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!

12 Comments

  1. I needed a certified copy of my birth certificate and was having a horrible time because my fax was to dark. I called and got a wonderful girl named Roxanne in Texas that after a couple of phone calls from this older tech stupid lady she walked me through how to get things done. She was Sooo patient and helpful. I just wanted to make sure you guys at vital chek know what a gem u have with this girl. And thank you again Roxanne for all ur help. I hope you see this or they let u know about this comment.

    1. Hello Catherine! Thanks for ordering from VitalChek. We appreciate you taking the time to share your positive feedback regarding your customer service experience with Roxanne. We are glad to hear that she was able to assist you with your order and hope you will consider VitalChek for future vital records orders. We’ll be sure to pass your comments along to her. Thanks again!

  2. I placed an order for my mother’s birth certificate but she has never received her birth certificate.
    Purchase Date: Monday, July 03 2017 01:31 PM CDT, Order Number: ********. I have tried numerous times to get a hold of a representative and waited on the phone over one hour without anyone picking up the phone. I was charged for the birth certificate but it was never received. The website does not provide an email address for help. Can somebody please contact me regarding this matter. Very frustrated customer.

    1. Thank you for your question, and we apologize for the inconvenience and delay you have experienced. We will have someone reach out to you directly to assist you with your request. Thank you.

  3. I am beginning to wonder if there is anyone who actually answers the Vital Check phone number provided 1-866-561-1694.

    1. We apologize for the inconvenience and delay you have experienced. We will have someone reach out to you directly to assist you with your request. Thank you.

  4. Since nobody will answer the Vital Check phone, please contact me by email. I am a government employee who lives OCONUS and my mother lives CONUS. With my work schedule, I don’t have time to wait on the phone for hours for a customer service representative to answer the phone. “Extremely long delays” is what Vital Check always states on their generated phone message every time I have tried to contact them. I don’t have the luxury of calling everyday and wasting valuable time. Your company needs to have a better way of assisting their customers. I don’t mind paying for a product if it is received. I do have a heartburn when my elderly veteran mother has been waiting over 10 months for her birth certificate.

    1. We apologize for the inconvenience and delay you have experienced. We will have someone reach out to you directly to assist you with your request. Thank you.

  5. “Your call is very important to us….but due to the high call volume we are experiencing extremely long delays. If possible, please try your call at a later time. Your call is very important to us. Please remain on the line and the next available representative will assist you shortly.” I am assuming your company thinks two hours of waiting for a customer service representative is shortly? A person starts losing their patience after wasting two hours of their valuable time waiting for someone to answer the phone.

    1. We apologize for the inconvenience and delay you have experienced. We will have someone reach out to you directly to assist you with your request. Thank you.

  6. I volunteer for an organization that helps US Citizens get IDs and we often help them order their Birth Certificates through Vitalcheck. Since many of our clients are homeless or just poor, we pay for their orders.
    However each state has different rules about payment having to be made by credit cards registered in the person’s name and address to be same as billing address.
    This makes it even harder for us to help them especially that states are changing their rules and we don’t know until we are half way through the order process.
    Is there a document or an online database that specifies the requirements of every state so we can be prepared and informed before starting the order and get them a gift card in their name to make the order?

    How can I get this information? It should be public knowledge and it would be helpful to have it in one location instead of going to each city.state’s vital records website and reading through many pages of information.

    1. Hello Carol. Thank you for using VitalChek to assist your clients with obtaining their birth certificates. We appreciate the business. Unfortunately, based on the reasons you mentioned (varying guidelines from state to state and even county to county and the propensity for agencies to change their guidelines on occasion), it would be difficult to maintain and provide an up to date record of the information you request. I have passed you inquiry on to our business to business team to see if there is any way they can simplify the process for you. They are going Thanks again for choosing VitalChek.

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