When it is important that an agency or business verify a person's name, age or date of birth, nothing but a photo ID will work and not everyone is able to obtain a Georgia driver's license. The photo allows a visual confirmation that the name and DOB actually belong to the person offering the identification. Georgia, like many states, offers an official state ID card with a photo. However, the state also offers a variety of other photo identification cards for a variety of purposes, including a voter's ID card, a veteran's ID card, an honorary veteran's ID card and a disability card.
When Photo ID Is Required
Whenever it is really important to verify someone's identity, anticipate a request for a photo ID. The circumstances in which photo IDs are required range widely. Expect to produce a photo ID when checking in for an airplane flight, buying a bottle of vodka, renting an apartment, opening a bank account or signing up for unemployment.
In general, photo IDs are not hard to get. Colleges and even some high schools give their students identification cards with their names and student numbers on them, as do some fitness clubs. But these won't necessarily get you where you need to go in Georgia. Often, when someone asks for a photo ID, they are expecting to see a driver license. Georgia residents without driver's licenses can use a state-issued ID or any of a handful of variations on the theme.
Getting a State ID Card
The basic government-issued photo ID in Georgia is the Georgia state ID card. An applicant doesn't need to be able to drive, take a vision test or pay a high fee to acquire one. The application is simple, and the fee is a low $32.
First-time state IDs are issued only at the DDS (Georgia Department of Driver Services), while renewals can often be done online. Non-U.S. citizens seeking to have their Georgia ID card renewed need to go to the DDS in person. All individuals must submit the state Online License/ID/Permit form.
Along with the completed application, an applicant will need to bring various records to the Georgia DDS to get the card. In Georgia, all photo ID cards are RealID cards as defined by the federal government, and applicants must meet the RealID proof requirements. They will need documents that prove identity, like a birth certificate, driver license, certificate of naturalization or passport. They also require proof of their Social Security number (a Social Security card or any official wage document like a 1099 form or an I-797C form for noncitizens ) and U.S. citizenship or legal presence in the country.
Proving Residence in the State of Georgia
To prove residence in Georgia, the DMV requires two documents that provide proof of your address, like an electric or water bill or a phone bill. Anyone who has legally changed their name might also need proof of the name change. This is usually a certified copy of a marriage certificate or a divorce decree or a court order of name change.
Getting a Georgia Voter ID
Georgia requires that a voter show a government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot. A U.S. passport, a Georgia driver license or a Georgia state ID card will work just fine. But for a person who doesn't have any of these and doesn't want to get one, Georgia offers a special photo ID card called a voter identification card that comes free of charge to any registered voter in the state.
This free card can be issued by any county registrar's office. The voter must bring with them an approved identity document that includes the person's full legal name and date of birth, a birth certificate or other proof of the voter's DOB, plus proof that the person is a registered voter in the state.
It is also possible to get a voter ID card at any Georgia Department of Driver Services. While the card remains free of charge, the person will have to bring many more documents with them, including proof of identity, proof of DOB, proof of Social Security number, proof of legal residence in Georgia, and all other Real ID requirements. The applicant must also fill out and sign an Affidavit for Identification Card for Voting Purposes (DDS-579).
Getting a Georgia Veteran's ID
Any resident of Georgia who had honorable active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces or 20 years of service in the National Guard can apply for a Georgia veteran's identification card. When this card is presented, the veteran is exempt from paying renewal, testing and application fees for any state driver license or ID card services. There is no charge for the card if the veteran saw combat; noncombat veterans must pay $32 for a card valid for eight years.
To get the card, a veteran must submit a Certificate of Eligibility (DS-516) that has been approved by the Georgia Department of Veterans Service. The certificate should be presented to the DDS the first time services are requested. The veteran must produce all of the types of documentation required for a regular state ID card. Upon request, the DDS will mark the ID card to show that the individual has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The spouse or surviving spouse of a disabled veteran who qualifies for a veteran's identification card is eligible for an honorary veteran's ID card. This allows them to use the DDS services free of charge as well. They must submit all of the documentation required for a veteran's card.
Getting a Handicap ID
In Georgia, a handicap ID is available for disabled persons. This allows the DDS to place a special disability symbol on a regular state photo ID card as well as indicators that qualify the person for special seating and/or transportation services. The applicant must present a Certificate of Eligibility (DDS 29), filled out by the applicant and a medical doctor in most cases.
If the disability is obvious, medical certification is not required. In addition, the applicant must present all of the documentation required for a Georgia ID. There is a small fee for this card; it costs $5 and is valid or eight years.
Getting an Indigent ID
To qualify for an indigent ID in Georgia, a customer must obtain a voucher from an approved Indigent Resource Provider, that is, a nonprofit agency in the state. The fee for this card is $5, and may be billed to a shelter if they have an arrangement with the DDS.
A person applying for an indigent ID is still required to provide documentation showing their identity, residential address, and U.S. citizenship or proof of lawful status in the United States. The person must provide their Social Security number on the License/ID/Permit Form.
- If you have questions about obtaining a Georgia ID card, contact DDS at 678-413-8400 Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. EST.
- Plan your trip accordingly--driver's license customer service centers throughout Georgia are busiest on Tuesdays and the day after the center has been closed due to a holiday.
- You can obtain a free Georgia ID card to use for voting if you meet certain requirements (see Resources for more details).
- You must turn in your old driver's license, identification card or permit when you apply for a photo ID card, according to DDS.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.