Domestic Air Travel ID Requirements

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Domestic Air Travel ID Requirements
Relatively few documents are required for boarding a domestic flight in the U.S. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

As you plan your next trip, one of the most important things to focus on is ensuring that your travel documents are in order. Appropriate travel documents are a necessity, and yet often are overlooked until the last minute. Air travel within the United States is a relatively simple process as far as paperwork is concerned. Very little documentation is required for the average passenger to travel freely.

TSA Standards

Regardless of what sort of identification you use, the Transportation Security Administration has standards for what the identification documents must contain. Driver's licenses, birth certificates and passports all provide your name, date of birth, gender and a tamper-resistant feature such as a watermark.

Driver's License

A driver's license is the most common form of photo identification used by domestic air travellers. For those without a driver's license, a state- or federal-issued photo card is acceptable, as is a military ID card. You need your driver's license or photo identification to check luggage, to pick up a boarding pass at the airline ticket counter and to get through airport security.


A passport is not a requirement for travelling domestically; however, you can use it the security checkpoint if you don't have a driver's license. You must have at least one form of photo identification, but it is better to have a safety net and carry two.

Birth Certificate

A birth certificate also serves as a form of identification, but it is generally considered to be a last resort since it does not contain a photo.

Boarding Pass

The only other document required, besides photo identification, is a boarding pass. The boarding pass can be printed online or at an airline kiosk near the airline's counter at the airport. Although doing so is time consuming, you can also get a boarding pass at the airline's airport ticketing and check-in counter. Show your boarding pass and photo ID to get through the security checkpoint. You need just your boarding pass to get onto the plane.

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