What Are the Requirements to Obtain a State-Issued ID Card?


Quick Answer

Although the requirements vary by state, most states require proof of identity and proof of residency to obtain a state-issued identification card. A driver's license requires additional testing, including both a practical and written test in most states.

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What Are the Requirements to Obtain a State-Issued ID Card?
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Full Answer

Applicants for a state-issued identification card have to apply in person at the appropriate government office. This is usually the Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent agency. There, the applicant needs to fill out a form, present all required paperwork and have his picture taken.

All states require proof of identity, although what counts as proof varies. U.S. passports, military IDs or official ID cards from other states are always accepted. Some states require applicants to have additional proofs of identity, including documents such as a birth certificate or Social Security card. For people who have changed their names, proof of the name change may be required. This can include a marriage license, divorce paperwork or court documents.

Many states also require proof of residency. This usually takes the form of mail or official documents listing the applicant's name and address. Acceptable proofs of residency often include utility statements such as power or water bills, health insurance documents, bank statements or a signed lease.

Most states also charge a small fee for an ID card. People seeking a state identification card should check with their local government to determine the exact requirements in their state.

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