How to get a state ID card

How to get a state ID card (Identification) is a question that you might be wondering because it is a document worth having, even more, if you don’t own a driver’s license and that is usually the document used for identification purposes.

A state ID card is a document issued by the state in a regular and in an enhanced version; it is sort of an upgrade of the standard ID because it allows re-entering the United States by land or by sea.

Therefore if you are in Mexico, the Caribbean or Canada and want to go back to US territory you will be able to do so, without any other additional identity document at the border.

Having clarified the two types of identification cards, you have a better idea to the one you need to apply for.

There are steps for an uncomplicated procedure to get each one.

How to get a state regular ID card

How to get a state regular ID card 

There are two ways on how to get a state ID

The first one is:

  • Find out online where your nearest Secretary of State office is located
  • Go to the Secretary of State address
  • Present evidence of identification, U.S citizenship or legal status and residency on the state you are applying in (pay stubs or utility bills)
  • Submit proof of your Social Security number or a letter from the Social Security Administration
  • Pay the required fee if you are not exempt

If you are in U.S soil and need an identification card, but you are not a U.S citizen and have legal status, the State Secretary will provide you with a limited term ID card that will be valid for as long as you are allowed to be in the country.

This is not valid for re-entering the country, foreigners will need a passport and visa to do so.

The second way is:

The requirements for a standard ID card are the same needed to apply for a driver’s license

  • First check laws of the state where you are living in because these may vary
  • Bring proof of identification (It can be an old ID card and the driver’s license)
  • Submit proof of residency on the state you live in (pay stubs, utility bills, mortgages)
  • Check online for the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • Visit the DMV to apply in person
  • Complete the application form
  • Pay the ID card fee (the amount will depend on the age it may vary from $10 up to $22)
  • Have your picture taken, in some states, the law and district policies require a full frontal photograph, showing the ears and the hairline, without showing the hair




When an ID card is issued it must contain some additional personal information such as:

Veteran designation and Organ donor information

Veterans that were honorably discharged from service can present evidence of their honorably discharge to have a designation specified in the ID card.

To get the correct documents you can check it online in this link

Also, if you decide to become an organ donor, inform it to it can appear on the card.

To become an organ donor you can begin by clicking here

Fee exception

If a person is homeless it can apply for a fee exception, a duplicate license or ID card

Seasonal ID cards for residents


Residents who are not U.S citizens, but can apply for a special “seasonal” ID card. This is for foreigners that are legally living in the U.S, it can be submitted by:

  • A person who maintains temporary residency the state
  • Returns to the state or jurisdiction at least one time during a year period
  • The person is temporarily living in the state for at least consecutive 31 days in a year period
  • If it is registered to vote and pays taxes in another state and does not keep profession, occupation or employment at the issuing state, but the residency state.

These cards are not issued for tourist, but to those who are legally living in the U.S

This kind of ID card can be requested for underaged, for some states you can be at least 10 for applying, but in some others states you have to be at least 15 years of age and it’s required a document of approval or consent from the parents.

Some states have a parental consent form and it has to be filled out to be presented.

The ID card will be valid for 8 years and it can be renewed, but its duration will depend on the state that the persons live in.

How to get a state enhanced ID card

How to get a state enhanced ID card

If you already possess a standard ID card you can get it enhanced, but if you don’t you can apply for a new one as your first ID card.

To be able to make this request you have to be a U.S citizen, you cannot apply for an enhanced ID card if you are only a resident with legal status.

Steps to obtain your enhanced ID card:

  • Go to the Secretary of State office and bring along the following documents
  • Valid proof of the U.S citizenship (birth certificate issued by the U.S government
  • Proof of a Valid Social Security number (It can be a Social Security card or a letter from the Social Security Administration office)
  • Identity certification (A previous ID card, driver’s license or a form of identification form issued by the government that has a photo)
  • Get your photograph taken
  • Pay the enhanced ID fee (Check the state’s fee amount)

All the documentation has to be submitted on the same day and has to be subject of approval, this approval may usually do not occur on the same day and it will require an additional visit.

Take into account that all your identification documents have to have the same name and date of birth, so in case that you change your name because or marriage or divorce, you will have to bring along the documents to support that name change (original marriage license, divorce decree or court decree)