In the U.S., every traveler above the age of 18 has to show a valid ID to board a commercial airliner. Not having one is inconvenient, but not an insurmountable obstacle.
What does the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official policy have to say?
What Are the Official TSA Accepted Documents?
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- Driver’s license
- Any state-issued photo ID
- Travelers cards approved by DHS such as NEXUS, FAST, and SENTRI
- ID issued by US DoD to military and other personnel
- Green Card or permanent resident card
- Tribal photo ID
- Foreign passports
- Canadian driver’s license
- Transportation Department ID
- U.S. Veterans Health Card (for ex-military personnel)
- HSPD-12 PIV card
In case you don’t have these, you could resort to the following forms of identification in the list below. They are not covered by the official policy, but a polite request backed up by one or more of these identification proofs might suffice to get you through the security checkpoint.
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10 Different IDs to Help You Get Through Security
1. Clear Membership
Clear is a U.S. government-approved travelers’ program. In some ways, it is similar to TSA Pre-check. The major differences being it is privately owned, and they verify identity through a biometrics scan, which is speedier.
Clear passes are not only valid at airports, but also at stadiums and concert venues. The cost is $15 per month, and if you are a regular traveler, that is a small charge for expedited security clearance.
In addition, Clear provides a Health Pass, which allows you to share your vaccination status and any other COVID-19 related details quickly with airport and airline staff.
If Clear is available at the airport that you frequent, take advantage because it is the easiest way to fly. At present, Clear is only available in major airports.
2. Snapshots of your IDs
This is an ideal way to identify yourself. Taking pictures of your driver’s license and storing them on your phone is smart and hassle-free.
In case you have forgotten to carry your ID or your wallet has been stolen, show it to the TSA personnel and request them to wave you through.
After all, the ID has a 12- or 16-digit code, and that can be easily verified by TSA as being genuine. Granted, it is not as good as the real thing, but you may be able to convince security that you have a good reason.
3. Credit Cards
You may forget your driver’s license, but hopefully not your credit cards. It is nearly impossible to move about without them.
The fantastic thing about credit cards is that they can help you prove your identity at the airport.
If you happen to have a credit card with a photo ID, all of your problems are solved. Otherwise, you could call the credit card helpline and have the customer care representative talk with the TSA personnel.
Since it is impossible to get through to customer care unless you are the actual customer because verification is needed, it acts as a perfect way to confirm your identity.
4. Police Report
One of the most inconvenient things that can happen to you before you travel is getting your wallet, or other property, stolen.
But you can turn the misfortune around with some quick thinking. File a police report detailing all of the items that were stolen.
The police report works as proof that your IDs are indeed not within your reach. The TSA may take cognizance of your misfortune and allow you through. If necessary, they can place a call to the police precinct and verify your story.
5. Costco Membership
It is a photo ID, and can help you get through a TSA check.
Just when you thought that the $60 you pay at Costco every year couldn’t get any better, the bulk retailer offers a new surprise.
Costco is a reputed name, and everyone has heard of its membership program.
Perhaps the Costco card alone is not enough. But, when you can also offer your credit card with your name, it is sure to help you through.
6. Employee ID
Most employees are given some form of a work ID. Some companies issue photo ID cards with name, employee number, designation, and other details.
If you don’t have access to the documents TSA approves in the list above, you could try to use your employee ID.
To verify, all that the TSA needs to do is call your supervisor. Of course, much depends on their discretion.
7. Bank Check
Bank checks don’t have your photo, but your name and address are certainly on them.
Just like a credit card, a phone call to the bank’s helpline can establish your identity. Note that it might not be sufficient by itself, but it is certainly quite convincing with some other evidence such as a student ID, or pictures of your driver’s license on your phone.
8. Student ID
Every college and university issues a photo ID card to its students. This is probably the best alternative to the list of permitted IDs.
Student IDs will have your picture and name listed on them, as well as other information about your school on the back. If anyone is doubting you, they can call the school to verify your identity.
9. Marriage License
A rather odd and unconventional use for a marriage license, but it is sufficient for the TSA. If you are heading back from your wedding, but lost your proper IDs, the license is perfect proof of your identity. Most states insist that a photo be affixed.
What can carry more details about your life than a marriage license and certificate?
10. Utility Bills and Insurance Policy
If you thought you would never be happy to see a utility bill, being without a valid ID at the TSA checkpoint might make you change your mind.
Your bill has all of your important details, including your name and address.
An insurance policy is even better since it mentions your age as well. You can use your domestic insurance policy, or, if you have purchased travel insurance, that will work as well.
There is no certainty when it comes to travel. Bad weather or engine trouble might cause your flight to be canceled, or you might have an accident while you are on vacation. Travel insurance can be extremely helpful in recovering your costs, and travel medical insurance can help cover costs for accidental injuries and illnesses.
At Insubuy, you can find the best policies and prompt service. Compare different plans and choose the perfect one that meets your needs.
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Points to Remember
While the list mentioned above can help you to get past TSA in ordinary times, remember that extraordinary times can happen without any warning.
The TSA is required to be extra vigilant when they have been notified of possible danger. After all, the TSA is charged with keeping everyone in the airport safe. It is a job with enormous responsibilities, and the duty of every passenger is to assist them as much as possible.
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