Does it matter if my driver's license is expired while flying to another country?
June 8, 2010 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Does it matter if my driver's license is expired while flying to another country?

I'm about to go on a trip internationally which will obviously require my passport, which is valid. But I know they often ask for a driver's license too - does it matter that mine just expired? I leave in 2 weeks and since I just moved to a new state, I doubt I'll be able to re-apply in time.

If I have a valid passport and picture ID from my workplace, for example, should that get me on my flight painlessly?
posted by deern the headlice to Travel & Transportation (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I've never been asked for my driver's license. What country are you flying out of, and what country are you flying into?
posted by Jairus at 8:23 AM on June 8, 2010


I've never heard of a requiring more than a valid passport - it's the gold standard for international I.D. Driver's licenses are easily faked in comparison. When you say "you know," have you ever had this experience, or has someone just told you about this?
posted by Dasein at 8:27 AM on June 8, 2010


All you need is your passport. I've never been asked for a second form of photo identification.

That said, make sure your passport has not expired.
posted by mikeh at 8:31 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does it matter if my driver's license is expired while flying to another country?

No. You don't even need to take your drivers license with you if you don't plan to drive. It's irrelevant abroad and only relevant for domestic US flights if you don't have a valid passport you can use for ID instead.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:31 AM on June 8, 2010


If you're not planning on driving a car while you're abroad then there is no reason you'd need an up to date driving licence.

Otherwise it would be a requirement to have passed a driving test before you were allowed to leave the country, and anyone below the legal age to drive would not be allowed to travel etc.
posted by Simon_ at 8:31 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


@Dasein: Sorry, shouldn't have said, "I know they often ask". I actually meant, "on domestic flights they always ask for a valid driver's license - will I need both that and passport for int'l travel?"

@Jairus: I'm flying from the US to South Africa.
posted by deern the headlice at 8:32 AM on June 8, 2010


"on domestic flights they always ask for a valid driver's license - will I need both that and passport for int'l travel?"

Ah. No. In fact, I would leave your license - and as much other plastic as you can - at home, so that if you get your wallet stolen while abroad, it's one less card to replace.
posted by Dasein at 8:34 AM on June 8, 2010


I've often flown domestically without a government issued photo ID. I didn't have one for a year+

An expired one should be more than fine.

I've flown with a number of combos including social security card, student ID with photo, credit cards, birth certificates...sometimes they screen me additionally (no big deal, a pat down/wanding), sometimes not.

So if you're worried, bring more ID.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:35 AM on June 8, 2010


And enjoy the World Cup.
posted by Dasein at 8:35 AM on June 8, 2010


I've never heard of anyone carrying a passport being asked for a drivers' license.
posted by Perplexity at 8:36 AM on June 8, 2010


(but yes, a passport should be more than enough anyway and more ID is not necessary)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:36 AM on June 8, 2010


I travel a lot and have never ever been asked to produce a driver's license at the airport. A passport trumps all else in this case.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:36 AM on June 8, 2010


Well, this is a load off my mind ;) Passport is very valid, so I can not stress about the driver's license. Thanks everyone!
posted by deern the headlice at 8:42 AM on June 8, 2010


For what it's worth, my mom has flown domestically post 9/11 with an expired Driver's License.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:51 AM on June 8, 2010


You'll be fine traveling but depending on the state you live in, you may need to take an in-car driving test when you try to transfer your expired out-of-state license into your new state.
posted by foodgeek at 8:59 AM on June 8, 2010


You won't need it but bring it. I will tell you that I went to Canada a few years ago and handed over my passport, and was then asked for "other ID". I don't travel with my driver's license unless I'm driving for the reasons noted above, and spent 15 minutes trying to ask, as politely as possible, as to why my PASSPORT wasn't sufficient identification.

For some reason I had my work ID with me, and I worked for Big Multinational Software Conglomerate, and for some reason that convinced the Canadian border authorities to let me in.
posted by micawber at 9:15 AM on June 8, 2010


I travel extensively both domestically and internationally and don't even own a drivers' license. I always just use my passport for identification and have never been asked for anything else.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:28 AM on June 8, 2010


Not exactly on point but I was refused entry to a Federal building with an expired WA state ID even though I had other photo ID and the pictures matched on all the documents. I had the feeling the rent-a-security clown was wanting me to freak out. I decided a copy of the IRS form I came to get was not worth the risk. I ASKED if I could leave and backed away. I was under the silly impression that the ID was to prove I was the person in the photo and not to prove how often I noticed the date on the front. Not driving, once again, was the issue, drivers make sure their cards are current. When I first obtained my passport, again not a driver, I had to use my VISA card! Cute letter from the State Department in a followup assuring me the photcopy of it was not retained. Sure.
posted by Freedomboy at 10:57 AM on June 8, 2010


FWIW, I was asked if I had a driver's license when coming Back through US Customs a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it was the note in my passport that it's a replacement for a lost one? But the way US Customs worded it was, "do you also have a driver's license?" - so it wasn't Mandatory, just helpful.

But, yes, usually when flying internationally, a passport is the only required ID.
posted by ldthomps at 11:53 AM on June 8, 2010


I would still bring the driver's license.

First of all, it lets you rent a car and drive it. The Garden Route is gorgeous -- I made a week long trip out of many years ago.

Second of all, unless local law requires foreigners to have their passport on them at all times, I leave it in the hotel's strong box and only carry my driver's license as ID when I'm out and about in another country. Losing your passport is a huge hassle, much worse than losing your driver's license.
posted by randomstriker at 12:47 PM on June 8, 2010


randomstriker: "I would still bring the driver's license. First of all, it lets you rent a car and drive it."

In my first-hand experience, this is completely wrong. I actually had a driver's license expire when I flew over the international date line (left with a valid US license, arrived the day after it expired oops) and did not realize that this was the case. I had a car reservation at my destination airport and the rental agencies – every single one – flat-out refused to rent me a car, even though my license was literally one day expired.

The US is the only place I've ever been where a passport is refused as valid ID for any purpose, incidentally: can't buy alcohol at my local supermarket with one.
posted by barnacles at 9:57 PM on June 8, 2010


So odd. My experience has been the exact opposite of barnacles. My passport is really my only official form of photo ID so on the rare occasion I actually need to identify myself or prove my age, it's what I use. I've never gotten any grief over it and I've used it to buy alcohol, get admitted to 21+ events and used it to claim parcels at the Post Office and UPS.

I'll admit, there have been instances where people have given me funny looks when I bust out my passport in those situations but no one has refused to accept it.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:51 AM on June 9, 2010


The US is the only place I've ever been where a passport is refused as valid ID for any purpose, incidentally: can't buy alcohol at my local supermarket with one.

Yeah, a waitress in a bar in Huntington Beach, CA told me that she wasn't supposed to accept foreign passports as proof of age because they didn't have height/weight/eye colour on them (?!). Baffling. Especially since British driving licenses don't have that either. Still, she let me buy a drink but with an admonition to 'get some valid ID'. One of the more perplexing interactions I've had in the US.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:09 AM on June 14, 2010


I just had to pop back in here to say that I just flew to the U.S. from France the other day, and because I was on a U.S. airline but a Canadian passport, they asked me for another piece of I.D. in addition to my passport. People with French or U.S. passports were not being asked for extra I.D. Go figure.
posted by Dasein at 7:37 PM on September 1, 2010


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