- Do I need these government-issued IDs? Are they required?
It is not required by law to have any form of identification, but having an ID makes it much, much easier to live your life in New York City. You need most of these documents to do a lot of basic things like get a job, receive public benefits and rent an apartment. No one can force you to get an ID. It is completely your choice.
To register to vote in New York State, you need a DMV number (driver’s license number or non-driver ID number), or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
If you do not have a DMV or Social Security number, you may use a valid photo ID, a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or some other government document that shows your name and address. You will have to mail a copy of one of those types of IDs with your registration form.
If the NYS Board of Elections is unable to verify your identity before Election Day, you will be asked for ID when you vote for the first time.
Birth Certificate: You are eligible for a birth certificate if you can provide your parents' names and the name of the hospital where you were born. If you're having trouble, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene may be able to help. Go in person to the Office of Vital Records (125 Worth Street, Room 133 in lower Manhattan) instead of ordering online. You can also submit a request to the NYC Health Department’s Office of Vital Records. If you were not born in the U.S. you can contact the consulate for your country .
Social Security card: You are eligible for a Social Security card if you are a U.S. citizen or documented resident and if you have one acceptable form of photo ID. If you need an original Social Security number, you will need your birth certificate as well.
Non-Driver State ID: You are eligible for a non-driver State ID if you have a birth certificate and a Social Security card, and can provide a few other important documents. You have to be a U.S. citizen or a documented resident of the U.S. You also have to be a resident of New York State.
Age does not matter. You can be any age to get any of the IDs. You may need one of your parents to help you get your ID if you are under 18 - visit the How Do I Get an ID page for more information
about each kind of ID.
If you are 16 or 17 years old and your parent cannot apply for a birth certificate for you, you can get a "minor certificate." The same application process applies. A "minor certificate" can be used just as you would use a regular birth certificate. The only difference is that only your name will be placed on the certificate, not your parents' names.
You will need to take a driver test and you must be at least 16 years old. Visit the DMV website for information and an application.
The non-driver State ID is NOT the same as a driver license.
A non-driver State ID has the same personal information as a driver license, such as name, address, photo and signature. With a non-driver State ID you can open a bank account, apply for a job and travel in the 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The only thing you cannot do is drive a car.
An enhanced non-driver State ID allows you to travel to Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries. It also costs more money than a regular non-driver State ID.
A regular non-driver State ID only allows you to travel in the 50 states, to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It costs less money than an enhanced ID. You do not need an enhanced non-driver State ID if you do not plan to travel to Canada, Mexico or some Caribbean countries. You can also use a passport to travel to those countries.
Birth Certificate: If you apply in person, you will receive your birth certificate immediately. If you are using your birth certificate outside of the United States, you may need a "long-form" version of the certificate, which you will receive in the mail. You will need a "long-form" version for dual citizenship, foreign school enrollment or international marriage.
If you apply online, you will receive your birth certificate in the mail in about a week if you order the "short-form" or two weeks for the "long-form". You can also request next day delivery for either at extra cost.
Social Security Card: About 10 days from when your application is received.
Non-Driver State ID: About two weeks from when you apply for the ID.
If you are 62 years old or older, OR if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you are eligible for a 10-year ID at a reduced fee of $6.50. If you are both 62 or older AND you receive SSI, there is no fee.