Flying with an expired license
December 11, 2019 8:28 AM   Subscribe

My birthday is December 28, and that's the day my drivers' license expires. I'm flying domestically on the 23rd and returning the 31st. I can get through the license renewal process before I leave, but I'm not at all sure I will have the new license. Is this a problem? Previous Asks on this are either different or very old.

The TSA page confuses me. It says that you can travel on an expired license for up to 12 months, but then it also seems to say you need two other pieces of ID, including photo. I have no other photo ID. In fact, I have no other ID of any kind except a passport that expired literally decades ago.

I assume I'll get something indicating I've renewed my license. Will that be enough?

Aside from trying to get my license renewed as quickly as possible, is there anything else I can or should do?
posted by FencingGal to Law & Government (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
what state are you in?
posted by Dr. Twist at 8:36 AM on December 11, 2019


First of all, you can fly with the paper stapled to your license.

Second of all, you don't need a license to fly, they can look you up at the airport. I'm not positive on the procedure but it is possible.

So, if you want, you could look up the procedure to fly without a license and go from there.
posted by bbqturtle at 8:39 AM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


You're fine, I just did this accidentally. I lost my current license while I was away from home, but luckily had my old less-than-a-year-expired license still in my wallet. I assumed it would be a giant mess and I'd have to jump through hoops to get on the plane, but instead they just took the old license, no problem.

(Belated note -- the airport that let me use the old license was RDU, in case there's regional variation.)
posted by LizardBreath at 8:42 AM on December 11, 2019


It is possible to fly without identification, but you have to go through more steps at the airport, all of which I am not sure of, but if you get there early enough it is possible. People lose their IDs all the time and are still able to fly home.

I assume I'll get something indicating I've renewed my license. Will that be enough?

You will get a paper copy. It SHOULD be enough - and I have flown with this before - but it may also depend on how power-trippy the gate people are. FWIW, I have flown with one of these but been denied the ability to purchase alcohol with the paper copy, so ymmv.

First of all, you can fly with the paper stapled to your license.

The DMV will take your old license. You will only have the paper copy.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:43 AM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


The DMV will take your old license. You will only have the paper copy.

This varies by state. I have old licenses with holes punched in them to invalidate them.

OP: Just go get your license renewed now. It's very likely that you'll have the new permanent license within ten days, which is still before you fly. But even if not, you'll have the valid temp license which is fine.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:45 AM on December 11, 2019 [10 favorites]


Right, in NY State they don't take back your old license or punch a hole in it or anything. At least they didn't take mine.
posted by LizardBreath at 8:48 AM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


I flew recently with an expired license with a hole punched in it. I had the paper temporary with me, but they didn’t ask to see it. (I got more guff a few weeks later using my new license because the photo is blurry.)
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:10 AM on December 11, 2019


Can you go get it renewed today? Then even if they have to mail you something it should come in time.

In PA, you get new license (with hole punched in old one) same day.

My husband wanted the RealID and that had to get mailed. We went to the DMV on Saturday and it’s in the mail today... so 4 business days later.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:16 AM on December 11, 2019


I flew with a recently expired licence, in April.
posted by theora55 at 10:03 AM on December 11, 2019


I've flown through Colorado and Texas airports (through TSA checkpoints and everything) in the last 6 months without a photo ID at times and with just an expired passport at other times. I'd bring credit/debit cards with your name on them - I did that, but TSA didn't take a close look at them or hassle me when I did that without the expired passport.
posted by hootenatty at 10:31 AM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


I renewed today. They gave me my old license with the renewal stapled to it. They told me it would take two to three weeks to get the new one.

I'm guessing this will be OK. Thanks everyone.
posted by FencingGal at 10:37 AM on December 11, 2019 [6 favorites]


For future reference, you can message the TSA on fb messenger and they get back you in a few hours. This is what they told me when my ID expired: Thanks for your question. No worries, we'll accept state-issued IDs that have been expired no longer than 12 months. Safe travels!
posted by Betty_effn_White at 10:43 AM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]


I was behind someone last week who had an expired license plus a paper renewal receipt. It resulted in ~30 seconds of additional questions and scrutiny and then they let him right through.
posted by amaire at 11:16 AM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm sure you'll be fine, but you could also take the expired passport for additional proof.
posted by something something at 11:56 AM on December 11, 2019


For reference, I’ve flown without ID before. I got pulled out of line, and they basically verified my identity with a background check. ‘Which of these streets have you lived on? What is the make of car registered to your name?’ That sort of thing.

They also would have accepted prescription pill bottle in my name, but I didn’t have one.
posted by politikitty at 3:39 PM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Utah used to give you a sticker to put on your license when you renewed. Maybe some states still do this. Then you kept your old license.
posted by Oyéah at 9:11 PM on December 11, 2019


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