Driver Licenses, Passports, and Birth Certificates

    After losing my drivers license in my car dash because I went with a walk with friends and thought the space would be a good cubie to hide my license – it was, my car ate it, I had to head over to the DMV to get a new one.

    What does this have to do with travel?  Well after providing my passport, my birth certificate, and marriage certificate; the clerk told me that my current driver’s license and my passport did not match since my license had my middle initial and my passport has my full middle name. She would have changed my license for me but I only had a copy of my birth certificate and not the original.

    So finally here’s the moral of this pitiful story.  Does your driver’s license name match your passport name?  Will an airplane ticket match both? Will you run into any trouble if they don’t?

    According to Quad City International Airport, it should not be a problem for me:

    Does the name on all of my Identity Documents have to match? What if my driver’s license has only my middle initial, but my passport has my full name? Should I change my driver’s license to match my passport?

    Secure Flight does not require that the names on all of your IDs be identical. Passengers should ensure, however, that the name used when making a reservation matches the ID that will be used when the passenger checks in. To illustrate this point using a hypothetical example, if a passenger’s current driver’s license reads “John C. Doe,” the passenger is not required to apply for a new driver’s license listing the complete middle name. However, if the passenger plans to use his driver’s license for identification purposes when traveling, he should ensure that he makes his flight reservation using the exact name on the driver’s license, “John C. Doe.”

    And the TSA Blog states:

    So…if you plan to present a driver’s license , purchase tickets using your name as it appears on your driver’s license. If you plan to present a passport, purchase tickets using the name that appears on your passport. (Here is a list of acceptable forms of identification.)

    Bottom line – You shouldn’t have a problem but better safe than sorry. Try to have all forms of ID in agreement. Next time I have to renew my driver’s license I will take along my original copy of my birth certificate so I can list my middle name.  Check out this link if you need to change your passport name.

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    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa is the mother of four including twins. She is the owner of SixSuitcaseTravel, a travel site for big families of 5, 6, 7, 8. She enjoys helping other big families build life-long travel memories. Her family's travel bucket list includes Washington, DC (done!), Yellowstone (done!), London, and anywhere in the Caribbean.