ID requirements when flying domestically?


My NY State driver license has been expired for 2 years (i never drive, and didn’t bother to renew it). I need to fly to Dallas this saturday (family thing) and I’m wondering whether the security guards at JFK are gonna give me trouble for trying to board a plane with an expired ID. Would anyone know what the policies are?


You are hosed unless you have a military ID, or a US passport. Otherwise, you should be able to get a state ID card.



You’ll need some form of ID for checkin if you don’t print your boarding pass at home. You don’t need ID to go through the TSA checkpoint.


You still need to provide identification at the checkpoint, even if you print your boarding pass at home. The procedure is to have your boarding pass and ID checked then you go to through the security line.


There is no legal requirement to present identification at the TSA checkpoint.


No, but they require it anyway.

For the OP, get a non-driver’s license photo ID from motor vehicle.


mduell is correct. There is no legal requirement for ID. You will however probably be subjected to secondary screening.

Don’t know for certain about NY state but most states do have a state ID card that is issued by the DMV.

Better yet, take the train.


I think if you print your own boarding pass, and do not check luggage, then TSA will request to see ID since you have not checked in with a ticket agent at the airport.

Going from KJAN to KBWI, I checked luggage and ticket agent saw my ID, and initialed on the boarding pass. I go through security and no ID needed.

On my return flight from KBWI back to KJAN, figured my bag fit in the overhead, printed my boarding pass at home and went right to security. I was required to provide ID to match the boarding pass I printed.

Prior times I have flown from BWI, I checked bags, ID was seen by ticket agent and I sailed through security with valid boarding card only since boarding card had initials would be my guess.

Don’t know the legalities, so much as anodectical experiences above for what it’s worth.

It would seem prudent that TSA would request / require ID for those that self check in, and get their boarding passes from the comforts of home. Otherwise, it would seem to be a huge loop hole in getting into the secure area of the airport without being identified???



Rereading this subject, I think we may be talking about two different things. What I’m saying is that in order to get to the TSA security checkpoint, you need to show your boarding pass and an ID. I just consider the boarding pass checkpoint to be just another part of the security checkpoint.

Granted, it is not now manned by TSA personnel but, if they have their way about it, the boarding pass checkpoint will be manned by TSA personnel.


Although TSA has established the minimum security guidelines, my personal experience has demonstrated that each airport can go to the extent they want to.

I’ve always been ID’d at check-in, sometimes at TSA, and sometimes special TSA teams recheck us just before entering the jetwalk.

They’re usually more thorough when they have these code orange levels.

In some airports, liquids purchased past the TSA screening are not allowed on board. In some other airports, I’ve seen signs in the convenience store [in the secure area] saying “Anything purchased in this store may be taken on board”.

Sometimes I am asked to turn on my cell phone or my laptop, other days they sweep it for traces of explosives (the procedures may not be the same on different days at the same airport.)

Conclusion: TSA is unpredictable. Be prepared in the as many and the best ways you can.


What kind of huge loop hole would that be ? Now, if someone managed to avoid being screened at all that would be an issue, but identifying screened passengers has zero to do with security.


You are, at some vague step in the process, required to present a valid * government issued photo ID.

Are you a oov’t employee?? Then you have a photo ID which will be sufficient.

Do you have a passport? That works.

A student ID from a state university? Faculty ID? Golf Pass. Library Card. The list goes on and on and on.

I ALWAYS use my State Bar ID card - it is a state issued photo ID and they NEVER will mess with a lawyer. They know we can ruin their day, maybe not today which is under their control, but soon, and for the rest of their lives.

If you lack a valid ID then you will simply need to be SSSS. Remember, if you lack a current ID, all you need to is volunteer for secondary screeening - just bend over and say thank you. The TSA can NOT deny you boarding for lack of an ID. The airline can however, since they want to make sure you bought the ticket and are using it. BE REALLY careful with how you pack - make triple certain you have NOTHING contraband with you.

Practically, show them the expired NY DL - what are the chances they will EVER catch it is out of date? They look at the name on the boarding pass and the name on the license - they never look at the dates in my experience. There are the rules and then there is the real world.

This all being said, how do you manage to cash checks?*


I believe you are legally required to carry a VALID photo ID at all times, not just for airport purposes… Most often not enforced- Police Officers are not just going to “take your word” that you are who you say if they check ID for any reason…

You can take your chance on the TSA not noticing the expired ID. If they do notice-- They could suspect you stole someone’s old ID and swapped the pic in order to buy plane tickets for your devious activity–

My money is on them not noticing either… But, you really should just get a real ID…


There is no law that says you, as an American, must carry identification with you at all times.


Correct. In the most-frequently cited cases of precedent (Brown vs. Texas, Hiibel vs. Nevada), the courts ruled that you must identify yourself when requested by a sworn law enforcement officer. Neither judgement specified a physical ID to be necessary, indeed neither even addressed that issue.

Unfortunately many, many LEOs as well as citizenry believe that identifying yourself is synonymous with “carrying ID”. It isn’t.



Getting around the no fly list comes to mind.


Duely noted… If you are not carrying an ID, would the officer be in the wrong in detaining you for identification purposes?? My thinking here was one might run the inconvenience of being held or transported to PD station awaiting positive ID. Exactly when do your rights get violated…??

(I should know better than to make an absolute statement in front of you people- Thanks for the wisdom and insight)


Actually, we ARE carrying ID… Sorta like on a hard disk, AKA “Brain” :laughing:
(But just don’t try to explain this to some narrow-minded LEO…You might wind up in hot water…)


If you are not carrying an ID, would the officer be in the wrong in detaining you for identification purposes??


My thinking here was one might run the inconvenience of being held or transported to PD station awaiting positive ID.


Exactly when do your rights get violated…??

Don’t know


You are not required to carry ID so long as you are not in a location that requires it.

Driving a car requires a DL in your possession. Flying an aircraft requires a pilot certificate and valid medical. Being in a courthouse in most states requires a valid photo ID. That being said, TSA’s website states that Photo Identification is Required to access the checkpoint. … index.shtm

note that the page states the lack of photo ID results in additional screening - not denied access to screening. Further, at NO location in any DHS regulation did I see that it requires the photo ID to be current. Nor does it state at ANY location it needs to be currently VALID, meaning in date.

Next, in a public location, if you do not possess a photo ID and are suspected of committing a crime, then you can be detained to establish your identity. Remember, you are ONLY required to identify yourself, not answer questions. Fifth Amendment remember. If you stand on your rights, such is not a valid reason for detention, nor is it suspicious behavior. Try asserting that some time and see how far it gets you. The good part is that if they ever discover anything after you assert your rights and there nothing else ‘suspicious,’ then you get off.

The practical rule is to always carry a photo ID. You must identify yourself when asked by an LEO. That is as far as the obligation goes, and you have right to ask him why he is asking for ID. You can REQUIRE that they identify their particularized suspicion. Now, if you are driving and are pulled over, they’ll have a reason and you should ALWAYS keep your mouth shut.

As for when your rights get violated? Unless you are in fact a lawyer with recent Constitutional law experience, 99% of laypersons will never know, and probably a 1/3 of lawyers would be wrong as well.

Best advice. Carry ID. Give it to the police officer. Answer no questions until you are satisfied you are not a suspect.