ID Requirements: Airline
Each customer traveling across any international boundary is solely responsible for obtaining all necessary travel documents, including any required visas, and for complying with the laws of each country flown from (the departure country), through (any transit country) and into (the destination country).
Certain countries, including the United States, have travel document requirements for departure. Please note these requirements may be different from travel document requirements for entry into the destination country and for transit through a country.
U.S. law requires all customers, regardless of citizenship, age or destination, to hold a secure document to depart the United States by air (one-way or roundtrip itinerary). A secure document is a passport, U.S. permanent resident card, or Stateless travel document, Re-Entry Permit, NEXUS card, U.S Merchant Mariner Card, military ID or emergency travel document issued by an embassy or consulate. U.S. passport cards are not valid for air travel outside the United States. For more details, review the Document Requirements for Air Travel information published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
Customers are reminded that the passport, visa and health requirements page does not include any travel document requirements for departure, which may be different.
All non-U.S. citizens planning to travel to the U.S. should visit travel.state.gov for additional information.
All destination countries, including the United States, have travel document requirements for entry. In addition to any travel document requirements for departure, customers must satisfy travel document requirements for entry into the destination country and, depending on the itinerary, for transit through a country. Note that some countries require passports to be valid for at least six months.
Passport, visa and health requirements for entry into destination countries and for transit through a country are provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on united.com as a courtesy and must be verified before travel. VisaCentral can provide assistance with obtaining the necessary travel documents. United customers receive preferred rates and earn MileagePlus award miles on these services.
For entry into the United States, additional information may be found on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
Customers seeking entry into the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can review additional information on the U.S. Department of State website.
In addition, all VWP travelers are required to obtain an authorization via ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling to the U.S. Travelers who do not obtain ESTA authorization prior to travel may be denied aircraft boarding. Travelers applying for ESTA will be subject to an ESTA application fee. Apply and learn more on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.
The Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) collects, stores and analyzes biometric data for the DHS. OBIM procedures currently apply to all international visitors entering the United States, including VWP participants. Find additional information on the DHS website. (Note: Prior to March 2013, the CBP collected biometric data through the United States Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program.)
Important note on flights via the U.S.
U.S. regulations always require travelers to comply with customs and immigration procedures at their first point of entry into the U.S. Travelers will need to have all required documents with them upon arrival — even if the U.S. is not their final destination. If travelers have more than one U.S. stopover, they will not need to clear customs again.
Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)
U.S. law requires airlines operating international flights to or from the United States to provide travel document data for all customers via APIS. The United States also requires reporting the visiting address of all customers who are non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. residents traveling to the United States.
Condition of passports
Passports must be in good condition. United may not accept passengers for international travel and may deny boarding if a passport is damaged beyond normal wear and tear and/or there is evidence of intentional or material alterations or mutilations. Examples of conditions of passports that may result in denied boarding include passports with significant tears, holes or stains, as well as any changes, obliterations or alterations, or any other damage that affects the integrity of the passport and/or the identification of the holder, such as the name, date of birth, citizenship and document number. For example, a passport with faded data, missing or severely torn, cut or chewed pages or cover, missing picture, picture which can be removed from under the laminate or one which requires tape or staples to hold it together, or which has been substantially damaged by liquids, chemicals or fire, may result in denied boarding. To ensure your travel plans are not interrupted, please make sure your passport is in good condition before you leave. For more information about U.S. passports, please visit the U.S. Department of State website.
For travel within the United States
Adult passengers (18 and older) will be required to show a valid U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID that contains the following: name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature. These IDs include:
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS "Trusted Traveler" cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. Military ID
- Permanent Resident Card
- Border Crossing Card
- DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
- Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by a Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) that meets REAL ID benchmarks (All states are currently in compliance.)
- Native American Tribal Photo ID
- Airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)
- Registered Traveler Card (that contains name, date of birth, gender, expiration date, and a tamper-resistant feature)
- Foreign government-issued passport
- Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card
- Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
Passengers who do not present an acceptable ID may be subject to additional screening. For more detailed information on the types of identification that will be accepted at airport checkpoints in the U.S., visit the TSA website