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SFO requires a placard for pickups or dropoffs

Request for an airport placard to be delivered to your address by filling out this form.

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Driving at San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Airports can be complicated places, especially for drivers. But knowing the basics, and getting information in advance about your local airport, can help make sure you’re prepared for your first pickup or dropoff.

Airport regulations

Per airport regulations, drivers must adhere to the terms below. Failure to do so may result in the receipt of a citation or even restriction of access to airport trips. As a reminder, Uber will not pay for any citations that drivers may incur.

  • When on airport property, the Driver app must be open at all times (drivers must not go offline until exiting the airport area).
  • The Uber vehicle sticker must always be displayed on both the front and rear passengers windshields facing outward. Drivers can request this Uber decal online or at their local Greenlight Hub.
  • SFO also requires a unique airport placard that must be displayed beneath the front trade dress. If drivers would like to request a placard or their current placard has expired, they can request a new one by filling out this form or visiting a local Greenlight Hub.
  • There’s a special system where the first vehicle in is the first one out (FIFO) at San Francisco International Airport. The FIFO system only works within the designated, geofenced area. Drivers waiting elsewhere may not receive trip requests through the Driver app.
  • TNC drivers may wait for airport requests at the airport’s three TNC Waiting Lots. Drivers can check the Uber driver app for open and closing hours of each lot.
    • Lot 1: south corner of the airport on S. McDonnell Rd
    • Lot 2: corner of E. Millbrae Ave and S. McDonnell Rd
    • Lot 3: directly next to the Cell Phone Waiting Lot near the intersection of San Bruno Ave. and N. McDonnell Rd.
  • SFO requires TNC drivers to leave airport property immediately if all staging lots are full. Waiting for a pickup request anywhere on airport property other than designated staging lots mentioned above may incur monetary fines or revocation of access from the airport.
  • For Terminals 1-3, riders can be dropped off on either the Departures Level or Arrivals Level. For the International Terminal, riders can be dropped off at the center island between Zones 14 and 17.
  • You may be asked to show your waybill. To access it, tap the Waybill button that appears in your app.

Airport tips

  • Driver cancellations: Trip cancellations can take away from the experience that riders and drivers expect. Please remember that drivers who improperly use the app and intentionally disrupt the service, including excessively canceling rides or asking riders to cancel rides, may lose the ability to receive trip requests to and from the airport through the Driver app.
  • Ground transportation and airport security staff: Airport rules are as important as traffic rules; the airport may impose fines or penalties for not following the instructions of airport staff.
  • When picking up passengers, if you wait too long at the terminal, airport officials will write a citation and send it to Uber - this may result in penalties (see section below on citations and appeals). Unlike in the case of civilian drivers, airport officials will not tap on your window first and ask you to move.
  • Any vehicle that stops in a crosswalk (even briefly) is liable to be cited.
  • It is illegal under state and federal law for anyone, including rideshare drivers, to engage in price fixing. This includes agreeing or coordinating with other drivers (in airport staging lots or elsewhere) on pricing and surge pricing. The law requires that drivers must make decisions about pricing and surge pricing on their own.

Driver citations and appeals

For drivers who have been cited for a violation by SFO for breaking their rules and regulations, SFO will send Uber information about the violation. The following actions will be taken for violations taking place in the 6-month period beginning after the first violation:

  • 1st violation - Warning.
  • 2nd violation - One week suspension from airport trips.
  • 3rd+ violation - One month suspension from airport trips.

Uber pays for the citations on behalf of the driver. Drivers will have a chance to appeal violations to SFO prior to any action being taken.

To avoid penalties, please follow SFO rules and regulations. To view them, click here and navigate to the “SFO Rules and Regulations (PDF)” link. Airport suspensions apply across all airports (not limited to SFO).

Pickups at the airport

It’s easy to receive trip requests from riders leaving SFO airport. However, these trips work a little differently than other requests.

Waiting for requests

Uber’s technology uses a first-in, first-out (FIFO) queue. This means that in order to receive a trip request, you need to enter the designated waiting area, located within a FIFO zone. You will then be placed in a virtual queue where the first driver to enter will be the first to receive a trip request.

