Proof of identification

Proof of Identification if You Don’t Drive

Obtaining a driver’s license is often considered one of the big milestones of growing up and becoming an adult. It’s also one of the most commonly used photo IDs for things like proving identification when using a credit card at the mall, or when traveling for business or pleasure. If you don’t have a need to drive though, what are you supposed to use as proof of identification? Unfortunately a birth certificate is only considered a valid form of proof of citizenship and not identity, as this document is issued without a photo. Read on to see what other forms of ID you can use instead!

We’ve compiled a list below of a few types of ID that you can use or obtain if you don’t happen to have a driver’s license. If you’re looking for a full, handy list of acceptable forms of primary and secondary identification, take a look at the U.S. Department of State’s or the TSA’s list.

  • State issued non-driver ID – This type of ID looks very similar to a traditional driver’s license, and will have your photo, name, address, and date of birth. This is considered a secondary form of ID, so you may need to provide additional forms of ID if you are traveling. You can typically get this form of identification by going to your local DMV with your original birth certificate, your social security card, and additional points of proof of name. You can find more information on the requirements by state at DMV.org or USA.gov.
  • Passport book or passport card – A passport book or card is a valid form of primary identification in the United States, and both the book and the card are Real ID compliant as well. You can apply for one of them or both of them using one application to make things super easy! There is more information on
    Forms of government issued ID

    A passport is considered a primary form of photo identification. Next to a driver’s license, this is probably one of the most common forms of ID used for traveling.

    applying for a passport and/or passport card here. If you’re looking for more information on choosing a passport book vs. a card, take a look at this comparison at Travel.State.Gov.

  • U.S. Military ID – Although there are many other benefits to having a military ID card, one of them is use as a primary form of identification! You can learn more about military IDs and how to obtain one at  MilitaryBenefits.info.
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship – Either of these documents with a recognizable photo is considered a form of primary identification. The United States Citizenship website has additional info on these documents and how to obtain or renew them.
  • Social security card – This type of ID is considered secondary, so you may need additional documentation depending on what you’re using this for. These cards are often misplaced, and are never easy to find when you actually end up needing them! The Social Security Administration can help if you need to apply for a new or replacement social security card
  • Voter registration card – A voter registration card is another form of ID that is considered secondary. DMV.org has an excellent guide on how and where to register for one of these cards by state.
  • Employee or student ID – If you have an employee or student ID that has a photo on it, these can be used as a secondary form of identification. Make sure to check with your employer or your school/college for more information on your ID, or if you need help with a replacement.
Can I use my student ID as a form of identification?

A student ID can be used as a secondary form of identification, which means you may need other types of ID to supplement this one.

In addition to the acceptable forms of identification listed above, there are also less conventional options out there too! A blogger called The Points Guy put together a comprehensive list here of different forms of ID his readers were able to use in order to travel, from marriage certificates to library cards! Some of these may not be universally accepted, so please make sure to check the necessary sources for your intended purposes.

We hope this list of different types of ID was helpful for you! If you happen to need any help with obtaining vital records, VitalChek is here to help. Enjoy!

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