Can an Illegal Immigrant Fly Within the U.S. 2022?

Traveling by plane within the United States can be a challenge for undocumented immigrants.

The rules and requirements for flying domestically are constantly changing, and there are risks involved in exposing one’s immigration status to the authorities.

Can an Illegal Immigrant Fly Within the U.S. 2022.
Can an Illegal Immigrant Fly Within the U.S. 2022?

 

In this article, I will explain the current situation and provide some tips on how to fly safely and legally within the U.S. as an illegal immigrant in 2022.

What Documents Do You Need to Fly Within the U.S.?

The main document that you need to fly within the U.S. is a valid form of identification that meets the standards of the REAL ID Act. This is a federal law that requires all states to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards that comply with certain security features and verification procedures.

The REAL ID Act was passed in 2005, but it will be fully enforced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) starting from May 3, 2023. 

If you have a driver’s license or an identification card from a state that is compliant with the REAL ID Act, you can use it to board a domestic flight.

However, if you have a driver’s license or an identification card from a state that is not compliant with the REAL ID Act, you will need to present another acceptable form of identification, such as a passport, a military ID, or a permanent resident card.

The problem for undocumented immigrants is that most states require proof of legal presence in the U.S. to issue a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card.

This means that if you are an illegal immigrant, you will not be able to obtain a state-issued ID that meets the REAL ID standards. Therefore, you will have to rely on other forms of identification to fly within the U.S.

Can You Use Your Foreign Passport to Fly Within the U.S.?

One option that undocumented immigrants have is to use their foreign passport as a form of identification to fly within the U.S.

This is possible because TSA accepts foreign passports as valid IDs for domestic flights.

However, there are some drawbacks and risks associated with this option.

First of all, your foreign passport must be valid and not expired.

If your passport has expired or is about to expire, you will need to renew it at your country’s consulate or embassy in the U.S., which may expose your immigration status and put you at risk of deportation.

Secondly, your foreign passport must match your boarding pass and your reservation information.

If there are any discrepancies or errors in your name, date of birth, or gender, you may be denied boarding or face additional scrutiny by TSA agents.

Thirdly, your foreign passport may attract unwanted attention from TSA agents or immigration officers who may question your immigration status and ask for additional documents or evidence of your legal presence in the U.S.

This may lead to further investigation, detention, or deportation.

Therefore, if you decide to use your foreign passport to fly within the U.S., you should be prepared to answer any questions and provide any documents that may be requested by the authorities.

You should also avoid traveling to states or airports that are known for having strict immigration enforcement policies or high rates of deportation.

Can You Use Your Arrest Warrant to Fly Within the U.S.?

Another option that undocumented immigrants have is to use their arrest warrant as a form of identification to fly within the U.S.

This may sound surprising, but it is actually true that TSA has allowed illegal immigrants to use their immigration enforcement documents, such as arrest warrants or notices to appear in court, as alternate forms of ID to fly within the U.S.

This option is based on a loophole in TSA’s policy that states that “in the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification…you may still be allowed to fly”.

The policy further states that “TSA may be able to verify your identity by using publicly available databases” and that “if your identity is confirmed…you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint.”

However, this option is very risky and not recommended for several reasons.

First of all, using your arrest warrant as an ID means that you are admitting that you are an illegal immigrant who has been ordered to appear in court or face deportation.

This may trigger an immediate arrest or removal by immigration officers who may be present at the airport or notified by TSA agents.

Secondly, using your arrest warrant as an ID does not guarantee that you will be allowed to fly.

TSA agents have the discretion to deny boarding or refer you to secondary screening if they suspect fraud or security issues.

Furthermore, TSA agents may not be able to verify your identity using public databases, especially if you have a common name or a fake name.

Thirdly, using your arrest warrant as an ID may expose you to criminal charges or penalties.

For example, if you have a criminal warrant for a felony or a misdemeanor, you may be arrested and prosecuted by local law enforcement.

If you have a fake or altered arrest warrant, you may be charged with identity theft or document fraud.

Therefore, if you decide to use your arrest warrant to fly within the U.S., you should be aware of the potential consequences and be ready to face them.

You should also consult with an immigration lawyer before traveling to know your rights and options.

READ ALSO: The Consequences of Marrying an Illegal Immigrant: What You Need to Know.

Conclusion

In conclusion, flying within the U.S. as an illegal immigrant in 2022 is not impossible, but it is very difficult and risky.

The best option is to obtain a valid form of identification that meets the REAL ID standards, such as a driver’s license or an identification card from a compliant state.

However, this option may not be available for most undocumented immigrants who do not have proof of legal presence in the U.S.

The other options are to use your foreign passport or your arrest warrant as a form of identification to fly within the U.S.

However, these options are not advisable because they may expose your immigration status and put you at risk of deportation or criminal charges.

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