Where Can I Get a Photo ID Besides the DMV? Answered

To buy beer or board an airplane, you’ll need a government-issued photo ID. While you can get a photo ID elsewhere, it likely won’t meet federal requirements. To obtain a government-issued photo ID, you’ll need to visit your local DMV or Secretary of State’s office. For more details, see below.

Where Can I Get a Photo ID Besides the DMV?

Places to get an ID include banks, libraries, schools, AAA, and employers, though these usually don’t meet the criteria to serve as valid identification for federal requirements like buying alcohol or boarding a plane. In order to obtain a government-issued photo ID, you’ll need to visit a branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or an office of the Secretary of State (SOS) in person. Most states process driver’s licenses and IDs through the DMV, but some, including Michigan and Illinois, offer these services through SOS offices.

Certain applicants may be eligible to apply for a photo ID by mail. Requirements vary by state. For example, in Connecticut you may be eligible for this option if you’re:

  • an active-duty military member
  • incarcerated
  • currently out of state
  • unable to appear for medical reasons

Keep in mind, your ID may be considered invalid for federal requirements, like boarding a plane, unless it has been verified by the DMV in person. Contact your state’s DMV for full details.

If you just need to renew your driver’s license, you might want to look into “express” or service-expedited DMV locations, which can cut down your wait time. For instance, New Mexico offers 10 full-service MVD Express location and lists up-to-date wait times at each location on its website. Check with your state’s DMV or Secretary of State’s office to find out about express options in your area.

One option for a photo ID that doesn’t require a visit the DMV is to get a passport. Valid U.S. passports can be obtained from many U.S. post offices — you may even be able to take your passport photo on-site. However, first-time passport applicants will need to provide two existing forms of ID, including a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship and a government-issued photo ID. A valid driver’s license is the best way to fulfill the secondary identification requirement, so you may need to visit the DMV after all.

In Summary

To get a valid, government-issued photo ID, you’ll need to visit your local DMV or Secretary of State’s office. Other places to get an ID can only generate forms of ID likely won’t meet federal requirements. A passport is also a valid option and may be obtained without visiting the DMV. For more information on IDs, see our articles: Places to Get Passport Photos Online, Nearby + Where to Print and Can You Cash a Check with a Temporary ID? Answered.

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  • Phyllis R Mick says:

    I am so pleased to have found this website! It has so many interesting articles and a ton of useful information! I cannot adequately express how refreshing it is! Thank you so much!

    • Lindsey Desmet says:
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      Thank you for your kind comments, Phyllis! We are glad to hear that you found this article/our site helpful.