Traveling While Undocumented

Traveling on Domestic Flights:

All individuals flying on a domestic flight (within the United States) must present a valid and unexpired photo ID issued by a state or by the federal government.

  • State photo ID.
  • State driver’s license.
  • Military ID.
  • Foreign passport (must be unexpired):
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) Employment Authorization Card.
  • Trusted traveler cards such as the NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST cards issued by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”).
  • Border-crossing cards.
  • Native American tribal ID cards.
  • Airline or airport photo ID cards issued in compliance with TSA regulations and transportation worker ID credentials.

Be aware, the government is allowed to ask you for your smartphone, but you do not have to provide your password. Keep your information secure; protect your devices with a number or word security password (as opposed to a pattern or a fingerprint).

Traveling by Public Bus or Train:

U.S. Customs Border Patrol (“CBP”) has publicly said that its agents are prohibited from boarding buses/trains and questioning passengers without warrants or a company’s consent, it is prudent for any passenger to be aware of the following rights:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • When in doubt, do not answer questions about your citizenship or immigration status or sign any paperwork without the advice of a lawyer. Do not lie! Stay silent.
  • If you have valid immigration papers, you can provide them. Never provide false documents.
  • You can refuse a search of your belongings by saying “I do not consent to a search.”
  • You have the right to record a video of immigration agents.
  • If you are stopped or searched, you have the right to ask for the officer’s name / ID number.


In some states, certain non-citizens are eligible to apply for a driver’s license. Check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) to determine if you are eligible to apply for a driver’s license regardless of your immigration status. (Note: It is not permitted in Texas).

If you are stopped by either law enforcement or immigration enforcement while in your car, consider the following recommendations:

    1. Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible. Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way, and place your hands on the wheel.
    2. Upon request, show the police your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.
    3. If an officer or immigration agent asks to search your car, you can refuse. However, if the police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, they can search it without your consent.
    4. Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you’re a passenger, you can also ask if you’re free to leave. If yes, silently leave.

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    Houston, Texas 77034