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Do You Need a Passport Before Making Flight Reservations?

Do You Need a Passport Before Making Flight Reservations

Are you planning a trip somewhere special? 

There’s a lot to think about when you’re going on vacation. Once you’ve decided where you want to go, the next step is booking your flights. However, you might suddenly discover that your passport is about to expire or that you can’t find it. In that case, you will need to apply for a new one as soon as possible. 

But what about your booking?

Well, let’s find out, ‘do you need a passport before making flight reservations?’. 

Booking Your Flight

You usually need a physical passport when catching a flight. In most cases, you need your passport number to make a reservation. This number has to be entered in the online booking form along with other details.

However, it is possible to book a plane trip even if you don’t have this number. In some cases, it’s possible to enter a string of zeros instead of the actual number. You can then update your details as soon as you receive your new travel documents.

Every airline is different…

However, not all airlines allow you to do this. The best option is to call the customer service line of the airline you want to fly with. A member of the customer service team will be able to assist you with your inquiry and make a booking. 

Required Travel Documents 

Before taking an international flight, you need to apply for a travel visa and health insurance. These documents will be carefully inspected at the airport before you are given a boarding card. The visa and insurance must cover the duration of your vacation in the international destination. 

You also need to produce a valid passport when checking in at the airline counter. The passport has to be in good condition and valid for at least six months. If this travel document is damaged in any way, you may be rejected during the boarding process.

Required Travel Documents 

Damage that leads to rejection includes:

  • Liquid stains
  • Burns
  • Holes
  • Rips
  • Damaged personal information
  • Missing pages


Most counties and airlines allow babies and children to travel without a passport until the age of fifteen. Minors who are traveling without them must be accompanied by a guardian at all times. However, some airlines require minors to have their own separate travel documents. 

Where You Can Travel Without a Passport?

Having official travel documents close to hand makes it easier to book and catch flights. However, it is still possible to travel by plane to certain destinations without a passport. These vary depending on where you were born and your other travel documents. 

Domestic flights

US citizens do not need a passport to catch flights to different parts of the United States. When flying domestically, many people find it more convenient to use ID cards. These can also be used to book flights online and at airports. 

You can also produce your ID and driver’s license when you get to the airport. These will be used to confirm your personal details. Unless specified by the airline, other types of travel documents are not usually required.  

Domestic flights

International destinations

Citizens of the United States can also travel to a few other countries without a passport. This is good news if you are waiting for a new document to arrive. In most cases, you simply need to provide a driver’s license and a second form of ID when traveling. 

International destinations that can be visited include:

  • Mexico
  • Canada
  • Puerto Rico

UK Citizens 

Before Brexit, UK citizens could travel anywhere in Europe without official travel documents. However, the United Kingdom is now no longer part of Europe, and these travel privileges have been revoked. It’s now necessary to have a valid passport as well as an ETIAS to travel to Europe.

ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. This is an electronic system that tracks visitors who don’t need a visa to travel throughout Europe. After entering Europe, UK citizens are free to travel without having to apply for a visa. 

UK Citizens 

UK citizens can travel to all parts of the following countries without a passport:

  • England
  • Wales
  • Ireland
  • Scotland

European citizens 

People who were born in Europe simply need an ID card to visit the rest of the continent. It must feature their full name, date of birth, registered address, and a photograph taken within the last two years. 

The following countries are part of the Schengen area:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • The Czech Republic
  • Switzerland
  • Sweden
  • Luxembourg
  • Spain
  • Poland
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Greece
  • Portugal
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Malta
  • Germany
  • France
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Iceland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Liechtenstein

Where To Get A Passport?

It’s always a good idea to have a valid passport close to hand. You never know when your significant other might decide to surprise you with an international trip. You need to pay attention to the expiry date and make sure it is in good condition.

If your passport is about to expire, torn, or defaced in any way, you need to apply for a new one before you travel. If you fail to do this, you could be turned away at the airport.

Where To Get A Passport

Applying for a passport in another country

The best option is to apply in person at your nearest passport facility. There are numerous facilities in the United States to choose from. They are usually located inside libraries, courthouses, and post office branches. If you are visiting another country, you can apply for a new passport while you travel. In this case, you need to head to your nearest consulate. Bear in mind that the process often takes a little longer in other countries. 

How Long Does It Take?

The standard process usually takes between ten and twelve weeks. So, check the expiry data and make sure it’s in good condition. If you are short on time, you can also arrange to expedite the process. While it is the same, you will need to pay an extra fee for this service. This process usually takes between four and six weeks.

You will usually be contacted once the process is complete. In some cases, you can arrange to receive your new travel document by mail. In a life-or-death emergency, the process can take just eight working days from start to finish. 

Required Documents For Your Application

You need to complete a series of official documents to apply for a new passport or have it renewed. First, you need to complete an application form. This form must be signed by yourself as well as a guarantor. This person must be someone in an official position, such as a teacher or librarian who knows you personally.

You also need to provide two color photographs that exactly meet the set requirements. There are strict stipulations on the size and quality. They must show your head and shoulders, and you must be facing the camera head-on.

Required Documents For Your Application

Go to a professional!

It’s best to visit a professional photography studio. Alternatively, you can use a photo booth to take the photographs. These booths can usually be found in major shopping centers as well as at airports and libraries. 

You also need to produce your birth certificate along with some form of photo ID that proves your identity. This could be your national ID card or your driver’s license. Last but not least, you need to provide the fee for the new or replacement passport.

If it’s been lost or stolen…

If your current passport was lost or stolen, you will also need to complete an additional form. This is used to declare the situation and also needs to be signed by a guarantor. All your documents will be carefully inspected before the process begins. 

Need To Get Your Passport Photos Taken?

No problem! But you’ll need to find out Does CVS Take Passport PhotosDoes Walgreens Do Passport Photos, and Does Costco Take Passport Photos, as well as Does Walmart Take Passport Photos and Does Target Take Passport Photos in 2023?

A few more interesting facts you might want to know when posting government documents include Does USPS Notarize Documents, and Does UPS Notarize, along with Does USPS Forward IRS And Other Government Mail, and the USPS Flat Rate Envelope Restrictions to make sure your passport arrives safely.

If you have a criminal record, you’ll want to take a look at Can A Felon Get A Passport? and How Do You Cancel a USPS Passport Appointment, if need be.

Final Thoughts

If you are flying to another country, you need to produce a passport at the airport. However, you don’t always need a passport to book a flight. In many cases, you can enter a string of zeros in the space reserved for your passport number.

Once you have found your passport or got a new one, you can then enter the required number. However, the requirements vary between airlines, and not all of them allow you to do this. It’s a good idea to contact the airline’s customer service team to check on the situation before making a booking.

All the best, and enjoy your trip!

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About Linda Shepard

Linda is employed by one of the biggest employment agencies in San Francisco and has over 15 years of experience in finding her clients their dream job. She prides herself on being able to match the right person to the right position, which inevitably creates a great working relationship for the employee and the company moving forward.

When she isn't writing articles or working, she enjoys gardening, socializing, and going for long walks on the beach and in nature.

She lives with her boyfriend Carl and their cat, Fluffy.

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