you may be able to re-new your driver’s license online, and get a temporary license that you are able to print out.
Your hotel as you are checking in may also require a form of identification. While they are less likely to care if your driver’s license is expired, it would still be a good idea to bring other forms of ID just in case. If you were able to get through airport security, use the same type of identification to prove your identity to the hotel.
Realizing that your driver’s license is expired when you are about to travel can cause a brief panic attack, but do not worry. If you have time to print a few extra documents, consider quickly renewing your license. Otherwise, print off a few bills and other formal documentation with your name, and hope that you are convincing enough!