Imagine getting to the airport only to find that your driver’s license is not in your wallet. Maybe you left it at home or dropped it along the way, but looking for the misplaced license will cause you to miss your flight. Not to worry. While it might take a little longer, the Transportation Security Administration does provide a handful of options to get you through security without government issued ID.
In general, the TSA requires a federal- or state-issued photo ID to get through the checkpoint, but at the same time the agency realizes that — given the sheer number of people flying every day — there need to be work-arounds.
According to the TSA’s website, a federal- or state-issued photo identification is required to fly. However, the Administration understands this isn’t always possible.
“In the event you arrive at the airport without proper ID, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly,” the TSA says on its website. “By providing additional information, TSA has other ways to confirm your identity, like using publicly available databases, so you can reach your flight.”
In some cases the TSA agent will ask a passenger to fill out a form, present another form of identification, and go through additional security screening.
The TSA’s website includes a list of alternative forms of identification, many that are to be expected — military IDs and permanent residence cards — but others are a bit more out-of-the-box, though they will all likely involve you having to spend extra time at the security checkpoint providing additional information.
It’s important to note that the alternative forms of ID mentioned here only apply to domestic travel. International trips still require a passport or passport-like document.
1.) Credit Cards — If you’ve got a credit card with your photo on it, that’s a solid alternative for getting through security. Even if you don’t have a photo on the card, the Points Guy explains that TSA may still use the cards as a way to verify your identity, either by asking you additional questions or by calling the credit card company.
2.) Costco Card — Back in 2013, we reported that TSA agents suggested to a California news station that a Costco card would be a viable substitute for a forgotten government-issued ID.
Since a Costco card includes a photo, it helps to demonstrate you are who you claim to be. However, the agents caution that using this form of identification would still likely lead to additional screening: answering questions or submitting baggage to a secondary check.
3.) School ID or Library Card — While travelers under the age of 18 aren’t required to provide valid identification at TSA checkpoints, a school ID can be a suitable alternative for adult passengers.
These cards generally come with a students’ photo, and in some cases their date of birth or address. Additionally, a library card can serve the same purpose. Again, expect to be asked some additional questions before being allowed to pass through the checkpoint.
4.) Checkbooks — While most people don’t tote around their checkbooks like they used to, the rectangular piece of paper can serve as another way to confirm a passenger’s identity.
A New York Times columnist recalled the time she used the bank notes to get though security on a previous trip. The agent examined the checkbook, which included her and her husband’s name and address.
“Then, he called someone else on his phone, and asked me some questions — things like my previous addresses and my date of birth,” the writer notes, saying the process was similar to opening a bank account or obtaining a credit report.
5.) Photos of your IDs — Sure, having the hard copy in your hand is the best option, but taking the time to photograph your IDs and storing them on your phone can be a handy alternative in the case your wallet is stolen or lost during your trip.
The Points Guy notes that using such a process could also help you prove your identity at hotels or other places in which you have a reservation.
While these five ID substitutes may come in handy they aren’t foolproof, passage through security — and the additional screening — can vary from airport to airport.
And, of course, there isn’t anything stopping a TSA agent from denying you access to your gate even if you have a valid ID.
In 2014, a reporter encountered a TSA agent that was unaware that the man’s Washington D.C. license was a valid form of ID. The passenger explained that the District of Columbia, while not a state, is a part of the U.S. and he was granted passage through security.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.