Types of Identification Cards

Types of Identification Cards. There are several forms of identification cards. Most forms of legal identification will have your full legal name printed on it. Some will have your picture on it so you can drive and travel. Your identification card will prove your identity. You will need an identification card to get a loan and apply for a credit card. The most common forms of identification cards are a driver's license, birth certificate, Social Security card, green card and passport.

The different forms of identification

Driver's License

You need a driver's license to operate a motor vehicle. Many jobs require that you have a driver's license. Some places that will ask for your driver's license are banks when withdrawing money or cashing check, and nightclubs. Your driver's license is the No. 1 form of identification.

Social Security Card

A Social Security card usually is issued during childhood or when you become a citizen of the United States. The card includes your unique Social Security number (a nine-digit federal identification number) and your name. When you apply for any type of credit such as a home loan, purchasing a car or applying for a credit card, this is the form of identification you will give. New employers also frequently require a copy of your card on file.

Picture Identification

Anyone can obtain a picture ID from their state's motor vehicle bureau. It will have all the basic information that your driver's license has, without giving you the legal ability to drive.

Birth Certificate

For natural-born citizens, your birth certificate proves your citizenship. This document, which includes your name, birthdate, birth location and the names of your parents, is required to obtain a Social Security card, passport and driver's license.


A passport are also a form of picture ID required for travel outside of the United States. You can use a passport in lieu of a birth certificate if needed. A passport serves as one of the most widely accepted forms of identification.

Green Card

A green card allows foreign-born residents to live freely in the United States as permanent residents. A green card will allow you to get a driver's license, passport and a Social Security card. This is treated the same as a birth certificate.


  • California Department of Motor Vehicles: Driver License and Identification (ID) Card Information
  • Travel.State.Gov: Passports
  • U.S. Immigration: Guiding You Through Citizenship, Green Card, Visas and Passport Applications