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Identification and Documentation Requirements

COVID-19 and travel at SEA Airport More Information

Real ID

See what you need to know before you go!

The following information is from our partners at the United States Department of Homeland Security for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

If you have any other questions about screening or REAL ID requirements you can reach out to TSA directly on their website, or on social media @AskTSA on Facebook or Twitter. If you have questions on passport control and documentation required for entry into the United States, you can contact the Embassy or CBP's Customer Service Team.

What’s the latest on the Real ID Act?

Due the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security has extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline. After May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States.

REAL ID-compliant cards are marked with a star at the top of the card. If you’re not sure, contact your state driver’s license agency on how to obtain a REAL ID-compliant card. For information by state, including where to obtain a REAL ID, visit the DHS REAL ID website and click your state on the map.

If you are not sure if your ID complies with REAL ID, check with your state department of motor vehicles. Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, and New York states issue REAL ID and state-issued enhanced driver’s licenses, both of which are acceptable. Washington state issues enhanced driver’s licenses only. State-issued enhanced driver's licenses are marked with a flag. These documents will be accepted at the airport security checkpoint when the REAL ID enforcement goes into effect.

What forms of identification are accepted for TSA Screening?

IDs for screening generally need to be government-issued with a photo to help confirm your identity. Usually, airlines don't require a form of ID for boarding and just want a boarding pass, but contact your airline to see if they have any specific requirements.

The following forms of ID are accepted through screening to fly:

  • 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
  • State-issued 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 Veterans Health Administration (VA) ID

If you have any other questions about screening or REAL ID requirements you can reach out to TSA directly on their website, or on social media @AskTSA on Facebook or Twitter.

Is an ID required for children under 18?

Children under 18 are not required to provide a form of identification for TSA screening when traveling within the United States. No birth certificates or social security cards are needed for flying! Airlines don't require a form of ID for boarding and just need a boarding pass. You can contact your airline to see if they have any specific requirements for children. Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.

Can I travel with a standard driver’s license?

Standard licenses will be accepted through May 3, 2023. TSA has adjusted some of their policies for IDs and the DHS has extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline, but it isn't until after then other forms of identification like an enhanced ID or passport will be required.

When can I use a passport? When can I use a driver’s license?

The form of identification you need will vary depending on where you're arriving from or traveling to:

  • If you're coming from an international destination to the U.S.: You'll need a passport
  • If you're arriving domestically from within the U.S.: Passports as well as other forms of ID are accepted. There is a variety of accepted forms of ID. TSA's website shows all the forms of identification that are accepted. IDs for screening generally need to be government-issued with a photo to help confirm your identity.
Can I use an expired driver’s license for TSA screening?

Due to COVID-19 TSA has adjusted some of their policies for IDs. If your driver's license or state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration including a driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles.

I don’t have an acceptable form of identification for TSA Screening, what can I do?

If you arrive at the airport without valid identification 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, including a pat down and screening of carry-on property.

You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you choose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process. TSA recommends that you arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time.

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