Types of Valid Government Photo ID

By Lena Freund
Businessman with passport and airline tickets
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Valid forms of government ID include driver's licenses, United States passports, and U.S. military ID cards.

There are many types of valid government-issued photo IDs. A driver’s license or other DMV-issued ID card, a passport or sometimes even a foreign government-issued photo ID can be used in the United States. Usually, there are requirements for such an ID: It must at least list a birthdate, a photograph and an issue date. Sometimes height and weight will also be required. Valid photo IDs are required to do such things as buy alcohol and apply for passports, social security cards and library cards.

Driver's Licenses

A driver’s license issued in any of the 50 U.S. states qualifies as a primary identification when applying for a U.S. passport. A driver’s license, from any state or from Washington, D.C., is valid when buying alcohol in the U.S., since it can be used to verify age. Virginia, for example, issues special licenses to drivers under 18 that state age clearly. A driver’s license is also valid when applying for a library card or social security card.

U.S. Passports

An old U.S. passport is a valid form of ID when applying for a new U.S. passport. A valid passport may also be used to buy alcohol in the U.S. and to obtain library card and social security cards. In applying for a social security card or a renewed passport, a valid U.S. passport establishes identity as well as U.S. citizenship.

U.S. Military ID Cards

A military ID card qualifies as a valid form of photo ID in applying for a U.S. passport. A military ID card is also valid proof of age when attempting to buy alcohol in the U.S. since it contains a birthdate and a photo. The same is true in the case of applying for a library card. A U.S. military ID card may also be used in proving identity in order to obtain a social security card.

Other Photo IDs

Any other form of photo identification issued by a U.S. state or federal agency (such as an employee identification card) may be used both in buying alcohol and in applying for a U.S. passport. A valid state or federal identification card may also be used in applying for a library card. An employee identification card from a state or federal agency also qualifies as proof of identity when applying for a social security card.

About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Lena Freund began writing professionally in 2007, while living in Tel Aviv. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Middle Eastern studies and Hispanic studies from the College of William & Mary and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern history from Tel Aviv University. Freund's articles about travel, languages and cultures have been published on various websites.