Can You Travel Nationally With an Expired Passport?

Are you going on a trip within the U.S. and suddenly realize that your passport is expired? Will you be able to travel without any problems?

A passport usually expires every 10 years. You may not have been aware of this, but a passport can be used as proof of your U.S. citizenship even after it has expired. Thus, this will allow you to board U.S. domestic flights.

National travel with an expired passport

According to official U.S. requirements, a passport is not needed to travel domestically—whether you do so by air, land, or sea.

However, if you wish to travel by air, you must show a valid, state-issued identification document at the airport checkpoint. Among popular documents, such as driver’s license, state ID, or passport card, TSA accepts expired passports as well. 

There are some strings attached to traveling with your expired passport nationally, though. First, you can do so only if your document has expired no more than 1 (one) year before your travel. Second, you must be a U.S. citizen.

As a rule of thumb, if you are a U.S. citizen there is no obligation for you to carry your U.S. passport while traveling throughout the United States. 

However, it is generally considered a good practice to carry with you any document certifying your identity and nationality. This can be your driver’s license, your regular passport book, or your expired passport as well.

All things considered, you should be okay traveling nationally with your expired passport. Beware, however, that if your document has expired more than a year from your planned trip, you may encounter some difficulties at identity checks, e.g., at the airport.  

Can a child travel domestically with an expired passport?

Generally speaking, a child can travel domestically in the U.S. with an expired passport. 

There are no identity checks when passing states, however there are some instances—such as boarding a plane or other means of transport with a name seat allocation—that a document confirming identity may come in handy. 

When it comes to children, the amount of identity-documents to choose from is rather limited, but the good news is that an expired U.S. passport will be sufficient to confirm your child’s identity.

Before booking a domestic flight, check the airline for its specific requirements for children, to have the necessary documents with you if necessary.

Regulations for people who are not citizens of the U.S.

The U.S. government does not require permanent residents to have valid passports, so if you have a Green Card, you will be able to travel throughout the U.S. even with your passport expired.  

If you are not a permanent resident, but instead have a U.S. Visa, you may travel within the United States with an expired passport, as long as your visa is valid, intact, and meets the type of visa required for your primary purpose of travel (tourist visa if your primary purpose of travel is tourism).

Although a valid passport is not required for domestic travel within the United States, both for Green Card holders and U.S. Visa holders, you must have the preceding documents with you to certify your identity and legal residence in the U.S. 

Can you travel nationally with an expired passport: FAQ

Can I use my expired passport to travel domestically to the U.S.?

Yes, you can travel domestically in the U.S. with an expired U.S. passport as valid proof of your identity and citizenship, as long as it expired in the last 12 (twelve) months. 

What will happen if I travel within the U.S. with an expired passport?

It is rarely necessary to carry your passport with you for a domestic flight. You will be able to enter another state with an expired passport just fine. You can use another document that proves your identity to travel to the United States. 

What alternative documents can I use instead of the U.S. passport for a domestic flight?

For domestic US flights, you can use the following documents instead of a passport: U.S. passport card, traveler cards, military ID, birth certificate, permanent resident card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, VHIC, and others.

Can you travel nationally with an expired passport: closing thoughts

When you board a domestic flight in the United States, you must present a valid photo identification card proving that you are the person named on the ticket. In addition to a driver’s license, airlines also accept several other types of identification, including passports, both valid and expired. 

You can travel domestically by land, sea or air in the U.S. with a U.S. passport that has expired within the last year. If you don’t have a valid ID, you can still travel within the country, as long as you can provide valid proof of your identity. 

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