Lately i see a lot of questions where people ask if they would be fine travelling from one city to another while they are illegal residents in a country. On the face value the act they are asking for is legal and there is no harm when people say oh nobody is going to scan your visas on a domestic flight.

But then, those people are residing there illegally and it doesn't feel right, at least to me, to say yeah everything's good just go ahead. I am not a lawyer and this is not a law forum, however i feel it is a bit odd to try to help answer such questions.

I know that some people will say that being out of status does not mean being illegal necessarily, that is true but i am not talking about such situations. I am talking about questions where the OP clearly states that they are in the country illegally.

Should we just look at those questions on their face value and ignore the broader picture?

Example 1: Can I fly from NY to Las Vegas if I’m out of status?

Example 2: How do passport/ID checks work on trains within the Schengen area?

1 Answer 1


I have the same concern and in the past I have answered that they do run the risk of being detained and expelled. But as I am not really sure what the risks in the different countries are, I stopped answering this kind of question.

It might be better to send this kind of question to Law, if they do fit there.
But as I do not know much about Law, I do not know what questions fit there.

  • What do you suggest should be done then? Just ignore the question and pick another? Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 7:49
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    @HankyPanky In the US, it's a situation that 11+ million people are in. Many have been in the country for decades, have families, pay taxes, etc... Nobody ever has to answer a question they don't want to, for any reason, and not knowing a good answer or not feeling comfortable helping someone in a particular situation are fine reasons not to answer. But given how common the situation is, I'd say a straightforward answer is the best approach, ideally citing authoritative resources from immigrant legal aid groups on the risks. You're not personally aiding and abetting anything with an answer. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 7:12
  • That makes sense, i guess then its best to just move on and not make it a point, there are definitely other questions to answer always. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 14:42
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    I'm a member of the Law Stack Exchange as well. We would probably avoid answering questions like this, because it would veer dangerously close to giving legal advice. Because of this, it says clearly in the FAQs that the site is for general legal questions (would x be y under law x), as opposed to specific legal problems - see law.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic. Perhaps the solution to this is to be clear that such questions are out of the Travel Stack Exchange remit?
    – lc9315
    Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 11:31
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    As @ZachLipton points out there are at least 10 million (many say far, far more) "undocumented" (or .. whatever) humans in the "USA". To some extent it would be like saying "let's ignore questions about Israel" )or any other country, or whatever, that is in dispute). In the US, even many state governments conflict with their "national" government about the legality of such persons.
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 6:58

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