Renting a Private Plane: Security & Immigration FAQs

When it comes to flying by private jet charter, your experience can be much different than when flying by commercial airliner.

Everything is designed to make your trip as efficient, fast, and comfortable as possible – including the security and immigration portion of traveling.

Instead of long lines and crowded airports, private jet terminals (FBOs) allow you to get onto your jet quickly. So quickly in fact, we’re often asked whether security and immigration procedures differ when flying by private jet.

To help clarify what to expect before you take off, here are a few explanations for questions we’re frequently asked:

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Do I need an ID to fly on a private jet?

The answer is yes – the same security requirements exist for private plane flights as for airline flights – it’s just a much more seamless process.

For example, if you were renting a private plane to fly you from New York to Las Vegas, you would need to provide an authorized form of photo ID, such as your driver’s license, just as you would on a domestic US flight. And if you were flying internationally, a passport would be required.

Do I need a visa to fly by private jet?

As with any commercial flight, it is essential that you meet the immigration requirements for your route and your nationality and status, even when flying by private jet. This includes obtaining a visa for your destination if necessary.

Our Flight Team can help advise you on the likely visa requirements for your flight. You will need to check with the authorities of your country of origin for the procedures required.

Will my documents be checked at the airport?

When you book your private jet flight, PrivateFly’s Flight Team will ask for a copy of your passport (or ID) and visa (if required) for each passenger traveling. This is used by both PrivateFly and by the aircraft’s operator to create a passenger manifest. This is an official document, used by the immigration services, the flight crew, and the FBO.
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Depending on the route, the information on the manifest can be used to pre-clear passengers before the flight, rather than after arrival at the airport – which means the process is much faster and hassle-free for the passengers.

It is still essential that all passengers have their passport or other ID with them, which will be checked by the staff at the FBO and against the manifest – you would not be able to board the aircraft otherwise. And at some airports immigration services will perform spot checks.

It’s perfectly fine to make a change to the passengers traveling at any point up to the aircraft departure (subject to the maximum payload of the aircraft), but the same documentation is still required for any last minute passengers.

How far in advance do I need to arrive at the airport?

You do not need to arrive hours in advance when traveling by private plane. Some airports are faster than others at handling business aviation and the waiting time can vary, but it only takes between five and 30 minutes from arrival for you to board the aircraft.

Your PrivateFly Flight Advisor will give you an estimate of the time required to complete the formalities according to the airport and your flight.

Will my luggage be scanned before my flight?

As with a commercial flight, your luggage is usually scanned before you board a private jet flight. However there are no lines – this all happens seamlessly and very quickly.

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There are no long corridors to walk down at either – FBOs are designed to make your route to the aircraft as quick as possible.

Do I need a ticket for a private jet flight?

Private jet flights are ticket-free. When you book with PrivateFly, you receive an itinerary detailing your route, booking reference and all the other key information relating to your flight. This also includes the contact details of your crew and the tail number of your aircraft. We also include driving directions to the FBO and parking information.

Some airports have an additional security requirement called a PPR (Prior Permission Requirement). This is a unique number which identifies the passenger on arrival.

Does my dog or cat need a passport?

Pets can travel with their owners on a private plane flight, but this is subject to having the necessary documentation – including a pet passport and immunization record. They should also be microchipped.

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However, some countries do have additional conditions for pet travel. For example, for arrivals in the UK, your pet must be vaccinated against rabies and dogs should be wormed 24 hours before departure.

For more information, read our guide to private jet flights with pets.

If you have any other questions, or for a personalized quote, our Flight Team would be delighted to help. Contact us online (24 hours) or call us at (866) 726-1222.