What Are Some Examples of Government-Issued IDs?

In most countries, the government issues driver’s licenses, residency cards and passports that usually require a photo. Some other examples that countries or states may issue are “trusted traveler” cards, military identification and personal identity verification (PIV cards).

In the United States, driver’s licenses and state identification cards are issued by individual states rather than the federal government. There is no mandatory national photo identification card for residency, but passports and passport cards require a photo. Other types of photo ID related to residency are permanent resident cards, border crossing cards and Native American tribal photo IDs.

Members of the U.S. military are issued a mandatory photo identification card and retirees (and their dependents) may continue to receive these cards. Military veterans who are eligible for care at Veterans Affairs hospitals also receive a medical photo identification card. Some civilians who work for the Department of Defense are also issued identification cards that can be used elsewhere as valid photo ID.

Trusted traveler cards are issued through a variety of programs approved by the Department of Homeland Security and are used to speed passage through security checkpoints at airports. These programs vary depending upon the traveler’s point of origin or country of residency. Some examples are Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST.