Do You Need a Passport to Travel in the US?

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The REAL ID Act is causing a lot of uncertainty, especially when it comes to air travel. The legislation was supposed to go into effect on October 1, 2020. The execution date was put out another further due to the exceptional conditions caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), all domestic airline passengers in the United States must now fulfill the REAL ID criteria by May 3, 2023. So, what does this imply, and how should you proceed? This page will clarify the situation and explain how to utilize your passport while traveling inside the United States.

Do I Need a Passport to Fly Domestically in the US in 2022?

All adult travellers (18 and older) must provide legal identification at the airport, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Identification must include your photo, name, and state. So, it doesn’t necessarily need to be your passport, meaning you can fly domestically in the U.S. in 2022 without a valid passport for travel.

If you do not have a passport, the following forms of identification are acceptable:

  • A U.S. passport card
  • A driver’s license
  • A DHS trusted traveler card.
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
  • Border crossing card
  • A permanent resident card
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) ID
  • Tribal-issued photo ID

If you don’t have an ID because you forgot it at home or it’s lost, you can still fly within the United States. The TSA will ask you to go through an identification verification procedure. That implies you’ll be subjected to further (and more thorough) screening. Children under the age of 18 are not expected to provide identification when traveling domestically.

What Kind of ID Do You Need to Travel in the US?

While you may currently travel in the United States with the above-mentioned IDs, this will most certainly change after the REAL ID regulations go into force in May 2023. In this instance, you may still board aircraft using your state-issued ID or driver’s license. It MUST, however, have the REAL ID star. A star appears in the top left or right corner of REAL ID cards. Check with the driver’s license department in your state to see whether your license is REAL ID-compliant. They will also assist you in obtaining one if it is not compliant.

In the absence of a REAL ID, you will be able to use a valid passport, a U.S. military ID, or a federal government PIV card for domestic travel. If you want to use your passport, make sure it is up to date by May 3, 2023. According to the Department of State, this may take six to eight weeks. Without a passport, REAL ID-compliant card, or any other accepted forms of identification, you’ll not be allowed through TSA checkpoints, meaning you won’t be able to fly within the U.S.

Do You Need a REAL ID to Fly in the US?

If you don’t have a passport and want to fly inside the United States, you’ll need a REAL ID starting May 3, 2023. Access to any government building will also need the ID. You won’t be allowed to visit your loved ones in military bases, for example, if you don’t have one.

This law will apply to all 50 U.S. states and territories, including Guam, the U.S Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. You may still travel locally without the ID if you have a passport. It will be a difficulty for the over 60% of US residents who do not have a passport.

Your REAL ID may be obtained through your local Department of Motor Vehicles, AAA, or regional state offices. It is feasible to complete the essential paperwork online before visiting the appropriate office. Before applying, make sure you meet the minimal criteria.

You’ll need a valid passport, driver’s license, state ID, or military ID to travel as a resident. Check your identity before leaving to verify it is valid and up to date. Also, take some time to learn about the laws of the state you’re flying to — that helps avoid delays and frustrations.

U.S. citizens may also travel locally using state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses (EDLs). EDLs, on the other hand, are only accessible in a few of states, including New York, Washington, Minnesota, and Michigan. They are distributed to citizens of states bordering the United States in order to comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

You will need your passport if you are a foreign national going inside the United States. Keep your passport in a secure place. Flying within the U.S. without a passport as a foreign national can be quite stressful.

Green-carded residents, on the other hand, must have both their normal picture ID and their green card in order to travel inside the United States. The card can also function as a driver’s license or other ID. Domestic travel does not need the use of a passport.

Where Can I Fly Without a Passport?

There are no states that need passports from US residents to travel domestically as of February 2021. Your airline or TSA should never need you to show a legitimate passport. Of course, you may always bring it with you as backup identification in case you lose your other forms of identity.

In brief, you may travel to all 50 states and territories in the United States without a passport. Just make sure you have your driver’s license or a state-issued ID with you. To prevent future headaches, make sure your driver’s license and other forms of identification are REAL-ID compatible by May 2023.

To go overseas, you’ll need a passport. So, it’s vital not to leave it at home if your travel plans are likely to change.

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