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Do Children Need ID To Fly? – Things To Know While Flying With Minors 

travel with minors

Posted on Jul 21st, 2022 by Renu Dahiya, Last updated Jul 21st, 2022, Leave a Comment

Planning a trip with your family and kids can be a bit confusing and exhausting. You’ll be bombarded with queries like what do I need to fly with my child? Does my child need ID to fly? Can my child fly alone? All of this can be very stressful. But don’t worry – we’ve you covered. Shared below are some important pieces of information and details that will help you successfully navigate the obstacles you may face at the airport so that you and your kid can have a hassle-free and smooth trip. 

When is ID NOT required For A Child To Travel?

  • Minors flying domestically with an adult: On Domestic flights, minors below the age of 18 don’t need to show any ID proof to the airline when they are traveling with an adult. The airline will accept valid identification from the adult companion on behalf of the minor.
  • Unaccompanied Minors flying domestically with an adult: In the case of unaccompanied minors, most of airlines don’t ask minors to show proof of identification, but adults accompanying them on their flight have to present valid ID proof. 

Please be noted that each airline has individual rules regarding ID requirements and some might ask an ID proof for children to travel. So, it is advisable to carry one ID proof of child to be on the safer side. 

When is ID required For A Child To Travel?

  • Minors flying International: While traveling internationally, airlines always ask for a valid identification document for minors under the age of 18 even if they are traveling with both parents. 
  • Minors flying internationally with one parent/teacher/grandparents: For minors, under the age of 18, flying internationally with one parent, teacher, grandparents, or alone, airlines set a bit strict documentation requirements policy. They must present one or two ID proofs and a consent form.

Child ID Requirements For Air Travel 

The major problem any parent would face at the airport with kids is while getting through security. So, it is always better to plan ahead and come well prepared to avoid security and customs issues. Let’s know what documents/IDs every parent must have when traveling internationally with minors/kids.

Domestic Travel

  • As per the TSA ID requirements for minors, it is not mandatory to carry any identification documents when children, between the ages of 2 and 18, travel domestically with an adult companion. Only accompanying adult needs to provide valid identification proof. They need to travel with a government-issued ID document, like a passport, driver’s license, social security card, etc. 
  • Infants, under the age of 2, are allowed to fly without their own flight tickets as they are flying on their parent’s lap. After the age of 2, airlines do not allow them to fly as a lap child which means they need to purchase their own air ticket. According to TSA, it is not required to have ID proof of infant while flying with parents. But, at the time of check-in at the airport, airline staff may ask to show the proof of age of the infant, and the simple way to prove this is by showing a birth certificate. 
  • If you are planning to fly with a newborn (below 14 days old), then it is advisable to check with the airline if any additional documents are required – some airlines may ask for a formal doctor’s letter declaring it is safe for a baby to fly.

International Travel

  • As per the TSA ID requirements to fly, every child, regardless of age, needs to present a valid passport, issued by the government authority, when traveling on international flights. So, be ready with the passport, valid for at least 6 months.
  • Make sure that the passport photo is as per the requirements set by the US State Department. It should be of perfect size with perfect background and posture. Check out the places you can get passport photos near you here.  
  • Minors may also need a valid visa if they are flying to some specific country. For instance, your kid needs an Indian visa if you are planning to fly to India. 

Suggested Read: Requirements for Passport Photo in USA

Can A Minor Travel Alone? 

Most of the major U.S. airlines permit children above the age of 5 to travel without any adult or companion. Children, between the ages of 5 and 14, don’t have to show any identification document. But older teens (15 to 17 years old children) need to present valid ID proof to fly internationally. 

Some of the major airlines apply unaccompanied-minor procedures to children over the age of 12 (or 15 by some airlines) on international flights. In domestic flights, this may apply only if you specifically request this in advance, otherwise, the airline will expect your kid to be responsible for making the alternative plans if the flight got delayed or canceled.

Let’s take a look at the unaccompanied minor travel qualifications as per age that almost every U.S. airlines follow:

AgeCan Travel Alone or Not? Unaccompanied Minor Procedures
Below 5Cannot fly aloneNot Applicable
5 to 7 years old Can fly alone on non-stop and direct flightsRequired
8 to 11 years old (or 8 to 14 on some airlines)Can fly aloneRequired
12 to 17 years old (or 15 to 17 on some airlines) – Domestic Flights Can fly aloneOnly after request
12 to 17 years old (or 15 to 17 on some airlines) – International FlightsCan fly alone Required 

What Does A Minor Need To Fly Alone? 

Each airline has its own unique policy when it comes to ID requirements for a child who flies alone. Let’s look at some of the basic standards that can be asked by almost every airline. 

