Can You Fly with A Temporary Paper License? Here’s What You Need to Know

By Alice Ross | PASSPORT & VISA

Sep 22
can you fly with a temporary paper license

Imagine arriving at the airport, only to realize that you don’t have your driver’s license with you, which is the only ID you are planning to use for your trip. You probably left it at home, or worse, dropped it somewhere on the way. You don’t have time to look for it as you’ll probably just miss your flight. But as you rummage through your carry-on bag and wallet, you see that you have a temporary paper license… Now, the question is, can you fly with a temporary paper license?


Is Your Temporary Paper License a Valid ID?

Well, generally speaking, the TSA requires a federal-issued or state-issued photo identification document to let you pass through the airport checkpoint. However, even though the agency implements strict security measures, they give consideration to passengers.

According to the TSA’s website, the Administration knows that mishaps happen and there are times when passengers can’t show the necessary documents to fly. So, this means that if you ever get to the airport without your ID – because you left it at home or you lost it – you might still be allowed to fly, as long as you can provide additional information. TSA has multiple ways to confirm your identity, for instance by checking in existing databases.

paper license

There are also cases in which a TSA agent may ask the passenger to fill out a form, like a temporary paper license, and to go through further security screening.

This is what the TSA says on its official website in regards to using a driver’s license as a form of identification:

Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by a Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)

So, based on this statement, YES, you can use a temporary paper license, as long as the document has been officially issued by the rightful agency and contains your photo. But then again, it is still subject to additional confirmation of your identity by the TSA agent.

Read more: Can I Fly with an Expired License? Read This Before you Fly!

ID Alternatives

ID Alternatives

If you don’t know already, TSA has a list of alternative forms of identification that you can use on your flight. And while many of them are pretty obvious, like passports, military IDs, etc., here is the full list of IDs accepted by TSA that you can use as an alternative to your driver’s license:  

  • Border crossing card
  • Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
  • Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Permanent resident card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • US Merchant Mariner Credential
  • US passport
  • US passport card

That said, you should always keep in mind that you there is nothing you can do to stop a TSA agent from denying you access to security even if you have a valid ID, if they see that you are a threat to others or that you don’t comply with their rules. So here are some things you must also keep in mind.

Read more: How Long Is A Passport Good For? Find Out The Answer Here!

Banned Security Items

Lithium Batteries

TSA has a long list of items banned or limited from being carried on airlines, which includes things that you may think are not going to cause any harm to others. Make sure to check what items you cannot bring in your luggage, and what should go in your checked-in or carry-on bags, to avoid troubles.

Lithium Batteries

There are special guidelines for bringing lithium batteries on your flight. Spare, uninstalled lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries should be carried in your carry-on baggage only.

Liquids in Carry-On

You can easily bring most solid food items in both carry-on and checked-in baggage. However, liquid or gel food items more than 3.4 ounces aren’t allowed in carry-on bags, so make sure to put your liquids in your checked-in luggage.



Before passing through security, you will be asked to remove your laptop. And in some cases, you will also have to take all your electronics out of your bag to allow TSA agents to scan them individually. 

Shoe Removal

While not all countries implement this, most airports in the United States now require passengers going through security to remove their shoes.

TSA Pre-Check

The standard screening process requires passengers to remove all items and put them on the X-ray conveyor for proper screening. But with TSA Pre-Check, you’re not going to be required to remove your laptops, shoes, liquids, light jackets, and belts. Of course, with any TSA screening, rules always vary. To be evaluated for TSA Pre-Check, you must apply online and pay the designated fee.

Hopefully, this article answered your question, Can you fly with a temporary paper license? As you can tell, TSA is very considerate, so even if you only have a temporary paper license, you can still expect a smooth security experience at the airport.

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

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