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Where Can I Get a Photo ID Besides the DMV?

Where Can I get a Photo ID Besides The DMV

If you need a photo ID and don’t have time to go to the DMV, there are other places you can go. You may be able to get a photo ID from your employer, school, or bank. Some states also offer free IDs for people who don’t have any other form of identification. Whichever route you choose, make sure that you have all the necessary documents with you. In this article we will dig deeper and answer the question, where can I get a photo ID besides the DMV? 


Types of IDs

State-issued IDs

A State ID is a government-issued form of identification that proves the holder’s citizenship and identity. It’s similar to driver’s licenses, but you do not need to take any tests for it! Much like a standard-issue driver’s license, the State ID number is found at the top of the card. 

Some states, like New York, offer Non-Driver ID Cards as a driver’s license alternative. 

School IDs

A School ID is a school-issued form of identification for primary and secondary schools in the United States. With a school ID, students can safely enter the school building and access specific rooms.

Military IDs

Military IDs are government-issued identification cards to identify members of the Armed Forces or a member’s dependent (for example, a child or spouse). 

With military IDs, members can access military bases, Base exchange (such as AAFES, Navy Exchange, Marine Corps Exchange, and the Coast Guard Exchange, commissaries, and Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities. These cards also prove eligibility for medical care delivered through either the military health system or through TRICARE.


Passports are government-issued travel identification documents containing an individual’s identity information. It allows the passport holder to enter and exit foreign countries with ease and to also access consular assistance while overseas (such as during emergencies). 

The passport certifies two things: the individual’s identity and nationality. Standard-issue passports contain:

  • Full name
  • Photograph 
  • Place and date of birth
  • Signature
  • Passport’s expiration date

Work IDs

Work IDs are similar to school IDs in that they help individuals enter a workplace and access certain rooms in the office building. Work IDs are workplace-issued forms of identification to identify individuals working for an organization. Typically, a work ID includes an employee’s name, role within the organization, their photo, the company’s branding, a barcode, and an employee ID number.

Credit cards

A credit card is a payment card issued by a financial institution (usually a bank) enabling an individual to pay a merchant for goods and services based on a cardholder’s accrued debt. Credit cards grant cardholders access to a line of credit (much like a loan). The cardholder is responsible for paying back the debt accrued on the credit card. 

Where Can I Get a Photo ID Besides The DMV?

Are you in need of a photo ID but dread the thought of going to the DMV? Have no fear! There are actually several places where you can get a photo ID without having to endure the typical long lines and bureaucratic runaround. Here are just a few options for getting your hands on a valid photo ID.

Post Office 

You can skip the lines at the DMV and go directly to your local United States Postal Service. The ID you receive at your post office is a passport card. It’s not only just an ID, but also has the following benefits:

  • You can receive a passport card without knowing how to drive.
  • The passport card is available for minors as well as adults.
  • The passport card can work as a limited passport that allows you to travel to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean by land or sea without another form of identification. 
  • It’s a valid form of identification for the country you reside in.

To receive a passport card, you’ll need:

  • Proof of citizenship (current or expired passport)
  • A U.S. birth certificate
  • Certificate of citizenship or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Passport photo
  • Current identification card
  • Photocopy of your current identity card

State departments will give your certified copies of your documents back to you but will keep photocopies.

College or university ID cards

If you attend a college or university then you’ll be eligible to receive a student ID. Many colleges and universities require student identification cards in order to enter certain buildings, purchase books from the university bookstore, or for test-taking purposes. 

A student ID grants a whole host of benefits including:

  • Discounts on electronics like Apple, Best Buy, Microsoft, and more
  • Discounts at restaurants
  • Discounts at bookstores
  • Discounts on software 
  • And more

With a student ID, you not only receive discounts but can save hundreds of dollars a year on products and services.

Some private businesses, such as department stores and banks, offer photo ID services for a fee

Some businesses offer credit or debit cards with a photo ID on the card. Identity photo cards reduce the risk of fraud. These services don’t come free though as many businesses and banks charge a fee.


To obtain a military ID, individuals must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). Typically, the initial entry into DEERS occurs at Basic Training or after the first assignment. An eligible individual must fill out an official form and provide personal information to receive the first ID card.

Now that you know how to obtain ID cards, let’s review why it’s important to have one in the first place.


Why Is It Important To Have a Photo ID Card?

Nowadays, identification cards are ubiquitous and without them, no one will know who you are. Photo identification cards don’t only show your name or picture–they are a gateway to freedom, allowing you to secure loans, purchase alcohol, travel to another country, and more. The most common types of photo IDs are driver’s licenses, national identity cards, and a workplace ID. These cards ensure security and confirm an individual’s identity. 

Photo identification helps you:

  • Prove your identity 
  • Prove your age, when necessary
  • Operate a motor vehicle
  • Identify students in a school or staff members in a workplace
  • Safeguard against identity theft


What is a Real ID and is it similar to a photo ID?

Real ID is an Act of Congress that sets requirements for state drivers’ licenses and ID cards. The Real ID enacted the following:

  • Changes to federal standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses and non-driver ID cards.
  • Changes to visa limits for temporary workers, nurses, and Australian citizens.
  • Updates to asylum-seekers and laws regarding alien deportation
  • New rules about “delivery bonds”
  • Changes to border security

The Real ID Act isn’t an actual ID but a set of standards for federal and state identification. Starting on May 3, 2023, every air traveler must have a Real ID-compliant license or accepted form of identification (like a passport or military card), or a DHS trusted traveler card for domestic air travel.



Frequently Asked Questions about Photo IDs

Where can I get a photo ID besides the DMV?

You can obtain a photo ID from the bank, the post office, college or university, or in the military. Different entities have different rules on how to apply and what you need to apply. 

What are the different types of photo identification?

There are passports, passport cards, driver’s licenses, school and college IDs, military ids, department store ids, and more. 

How can I get my ID card online? 

You cannot get your first photo ID card online as you need to prove your identity in person. But, if you need to replace a lost, damaged, or stolen state ID card, you can apply for a replacement through your state’s Secretary of State (SOS) online. 

How do I correct my state ID card?

For address changes, you can submit your request online, but for name changes, you need to go into a Secretary of State branch and present your proof of your name change. 

When do I need to obtain a photo ID?

There is no required age to obtain a license, but the recommended age is 18. If you want to travel anywhere in the United States, you will need a REAL ID-compliant document to travel domestically. 

What is a state ID?

A state ID is a government-issued form of identification containing your personal information and it proves the holder’s identity and citizenship status.

Why do I need to get a state ID? 

State ID cards provide an easy means of identification. They are easier to obtain than a driver’s license (no driving required!) and a lot less expensive than a passport. 



This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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