How to Get a Photo ID in One Day

Photo ID in hand
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Every state issues photo identification cards, which can be used by residents without driver's licenses to verify their identity and age. Unfortunately, the majority of states no longer issue photo ID on a same-day basis, opting instead for a more secure system that issues photo IDs from a central location after a thorough security check. Typically the process takes a week or more, depending where you live.

Before You Begin

To begin your application, you'll need to visit a local DMV or DOT office. Office locations, names and hours vary by city and state, but you can find the closest office by visiting your state's website. While you're at the site, check what documentation is required to apply for a photo ID. List the requirements, and make sure you have everything with you before you arrive at the office.

The Process

Inform the clerk at the DMV office that you want to apply for a photo identification card, and present the required documentation. This proves your identity, your residency and your date of birth, which in turn safeguards the integrity of the process. The clerk will make copies of the documents to accompany your application. The clerk will also take a photo to place on your identification card, so be sure your clothes and grooming are appropriate. The clerk will also take payment at this time. The amount of the fee, and methods of payment accepted, will vary between states.

The End Result

After a suitable interval for processing, your photo ID will be issued from the state's central processing facility. Depending on your state, and the process it follows, your ID card will either be mailed to you directly or sent to your DMV office for pick up.


  • Some states require additional information such as proof of your social security number and your fingerprints to apply for a state-issued identification card. For example, California law requires these additional documents but Florida law does not.


  • Birth certificates, naturalization certificates, passports, military or government ID cards, certificates of citizenship and consular reports of birth are accepted as proof of your identity and of your birth date. Utility bills, mortgage statements, bank statements, W2s, tax returns and insurance cards are examples of acceptable proof of residency.

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