Anonymous
Anonymous asked in TravelUnited StatesNew York City · 1 month ago

Do you have to be 18 to cross state lines alone?

For example, if a 16 or 17 year old lives in NYC, would it be illegal for them to enter New Jersey without an adult? Are there any ID checks at state lines?

Just curious because I turn 17 next month and I’ve never left NYC in my life. My parents are alright with me going to New Jersey, but I’m afraid I’ll be detained at the border for being underage.

Update:

Also, will I need a passport to enter New Jersey, or can I cross the border with just my school ID (I don’t have a driver’s license yet)? I plan on taking the train.

Update 2:

And yes, I know about COVID and the quarantine, but I don’t plan on going until both New York and New Jersey have reopened (which is expected to be next month). I plan on wearing a mask and I’m only meeting one friend there, so it won’t be too hard to social distance. I just want to know what the process is for crossing state lines as a minor.

8 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    No problem i think. In some states they can ask you your ID.

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  • MS
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    There are no border checks between states, and no restrictions about traveling between them.  You do not need a passport or any other ID to travel by land within the US, especially as a minor. There is nothing to keep you from traveling from one state to another, even alone.  My children drive to a different state regularly to visit family and to shop - we are close to the border of two other states.  We don't think twice about it.

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  • 1 month ago

    There are not ID checks at the border.

  • 1 month ago

    The US Constitution prohibits states from stopping the free movement of US citizens from one state to another.  So, no, they cannot legally ask for ID and cannot legally stop you, even as a minor, from crossing state lines.  If an officer as a suspicion of wrongdoing, then they can detain you.

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    • D.E.B.S.
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      That's just wrong.  Police can only legally ask for ID if they have reasonable suspicion the person was involved in a crime. State laws likely vary a little, but they cannot arrest you for refusing to provide ID.  Look it up.

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  • 1 month ago

    Until COVID-19 arose, there were NO checks at state borders for anything. The only thing was a sign saying that you were entering the state. As long as you pay for a ticket on public transport or are in a car, as either driver or passenger, NO ONE CARES that you are crossing a border.

    The only state border checks I have ever encountered were in the 1950s/early 60s when crossing into California. Those checks were only for preventing the import of fruits or vegetables that might bring plant diseases or insects into that heavily agricultural state. 

  • Joseph
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    No, you don't need a passport or any other form of ID to cross state lines.  Can you imagine the mess if they had to check the ID of everyone of the millions of commuters who cross from New Jersey into New York and back every day?

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  • 1 month ago

    Normally (when there is no global pandemic), there are no ID checks at state lines.  When driving from Manhattan to NJ, there are normally no stops required (other than traffic lights, etc.).  When driving from NJ to Manhattan without EZPass, there is normally one stop required, and that stop is just to pay the toll for the bridge or tunnel, not to check ID.  (I'm not sure which way there is a toll when crossing between NJ and Staten Island.)  When taking PATH, there is a stop at a turnstile to pay, similar to riding the NYC subway within the city.  PATH stations are extremely automated and don't always even have anyone working there, so checking ID would be impossible.  I don't think NJ Transit checks ID for regular fare passengers either; Amtrak might.  If you buy at a lower price that is only for students or is not for adults, then you might have to show some ID to prove you qualify for the lower price, but they might accept your school ID for that purpose, even if it didn't show your age.  There are definitely ID checks if going by airplane, but taking an airplane from NYC to NJ would be pretty silly considering that the main airport in NJ (Newark) is only a few miles from NYC and is actually closer to lower Manhattan than either of NYC's two commercial airports are, and the line for security screening at an airport can be longer than the time it takes a train to get from Manhattan to Newark.

    Right now (I'm writing this in May 2020), depending on what emergency restrictions are in place due to the virus, there may be a stop to make sure that those crossing are going to "essential" jobs or medical care or have some other sufficient reason not to be staying home.  At this time, it is impossible to know whether there will be a stop for this purpose a month from now.  Things are changing too rapidly.  If going by bus, Amtrak, NJ Transit, ferry and maybe PATH, there would almost certainly be a requirement to wear a mask or other face covering, and you might be stopped from bordering if your mouth or nose was exposed.  If you were driving a car, they probably wouldn't check.

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  • 1 month ago

    Passports are used for travel OUTSIDE of the country in which the holder is a citizen of.

    There are no customs posts at state borders. Just bring ID for things like proving you are the ticketholder for your train ticket.

    Just wow, and not in any good ways.

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