Based on the operating agreement with the airport, there are 2 waiting lots available for TNC drivers. The first is located at the corner of E. Millbrae Ave. and S. McDonnell Rd. The other can be found directly next to the Cell Phone Waiting Lot near the intersection of San Bruno Ave. and N. McDonnell Rd.

Some things to know about FIFO queues:

  • Proximity to the terminal within the FIFO zone does not create an advantage for drivers or move you closer to the top of the queue.
  • If there are no drivers in the FIFO zone, trip requests will go to people driving with Uber in the area—outside of the FIFO zone—based on proximity and other factors.
  • You can lose your place in line if:
    • You go offline on your Driver app
    • You drive outside the FIFO zone
    • You do not accept multiple incoming trip requests in a row
    • You cancel multiple rides (if the rider cancels, you should remain at the top of the queue)

Picking up your rider

Rematch is on for all options, so you may receive a pickup request immediately after you drop off a rider at the terminal.


Once you accept a trip request, the pickup location for Terminals 1-3 is located at Level 5 of the Domestic Garage. Once you get to the garage entrance:

  • The far left lane—labeled “Limo / Lyft / Uber Only”—is designated for rideshare drivers to enter the garage; the bar at the entry will be lifted, and no ticket is needed.
  • The pickup area is on Level 5 of the garage. You can wait for your rider in any of the stalls dedicated to drivers; each terminal has a dedicated parking stall.
  • Each terminal has its own pickup zones. Zones B and C can be used for pickups from Terminal 1, Zones D and E can be used for pickups from Terminal 2, and Zones F and G can be used for pickups from Terminal 3.

Comfort, XL, Select, UberBlack, SUV

  • Uber Comfort, UberXL, Select, UberBlack and SUV pickups can occur at the curbside of Terminals 1-3. Pickups for these ride options can also take place in the Domestic Garage.

International Terminal pickups

  • International Terminal pickups remain on the center island at the Departures Level from Zones 14 to 17.

Learn about SFO’s Domestic Garage

Dropoffs at the airport

  • Based on the operating agreement with the airport, riders can be dropped off at their requested terminal on the Departures Level, or on the Arrivals Level at white zones, for Terminals 1-3.
  • For the International Terminal, riders can be dropped off at the center island between Zones 14 and 17.
  • Per airport regulations, drivers must leave their app on until they exit the airport property.
  • If you’d like to receive a trip request afterward, you can keep the Driver app on to maintain your place in the FIFO queue.

Staging information

Frequently asked questions

  • Yes, you still have to pay the citation. SFO officers do not issue citations directly to Uber drivers. This means that they won’t approach you at the airport at the time of the violation to write you a ticket. Instead, they observe a violation, write a ticket, and send the ticket to Uber. Uber then uses the information on the citation—license plate, driver name, vehicle, and time—to notify you, the driver. Uber then collects the payment from your earnings.

  • Yes, even though the citation may be from many months ago, it is still valid. Uber is only able to process these citations once we receive them from SFO and it often takes SFO several months to send them over to us. We realize the inconvenience of this delay and hope to improve the turnaround time in the future.

  • No action is needed on your part to pay the ticket. The airport bills Uber directly for citations and Uber then collects the amounts from driver earnings statements. After receiving a notification email, you will see the fine deducted from your next earnings statement.

  • Unfortunately, yes. Even during your first weeks driving with Uber, you are responsible for knowing and understanding rules at the airport. We understand the airport can be an overwhelming experience at first, so it can be helpful to review the SFO rules and regulations before heading to the airport for trips.

  • A staging citation means that you were waiting either in the incorrect location or for too long of a time. According to airport regulations, you must stage in the specified TNC Staging Lot when waiting for a pickup and you should only head out of the Staging Lot when you have a pickup request. Once you arrive at the terminal, it’s best not to wait more than a couple minutes for your rider. Unlike when you pick up a friend at the airport, SFO Officers do not tap on your window to move. They will only write a citation and send it to Uber, and we will be forced to collect.

  • If you were not online and driving with Uber at the time of the citation, you are eligible to dispute the citation. To do so, you can submit your information at the link below.

SFO also requires a unique airport placard that must be displayed beneath the front trade dress. If drivers would like to request a placard or their current placard has expired, they can request a new one by filling out this form or visiting a local Greenlight Hub.