types of ID to travel with

What Types of ID Should You Travel With?

Suppose you are walking down the street in a foreign country and a thief comes up behind you and slips your wallet out of your back pocket, or grabs your purse off your shoulder and takes off. In that moment you realize everything is gone. Your money, credit cards, and passport. Your first instinct is to panic, but then you remembered that you brought backup identification that is safely locked away back at the hotel. When you are traveling abroad, whether it’s for two weeks or two months, you always want to be prepared. Read on to find out what backup ID to have while traveling abroad.

To be better equipped for instances like this, it’s important that you carry more than one form of identification with you when traveling. Your passport is the best form of ID to have on you, but what types of ID should you travel with besides your passport? According to the Transportation Security Administration, additional, acceptable forms of ID when traveling are as follows:

  1. Driver’s license
  2. U.S. passport card
  3. DHS trusted traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  4. U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  5. Permanent resident card
  6. Border crossing card
  7. State-Issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  8. Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  9. HSPD-12 PIV card
  10. Foreign government-issued passport
  11. Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Card
  12. Transportation worker identification credential
  13. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card
  14. U.S. Merchant Mariner credential

For the most part, your passport is the most important piece of identification you can travel with. However, it is helpful to have originals of at least one other piece of identification available. It is generally recommended that you carry at least your original passport and driver’s license with you while you travel. Leave at least one piece of original identification (such as your birth certificate) at home, just in case you lose everything else on the road.

In addition to having more than one form of identification available when traveling, you may want to consider making photocopies of the front and back of your passport, driver’s license and credit cards. This could come in handy if you lose a credit card as the contact information of the credit card company tends to be on the back. If you have photocopies of your passport, credit cards, driver’s license, and other important travel documents, it will be easier to replace the originals should the need arise. With a copy of your passport, you can go to the nearest embassy and have that document reissued much more quickly. A copy of your passport will display the passport number that was issued when you applied for it, which can eliminate a lot of problems when it comes time to get a new one.

Once you’ve made copies of everything, you’ll want to store them in a safe place. Put one set of copies in the travel bag you are taking on the plane. If you’re traveling with a companion, exchange copies of each other’s info as well. If your hotel room has a safe, leave the copies in it. Leave another set at home with someone you trust.

Alternatively, you could also snap photos of your passport, credit cards, and other important documents with your smartphone. That way you’ll have the images saved to the device as well so you can access them as needed. Better yet, keep a full copy of your passport, credit cards, and other documents on a cloud enabled drive (iCloud DriveGoogle DriveMicrosoft OneDrive, or Dropbox) for easy access when visiting another country. That way, you just need an internet connection to access them. 

Now that you know what documents to have with you while traveling, you can travel with peace of mind knowing that you have everything you need. Again, be sure to carry copies of all important documents you may need. Need a copy of your birth certificateVitalChek can help get you the proper documentation you need, quickly and securely. 


  1. Thank you.

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