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All the Documents You Should Have Before You Fly

Whether you’re traveling to San Diego to take advantage of our many attractions or traveling somewhere else, flying after the COVID-19 pandemic has already proven to be more difficult and complex than ever before. Between all the different local regulations to the documentation you need to get on the plane, air travel has never been more complicated.

One of the ways that flying has become more nuanced is the number of documents you are asked to present and the number of options you must prove who you are. Maybe you lost your passport or need a replacement birth certificate. Or perhaps you just need information to get to the best hotels in Tijuana or want to know what’s required to fly to the UK. In any case, below is everything you need to know about the “real ID” and documents you can use to fly.

What is a Real ID?

You can no longer get through TSA and fly with a standard state-issued identification card. Now you need what they are calling a “real ID,” otherwise known as a federally issued ID card. You also may need a real ID card to enter government and military buildings in certain states. If you are planning on taking a domestic flight, you won’t be able to board with your state ID card the way you used to. While your average ID card or driver’s license won’t work, if you don’t have a real ID, you can use a passport.

Passport Card

A passport card looks kind of like an ID card but is a passport that allows you to travel to Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean countries via sea or land. You cannot, however, use a passport card to travel internationally in the air. This is another regulation that people may not know about when they have a passport card and haven’t used it to fly. Passport cards allow you to cross borders, and you can even fly within Mexico with it, but you can’t fly from the United States to either of our neighboring countries. You will have to cross the border on land or by sea.

Passport Book

The passport book is the best way to travel, no matter where you are going. It allows you entry into any country that welcomes American citizens. It is also one of the best forms of identification within the borders of the United States. You can use it as your primary or second form of identification. Passport books expire after ten years, but it is always worth it to keep yours renewed. You won’t have to worry about traveling to other countries by air. If you’ve met all the visa requirements and other documentation, a passport will grant you entry.

Birth Certificate

You’ll need a birth certificate to apply for a passport, but you won’t be able to leave the country with one. You can’t use it to fly domestically either. However, in some cases, you will be able to use a birth certificate for young children. If your child is under the age of two, you can use their birth certificate to get them on the plan. This is also the case for older children traveling alone. Kids may not have a passport yet and don’t always need it to fly domestically.

Vaccine Passport

Finally, there has been a lot of conversation and controversy surrounding vaccine passports. It depends on where you are going, but different countries have their own requirements when it comes to vaccine passports. This means that they may require you to download an app or register your vaccination status before you fly. You also might need a negative PCR test for the COVID-19 virus. Since every place has their own regulations, doing your research beforehand should provide the answers you need on what you must do before flying to a specific destination.The documentation needed to get through the airport to board your flight has changed a lot. It depends on where you are going. Regulations are in flux and every local government has their own rules. Whether you are flying within the United States and need a real ID or are going to another country and need a new birth certificate, passport book, and vaccine passport, it is completely possible to go where you need to go. Simply follow these guidelines and apply for the documentation necessary as soon as possible. Then, you will be able to enjoy your trip and stop worrying about all the logistics.