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What is a government-issued id?

Updated July 19, 2017

Government-issued identification is any form of identification that comes from a government agency, either federal or state (provincial). Government-issued identification is vetted by a government agency and therefore often carries more weight than other forms of identification than might be provided by identification from private institutions.

Federal Government

The federal government issues a number of different forms of identification. The most commonly used for the purposes of travel is the passport, which confirms an individual's citizenship with the country issuing the passport. Other forms of federal government identification include: military ID, Social Security number (or Social Insurance number in Canada), birth certificate, a citizenship card, a permanent resident card, federal police identification (such as the FBI or RCMP) or NEXUS cards.

State Government

State (or provincial) governments can also issue forms of identification including health cards, driver's licenses, identification cards, state police force ID or state government employee ID.

Other Forms of Government Identificaiton

Other forms of government-issued identification include identification issued by municipal or aboriginal government. These might include municipal government employee identification or an Indian Status Card. In the U.S., aboriginal identification includes a Native American Tribal Photo Identification Card and in Canada, it includes an Indian Status Card or an Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Card.

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About the Author

Karen L. Blair has been professionally writing since 2001. Her work has been published in academic journals such as the "Journal of Sex Research," "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships" and "Psychology & Sexuality." Blair received her M.Sc. in psychology at Acadia University and her Ph.D. in social psychology at Queen's University. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow and research consultant.