Documents need for traveling with kids

What identification is needed for a child to fly?


Does the thought of running out the door to catch a flight stress you out? Trying to making sure you remembered your toothbrush, cell phone charger, and all your kids just to catch your flight. Then your heart sinks into your gut… “MY ID!!!”

The fear of forgetting your ID can be stressful and start your trip off on the wrong foot. Before hopping on the airplane, read what identification is required to fly, and what identification is needed for a child to fly.

What identification is needed to fly domestic:

Did you know that TSA accepts 15 different types of identification for flying? TSA requires every adult, 18 years and older, boarding a federally regulated aircraft, even for a domestic flight to have valid identification.

Here are the most common types of IDs you can use in order to check-in and get on your flight.

  1. Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  2. U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
  3. Trusted Traveler Card: Includes (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  4. Permanent Resident Card
  5. Foreign Government-Issued Passport

If you don’t have one of these types of identification. You can check the TSA travel requirements here for other options. But there is a great chance that you have one of these.

Are you traveling with your children or you are wondering about what identification is required to fly with kids or minors, jump down below.

What identification is needed for a child to fly:

Flying with a baby what is needed before you go

Great news! TSA does NOT require children under 18 to provide identification at security if they are flying with a companion within the United States.

TSA does recommend to check with your airline for specific requirements for anyone under 18 that is traveling. We’ve traveled on Delta, Southwest, Jetblue, United, and Alaska and we’ve never had to show ID for our kids when we’ve traveling domestically.

If you are traveling internationally you will want to know what Identification is needed for a child to fly internationally as well. Below we talk about flying internationally with kids.

What Identification is needed to fly in 2020? What is this “Real ID” that I keep hearing about?

And to complicate things even more for us travelers, the US government will enhance the documentation or identification requirement for flying starting next year. This will take effect on October 1st, 2020.

So what s the Real ID? The Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005 and takes effect on October 1, 2020.

The Real ID is an enhancement to your state driver’s license. Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses are marked with a star at the top of your identification card.

Notice the Star in the driver’s licenses in the picture above. If you can’t see it or you are still not sure if you have it, contact your state’s DMV or driver’s license agency on how to get it.

Your state may automatically mail you a new driver’s license with the Real ID star added to it.

Do I need to have a Real ID to fly:

There are 14 other forms of valid identification that are acceptable for you to be able to fly. As long as you have one of the other forms of ID, such as a passport or trusted traveler card, you can still check-in and TSA will allow you through.

Valid TSA Identification when flying

What do I need a passport for:

The basic answer is you and your kids need a passport any time you are going to leave the United States (or your home country). This includes visiting neighboring countries such as Canada and Mexico.

So why leave your home country when there is so much to see within the borders of your own country? I’m here to tell you that you are missing out on so much if you never leave your home country!

Now I might be a little biased toward having a passport but here are some rational reasons as to why I think it is totally worth the investment of getting a passport.

  1. First – Travel to me is more than just seeing the sights, it’s a change that happens inside of us. There is something to be said when we step out of our comfort zone and explore parts of the world we’ve never seen.
  2. Passports are valid for 10 years! What? Yes, they are valid for 10 years. If there is even a slight thought that in the next 10 years you will travel out of your country, then why not invest in a passport now. For kids under the age of 18, a passport is valid for 5 years.
  3. Flights to other countries are becoming cheaper every day. With the increase in discount airlines, flagship carriers have had to cut prices to keep up. I once booked a round trip ticket from Salt Lake City to Amsterdam for $315 round trip. Here is how you can find cheap flights to anywhere and book it.
  4. Traveling you exposed to new places, people and cultures, and you develop a better view of the world. These experiences challenge you in ways you can’t get at home. Besides growing as an individual through travel. It is both fun and exhilarating to experience and try new things and see places.

How much does a passport cost?

Adult Passport Cost

For adults (16 years old and older) applying for a passport for the first time, your cost will be $110 for the application and $35 in processing fees.

Don’t forget you will also need to pay for a couple of passport photos. This will cost around $10.

Once you mail in your application and pay for your passport photos, the total cost will be around $160. But don’t forget it’s good for 10 years!

When adults renew their passport, you just pay for the new passport book. So you will pay $110 for renewal.

Kids passport cost

How much does a kids’ passport cost? For kids 16 years old or younger, the passport book costs $85 and the processing fee is still $35.

Your kids will also need 2 passport photos for around $10.

So the total for kids passport cost is around $130 in total. Kids’ passports are good for 5 years.

For more information or to apply for a passport, you can visit the US State Travel website here.

What identification is needed for a baby to fly:

If you are flying with a baby that is less than 2 years old, on a domestic flight. The airline might require a birth certificate to verify the baby’s birth date.

Traveling overseas or on international flights the requirements are different even for a baby.

You are required to have a passport to exit the United States, and depending on the country you are visiting, you might require a visa. One thing to keep in mind, when traveling with your kids internationally, is that they too are required to have a passport.

It doesn’t matter what age they are they will need a passport. Even being a few days or weeks old, they will need a passport. Additionally, if you are a single parent or if you are traveling without your spouse you may need additional documentation for your kids.

What identification is needed for a child to fly internationally:

The last thing you want is to stand in an immigration line in a foreign country for longer than you have to, especially with kids. We’ve got you covered. Here is what they/you need when flying internationally.

  1. Passport
  2. Child Consent Form {Check out our detailed post here, especially if you are traveling solo with your kid(s)}
  3. Proof of your relationship- This could be one of the following (Birth Certificate, Court Order or Adoption Certificate)
All you need is love and a passport. Family travel quotes

Child consent form

A Child Consent Form might sound complicated if this is the first time hearing about it, but please read our detailed post on what it is, how to make or get one, and what to do with it.

You do need a child consent form any time you are traveling alone with your child. Make sure to check out the post above for more information.

Planning ahead can save you time and frustration at the airport and especially on arrival. You will want to get to the beach or hotel as fast as you can once you land, and having the proper documentation before you leave can help to make your trip smooth.

Is traveling with kids and babies worth it?

Looking at the cost of a kid’s passport and thinking about all the hassle kids create, you may be thinking is it even worth it? It’s totally worth it!

Traveling with kids can be challenging at times, and if you have ever traveled with a baby it can even seam more compounded. We have definitely had some undue stress when flying with kids and babies.

We also hear horror stories about other passengers getting upset if the baby is crying or the kids are noisy. Even though this does happen from time to time, the majority of passengers are willing to help and a little noise doesn’t bother them.

If you are worried about flying with a baby, click here to find out what to do when flying with a baby, and even booking a bassinet on an airplane.

Once you are off the plane, people love babies and kids. They are more accommodating to you when you have kids. They love to talk to you and talk to your kids.

Especially in foreign countries. Foreigners love to talk and even take pictures of our kids. It does allow for us to be able to talk with locals and find great things to do and see. We’ve had many wonderful experiences in Thailand when we have traveled with our kids.


Wrap up

The more prepared you travel, the easier your travel will be! Make sure to have all the proper identification for you and your kids. This will make your trip so much easier!

Don’t be afraid to get your kids a passport, it gives you a reason to see more of the world together! Travel as a family and grow closer as you experience the world together.