Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.
We understand passengers occasionally arrive at the airport without an ID, because of losing it or inadvertently leaving it at home. If this happens to you, it does not necessarily mean you won’t be allowed to fly. If you are willing to provide additional information, we have other ways to confirm your identity, like using publicly available databases, so you can reach your flight.
If we clear you through this process, we may give you additional screening. If we can’t verify your identity, you may not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint or to board a plane.
Acceptable IDs for screening purposes include:
U.S. passport card
DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents, and DoD civilians)
Permanent resident card
Border crossing card
DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license
Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) for the sole purpose of identification
Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
HSPD-12 PIV card
Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
Foreign government-issued passport
Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
Transportation Worker Identification Credential
Note: a weapon permit is not an acceptable form of identification.
How to Get Through the Line Faster
What to Know Before You Go:
Keep in mind the following advice to make your trip through the airport as fast and comfortable as possible.
Suitcase OrganizationRemove and separate oversized electronics (laptops, full-size video game consoles, DVD players, and video cameras that use cassettes) from your carry-on for proper screening. You will need to remove large electronics from your carry-on bag at the checkpoint for separate X-ray screening. Read about checkpoint friendly laptop bag procedures. Unless you receive specific instructions, small electronics, such as smartphones, tablets and certain other mobile/portable electronic devices, can stay in your carry-on bag.
Prepare a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag of liquids before arriving at the airport. Read about the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on baggage.Pack all coats and jackets in checked baggage when possible. All coats and jackets must go through the X-ray machine.Do not wrap gifts. If security officers need to inspect a package, they may have to unwrap it. Don’t wrap gifts until you reach your final destination.
Pack undeveloped film in your carry-on bag. If you have film that is faster than 800-speed, tell a TSA officer who will manually inspect the film instead of placing it through the X-ray.
When in doubt, leave it out. Unsure if you can bring an item through the checkpoint? Put it in your checked baggage or leave it at home. Read about prohibited items.
Dress the Part
If you set off an alarm during screening, the TSA officers have to find out why. They will conduct additional screening to make sure that the object that set off the alarm is not a threat.
Advanced Imaging Technology
Before you enter an AIT machine for screening, we strongly recommend that you remove ALL items from your pockets, as well as certain accessories. These include your wallet, belt, bulky jewelry, money, keys and cell phone. Removing these items will reduce the chance of additional screening after you exit the machine. Read about this technology.
Certain metal body piercings may cause the machines to alarm, which will result in additional screening. If this happens, you may be asked to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to a pat-down search.
Travelers are allowed to wear head coverings and religious garments during the screening process. They may need additional screening if the headwear or clothing (religious or otherwise) is loose fitting or large enough to hide prohibited items. Learn more about security considerations for religious or cultural needs.
Please remove your shoes before screening. Put them directly on the belt to go through the X-ray machine instead of in a bin with other items. It is safe, easy and gives officers a better look.
Tell a security officer if you are unable to remove your shoes because of a disability, medical condition or a prosthetic device. The security officer will give you additional screening that includes a visual and physical inspection.
Why do we screen shoes? Screening shoes by X-ray identifies anomalies, including explosives.
Have the Following Ready
You should present the following documents to a TSA officer at the checkpoint:
If you don’t have identification (lost, stolen, etc.), you will need to give the security officer information that will help verify your identity. Please allow additional time since this slows down the screening process and will result in additional screening. (Children do not have to show identification).
Hassle-Free Security Tips
Arrive on time
Ask your airline what time you should arrive for your flight – arrival time recommendations vary by airline and day of travel. Remember to leave enough time to check your bags and go through security.
Wear slip-on shoes. This way you can remove and replace your shoes quickly without sitting down.
Please remove your pet from its carrying case. Send the case through the X-ray machine. Hold your pet in your arms and carry it through the metal detector.
Please take infants and children out of baby carriers and strollers and take them through the metal detector. Strollers and baby carriers go through the X-ray machine with your carry-on bags. If possible, collapse the stroller before you reach the metal detector. Read about traveling with children.
Think before you speak. Belligerent behavior, inappropriate jokes and threats is not tolerated. This kind of behavior will delay you and may cause you to miss your flight. If necessary, TSA officers may call local law enforcement.
TSA does not prohibit the public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as it does not interfere with or slow down the screening process. We do ask you to not film or take pictures of the monitors. Also, while TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes and local ordinances may do so.
Taking photographs may prompt airport police or a TSA official to ask what your purpose is. We recommend that you contact the TSA Contact Center to determine the policies of specific airports. If you are a member of the press, please contact the TSA Office of Public Affairs.
3-1-1 Liquids Rule
You are allowed to bring one small bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces or less per container. Consolidating these containers in the small bag separate from your carry-on baggage enables TSA officers to screen them quickly.
3-1-1 for carry-ons. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container; must be in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. The bag limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring.
Be prepared. Each time a TSA officer stops to physically screen a carry-on bag, it slows down the line. Practicing the 3-1-1 rule will facilitate the checkpoint experience.
Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula/food and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces, and they don’t have to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. TSA officers may need to open them for additional screening.
If in doubt, put your liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes in checked baggage.
Inbound international flights
You may now carry liquids more than 100 mL in your carry-on bag if:
You are traveling internationally into the United States with a connecting flight;
they are in transparent containers;
you bought them at a duty-free shop, and
the store packed them in a secure, tamper-evident bag.
If your liquids are not in a secure, tamper-evident bag, you must pack them in your checked bag.
If the liquids alarm during screening, we will need to screen them further.
What to Know Before You Go
If a passenger cannot or chooses not to be screened by imaging technology or a walk-through metal detector, the passenger will be screened using a thorough patdown procedure instead. A patdown procedure also is used to resolve any alarms of a metal detector or anomalies identified by imaging technology.
If a patdown is required in order to complete screening:
The patdown should be conducted by an officer of the same gender. Sometimes, passengers must wait for an officer of the same gender to become available.
The passenger can request a private screening at any time and a private screening should be offered when the officer must patdown sensitive areas. During a private screening, another officer will also be present and the passenger may be accompanied by a companion of his or her choosing.
A passenger may ask for a chair if he or she needs to sit down.
A passenger should inform an officer before the patdown begins of any difficulty raising his or her arms, remaining in the position required for a pat-down, or any areas of the body that are painful when touched.
A passenger should not be asked to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal a sensitive body area.
In addition to the patdown, TSA may use technology to test for traces of explosive material. If explosive material is detected, the passenger will have to undergo additional screening.
Frequently Asked Questions
What triggers a pat-down?
Pat-downs are used to resolve alarms at the checkpoint, including those triggered by metal detectors and AIT units. Pat-downs are also used when a person opts out of AIT screening in order to detect potentially dangerous and prohibited items. Because pat-downs are specifically used to resolve alarms and prevent dangerous items from going on a plane, the vast majority of passengers will not receive a pat-down at the checkpoint.
What can I do to prevent an alarm at the security checkpoint?
The majority of pat-downs occur when a passenger alarms either the metal detector or the AIT unit. To reduce this circumstance, the most important thing you can do is take everything out of your pockets before you go through screening. Also, when traveling, avoid wearing clothes with a high metal content, and put heavy jewelry on after you go through security.
What do I do during a pat-down?
All passengers have important rights during a pat-down. You have the right to request the pat-down be conducted in a private room and you have the right to have the pat-down witnessed by a person of your choice. All pat-downs are only conducted by same-gender officers. The officer will explain the pat-down process before and during the pat-down. If you have a medical device, please inform the officer.
Will children receive pat-downs?
TSA officers will work with parents to resolve any alarms at the checkpoint. TSA has modified screening procedures for children 12 and under that reduces the likelihood of a pat-down.
Screening for Passengers 75 and Older
75 and Older Checkpoint SignPassengers 75 and older receive modified screening procedures as part of TSA’s overarching risk-based security methodology. These procedures are similar to screening procedures for passengers 12 and under and improve screening by better focusing resources on passengers who may be more likely to pose a risk.
Passengers 75 and older can:
Leave on shoes and light jackets through security checkpoints.
Undergo an additional pass through Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) to clear any anomalies detected during screening.
An expanded use of explosives trace detection technology is also deployed on a wider basis to resolve alarms. Travelers may be required to remove their shoes or undergo a pat-down if anomalies are detected during security screening that cannot be resolved through other means.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How are individuals who are 75 and older identified at the checkpoint?
Transportation Security Officers make a visual assessment to determine passengers who are 75 or older and inform them of changes to the screening procedures. These procedures are similar to providing modified screening procedures for passengers 12 and under.
2. Will TSA perform pat-downs on passengers 75 and older?
Changes reduce – though not eliminate – the need for a physical pat-down for travelers 75 and older. Passengers 75 and older could still undergo a pat-down and be asked to remove their shoes if anomalies are detected during security screening that cannot be resolved through other means.
3. Will individuals 75 and older still go through imaging technologies?
Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) remains a screening option for all passengers able to assume and hold the AIT stance for five seconds. Imaging technology remains optional for all passengers. Senior passengers 75 and older are permitted an additional pass through AIT to clear any anomalies.
4. What happens if the passenger’s shoes alarm?
Passengers 75 or older whose shoes alarm during screening will be advised to take their shoes off during the next security screening pass. All alarms must be resolved.
5. Are travel companions for individuals 75 and older eligible for modified screening procedures?
Only travelers who meet the age requirement of 75 and older are eligible for these modified screening procedures. Passengers 12 and under are also permitted to leave their shoes on during screening.
6. Are procedures for passengers 75 and older who use wheelchairs changing as well?
Passengers 75 and older who are unable to stand for screening will receive a comparable level of screening, including explosives trace detection.
7. How will the screening of medical devices change for passengers who are 75 and older?
Screening procedures for passengers 75 and older with medical devices will not change. These passengers will be provided an additional pass through Advanced Imaging Technology to resolve anomalies.