Photo identification is generally defined as an identity document with a picture of the document holder. It is required for signature verification, proof of driving eligibility, voting registration, security clearance, new employment, accessing age-restricted clubs and purchasing age-restricted items such as alcohol and cigarettes. Generally speaking, photo identification is issued by the state and federal government, by education institutions and by employers.
A driver's license or learner's permit can be used as photo identification. At age 15 or 16, depending on state laws, a person becomes eligible to receive a learner's permit after passing a written exam. Drivers' licenses are issued by state driver's license issuing agencies upon successful completion of written and driving tests. Driver's licenses are used frequently to verify credit card ownership, to verify identify of new hires and for voting. Non-driving photo identification also can be obtained at driver's license issuing agencies.
Many colleges issue students identification cards. Generally speaking, student identification includes, but is not limited to, an identification number, a photo and an expiration date. Student identification cards can be linked to campus financial accounts and used for on-campus purchases such as books and meals. The identification cards also can serve as library cards and provide access to the computer lab. Student identification cards also provide discounts at certain restaurants, movie theatres and stores.
A U.S. passport is a government-issued document that provides proof of identification. Passports are required for international travel. People of all ages are required to have a passport to travel abroad. Proof of citizenship, such as an original birth certificate, is required to obtain a passport.
Photo identification is provided to members of the military and their dependents. The military identification card is required to access the military base, health services and child care.