How to Prove Your Identity

By Heather Leigh Landon
A passport sitting on a table by a cup of coffee.

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Many situations require you to prove who you are, including opening a checking account, booking airline tickets or renting an apartment. You can prove your identity in a variety of ways, including by presenting photo IDs, a birth certificate and other documents. The items you will need to present to establish your identity may vary, depending on the underlying circumstances.

Present proper documents. There are different documents that may be used to help prove your identity, including birth certificates, passports and other certificates. A U.S. Passport, certificate of naturalization, certificate of U.S. citizenship or a Tribal membership card with a photo are acceptable forms of identity when applying for a driver’s license, state issued photo ID card or other government related documents.

Show a photo ID. Many times when applying for a loan, opening a bank account, boarding a plane or getting a document notarized you have to have an ID card with a photo. A driver’s license, state issued photo ID and a military photo ID are commonly accepted forms for proof of identity. Other forms of a photo ID that may be acceptable include a work or school ID with a photo and a U.S. American Indian Tribal Certificate.

Prepare a parental authorization affidavit. If you are under 18 years of age, you can show an affidavit signed by your parent or guardian to prove your identity. To use the affidavit as proof of identity, your parent or guardian must show their proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or U.S. passport, and proof that they are your parent or guardian by showing your birth certificate or guardianship papers.

Fill out special documents. If you do not have a U.S. passport, driver’s license, state issued photo ID or other form of identification listed above you can show proof of identity by filling out forms for citizenship documentation and identity declarations. These forms act as affidavits regarding your identity and are sometimes accepted for acquiring food stamps, Medicaid and other government assistance. Declaration forms vary from state to state and are primarily used for those in your household that do not have any other form of identity.

Show your Social Security number. A Social Security number can be used for proof of identity in some cases, such as getting your first driver’s license, applying for a loan or opening a checking account.

About the Author

Heather Leigh Landon has been a writer since 1988 when she started her career as a stringer for "The McHenry Star News." Since then she has worked for newspapers such as "The Woodstock Independent," "The Northwest Herald" and "Press Journal." Landon graduated from William Rainey Harper College with an Associate of Applied Science in journalism.

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