According to the TSA, there are over 15 forms of ID that are acceptable to fly with, but does this include a birth certificate?

A birth certificate cannot be used as your primary form of ID to fly, but it can be used together with other documents to confirm your identity if you don’t have a TSA-approved ID.

In other words, while a birth certificate will not directly allow you to fly, it may be useful to travel with if your ID was lost or stolen to help prove your identity.

Can You Use Your Birth Certificate to Fly?

Domestic Flights

Even if you’re only flying domestically within the USA, a birth certificate by itself is not a sufficient form of identification to fly with.

We list the acceptable forms of ID you can fly with below.

International Flights

Even though there are over 15 forms of identification that the TSA state can be used to fly with, this only applies to domestic flights.

If you’re flying internationally to Mexico, Canada, the UK, Europe or any other country in the world, a passport is required.

You may also require a visa to enter the country.

Acceptable Forms of Identification

The TSA state that the following forms of ID are acceptable to fly domestically with:

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Permanent resident card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Border crossing card
  • An acceptable photo ID issued by a federally recognized, Tribal Nation/Indian Tribe
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • 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
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

Bringing Your Child’s Birth Certificate Can Be a Good Idea

Children (someone who is under 18) do not need any form of identification to fly domestically within the USA as long as they are accompanied with an adult who has an acceptable form of ID.

However, bringing along your child’s birth certificate is usually a good idea because the airline you are flying with may ask you to show proof of your child’s age.

If flying internationally, children, infants, toddlers and even newborn babies need a passport to fly.

Related: What Do Kids Need to Fly?

You Can’t Use Your Social Security Card

Your social security card is not an acceptable form of ID to fly with.

Only one of the IDs list above can be used to fly domestically within the U.S.

How to Fly If Your ID Was Lost or Stolen

If your ID has been lost or stolen, not all is lost.

Even if you only have your birth certificate, it can still be helpful to bring with you to the airport, as it can be used by the TSA to help verify your identity so you can fly.

However, you will want to bring other travel documents and identification that can further help prove your identity too.

We recommend bringing as many of the following as possible:

  • A credit card, a business card with your photo on it
  • Mail or prescription medication with your name and address on the label
  • Utility bills
  • A library card
  • Work security badges
  • Voter registration
  • Birth certificate
  • Expired forms of other ID (if applicable)
  • Photos of your ID

How the TSA Will Verify Your Identity So You Can Fly

The TSA state that “A 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.”

In such cases, you will be subject to additional screening, including a patdown and thorough screening of carry-on property.

You should also arrive at least two hours before your flight due to the time the process will take.

You Might Be Able to Fly With an Expired License

You can fly with an expired license only under certain circumstances.

The TSA state that:

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.

But Not With a Picture of Your ID

You cannot fly with a picture of your ID by itself.

A photo, photocopy or a digital scan of your ID can be useful to help prove your identity, though.

Nor With a Paper ID

You cannot fly with a paper ID, though it can be useful to bring to the airport as it one more form of documentation that the TSA can use to help verify your identity.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).