Forms of photo identification

Written by chika nwaka | 13/05/2017
Forms of photo identification
Driving licences and passports are the most widely accepted forms of photo identification. (Getty Images)

A photo identification, or ID, is a document that contains a photograph of its bearer as well as other information that helps identify the person. Although there are many forms of photo identification in existence, many institutions only accept specific forms of photo IDs .The most widely recognised and accepted forms of photo identifications include government-issued IDs such as driving licences and passports. Other forms of photo identifications are military, school and employment identification cards.

Driving licence

The driving licence is issued by the UK's Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (Agency) to an individual who has passed both a theory and practical driving test. The licence proves that the licensee is qualified to operate a motor vehicle on the UK's roads. Driving licences have a picture of the bearer and are accepted nationally as a viable means of photo identification. The licence also contains important information such as a licence number, the holder's legal name, birth date, signature and current address.

National ID cards

National identification cards are issued to the residents of some countries regardless of their age. The UK operated a national ID card during the Second World War but this was discontinued in 1945. Some UK governments have flirted with the idea of re-introducing a national ID card, but attempts to legislate for their introduction have so far failed due to civil liberty concerns.


A passport is a form of photo identification that allows its holder to travel internationally. Passports are issued by the UK government and contain information about the holder, such as her photograph, given name, date and place of birth, passport number and the dates of the passport's validity.

Other photo IDs

There are many other forms of photo identification intended to prove an individual's membership in an institution or group, or to prove their age so they can buy alcoholic drinks in pubs and clubs. Some of these include employee photo ID cards, military ID cards and professional association ID cards. Generally, an issuing body prefers to conduct day-to-day business using its own ID card; for example, admitting people to company premises or car parks.

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