Consent Letter 

Children need a consent letter to fly alone that must be signed by both parents. In the case of one deceased parent, children are required to attach a copy of the death certificate of the late parent with the letter signed by the living parent or guardian. 

Minor Travel Consent Form

Almost all the airlines ask for this form to be completed by the parent and should have the complete details about the adults dropping off and picking up the minor at the airport. It is also known as an unaccompanied minor form. 

Documents For Older Teens

Children, between the ages of 14 and 18, can carry one of the following documents while traveling: 

  • Passport
  • School ID
  • Library Card
  • Organization ID
  • Learners Permit

In case you do not have these identification documents or you lost your ID before traveling, you can use a birth certificate or social security card as ID proof. 

What Is A TSA Minor Travel Consent Form? 

A Child travel consent form ensures that the minor is allowed to fly internationally without his/her parents. There is an absolute requirement to provide this form while flying on international flights. As per the TSA minor travel consent form requirements, a passenger is required to include the following information and documents in a form:

  • Name of the child, birthdate, birthplace, and passport details
  • Medical details (such as allergies, and any special needs)
  • Parents’ or legal guardians’ information
  • Travel details
  • Signature

Documents Needed If A Child Is Travelling With One Parent

If a child or minor is flying with only one parent, then the requirements for child ID may vary as per the airline you are flying with and the country you intend to travel to. The basic documentation almost every airline may ask to provide are:

  • A notarized parental consent form is signed by both parents.
  • A copy of passport or any valid ID proof of non-accompanying parent.
  • In the case of a deceased parent, a consent form signed by a living parent or guardian along with a death certificate of a late parent is required.
  • In the case of separated parents, a copy of the custody agreement signed by both parents is required.  

Requirements For Minor Traveling With Grandparents/Teachers

Children will need to carry some sort of ID or documentation while flying with teachers or grandparents. They will need a minor travel consent form and sometimes a consent letter signed by both parents. They also require one valid ID proof like a birth certificate, passport, learner’s permit, school ID, etc. Adults traveling with minors are also required to carry valid identification documents. Always remember to check with your airline to verify if anything extra’s required. 

Preparations Needed To Enjoy Stress-Free Journey With Kids

In many cases, you don’t need anything at all to travel with a minor. But, on the other side, sometimes, if you don’t have valid ID proof, your trip could very well be ruined or disturbed or can lead to leaving you and your family headed back home from the airport. Every airline has its own ID requirements for minors. So, before going to the airport for your flight contact your airline and ask about their policies and ID requirements for kids. Knowing when your kid will or won’t be required to show the identification documents in advance can definitely reduce your stress and help you be prepared for every scenario. It’s better to be safe than sorry! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How are minors screened for security?

A: There is no need to remove the jacket and shoes if the minor is of 12 years or below. But, the carry-on luggage will go through the X-Ray machine. 

Q: Will children need to have a government-authorized ID to fly domestically?

A: As per the TSA ID requirements, children under the age of 18 are not required to provide identification documents when flying domestically with an adult companion. But, the companion needs to provide valid ID proof. 

Q: How to get a passport for a child?

A: Every minor, regardless of age, need a valid passport to fly internationally. So, apply for a passport for your child several months before you need it. If you are planning to travel within the U.S.A, and to Canada, Mexico, and to some Caribbean countries, then you can also apply for a less-expensive passport card. 

Q: How old do you have to be to fly alone?

A: Most airlines allow minors, above the age of 5 to travel without any adult companion. 

Q: What kind of identification documents does a minor need to fly without parents?

A: A child will need a minor travel consent form and sometimes a consent letter signed by both parents if he/she is flying alone. 

Q: What does a 15-year-old need to fly? 

A: If children, between the age of 15 and 17 are flying with United airlines, they need a valid identification document such as a passport, driver’s license, learner’s permit, school ID, credit card, etc. 

Now, that you know almost everything about ‘what do kids need to fly?’, greet the sweet little explorer within you and start exploring this amazing planet. If you have any further questions regarding the same, do let us in the comment section below and our team at MyTicketsToIndia will surely provide you with all the information. 

We are one of the leading travel agencies in the U.S.A that offers incredible deals on the USA to India flight tickets and back at the lowest airfares. So, get in touch with our travel experts if you are looking to book USA-India air tickets. We will be super happy to help you save BIG. Yay! :))

About Renu Dahiya | View Posts

Renu Dahiya is a passionate writer who worships her profession. Her love for writing has encouraged her to pursue her career as a writer. Her friends call her a “travel worm” and always come to her to know some interesting traveling tips and destinations. Renu is a repository of knowledge about traveling who knows which place should be visited in which season. Oh yes, she is insanely in love with dancing too. Writer, traveler and dancer, a perfect combination! Without a doubt, she is a complete package.

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