What Are Different Types of Government Issued IDs?

Updated April 17, 2017

Any identification issued by a state, local or federal government agency is deemed a government-issued I.D. Government-issued identification is used for a number of reasons, including air or sea travel, border crossing, or applying for government assistance, employment or any entity which requires proof of citizenship. The most common forms of government-issued I.D. are those issued at the federal and state level.

Federally-Issued Government Photo I.D.

Common forms of federally issued government I.D. include a U.S. passport, passport card or military I.D. Passports and passport cards substantiate U.S. citizenship and are required for international travel while military I.D.s are issued to active duty and retired members of the military, as well as their spouses and dependents. Trusted traveller cards such as NEXUS, SENTI and FAST are government-issued I.D.s used for geographically restricted international travel, while a Certificate of Citizenship, a Naturalization Certificate, Permanent Resident and green cards provide identification for immigrants residing within the country. The Native American Travel Photo I.D. is for members of Native American tribes who are U.S. citizens.

Federally-Issued Government Non-Photo I.D.

A Social Security card, Consular Report of Birth Abroad and a Certificate of Report of Birth are all examples of federally issued government documents that help to prove identity. They are often necessary when applying for services or I.D. cards such as a driver's license or passport.

State-Issued Government Photo I.D.

A driver's license is perhaps the most common and widely accepted state-issued government I.D. It is used for domestic travel, applying for the right to vote or a library card, for bank transactions, and in most places, generally, where identification needs to be substantiated. A state-issued I.D. card, used by those who do not have driving privileges, is also common.

Secondary Documents

Often, certain cards or documents can help substantiate the identity of an individual when coupled with other items. They are used when higher-order I.D.s such as a passport or driver's license is unavailable. For example, when applying for a U.S. passport, an individual can submit a Social Security card, employee I.D. card, credit card and library card in place of a passport, Naturalization Certificate, driver's license, federal, state or local government-issued I.D. or military I.D. Not all agencies accept secondary I.D.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Shewanda Pugh attended Alabama A&M University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She also holds a Master of Arts in writing from Nova Southeastern University. Pugh's work has been featured in several print publications, including the "Farquhar Forum," "Go!Riverwalk" and "Foreword Magazine."