22 Things That Require a Photo ID

Posted by Frank Gogol
Updated on May 16, 2022

Photo ID laws get a lot of attention, especially during elections. A lot of individuals discuss whether people who vote should present any photo identification when they show up at the polls, but the different opinions split voters. Some say that presenting a photo ID is great for ballot fraud prevention, whereas others consider that the laws discriminate against specific voters.

In the midst of all this, some fail to address the other things that require a photo ID. So, what do you have to use Real IDs and Enhanced IDs for, or other photo ID forms?

All the Things That Require a Photo ID in the U.S.

You are asked for IDs for many things, and it’s best to know them so you can always have your photo ID ready. Here are some of the things that will require proving your identity:

1. Buying Alcohol

Do you want to buy some alcohol to enjoy with your friends, or perhaps purchase it for a special occasion with your family? You will require a photo ID.

The ID helps prove your age, as the laws try to protect young people from the dangers of alcohol. 21 years is the Minimum Legal Drinking Age in the U.S. Some people look younger than they are – therefore, it can be hard for the cashier to tell the age.

It is their responsibility to ask for an ID and help make sure they are selling the alcohol to someone who is 21 or older, and not an underage person.

2. Opening a Bank Account

If you want to open a bank account or carry out any type of transaction, banks usually require photo identification. This is necessary because it proves that you are who you say you are. The institution can match your name to your face, so it knows your identity and can trust you.

3. Applying for Food Stamps

People who have low income and want to apply for food stamps will have to show a photo ID. Documented evidence like this helps show who you are, proving your identity and making sure the food stamps go to the right person.

4. Applying for Welfare

In some states, a photo ID is necessary for collecting welfare. For instance, Missouri and Massachusetts will require the applicant to have a photo ID on their electronic benefit cards if they want to get welfare. In Kansas, if the participant is okay with it, their EBT cards can include a photo as well.

5. Applying for Medicaid and Social Security

Medicaid applicants will have to show a photo ID if they want to be able to apply. Social Security will also require a photo ID for identity verification.

6. Renting and Buying a House

Documentation is necessary whenever someone rents a house or buys one. A photo ID is only one of the documents. It helps show who you are and make sure the house goes to the right people.

7. Buying or Renting a Car

You cannot drive a car unless you reach the proper age for doing so. When you eventually come of age, you can apply for a driver’s license. Some people may look older than they are, though.

For this reason, companies that offer car rentals or people who sell cars may ask you for a photo ID to prove your identity and see that you have the right age.

8. Flying on an Airplane

Everyone who wishes to fly on an airplane should present a government-issued photo identification form at check-in. This could be a passport, passport card, driver’s license, or military ID.

Real and Enhanced IDs can be used too. And since they can expire, you must also know how to extend a Real ID.

9. Getting Married

After you meet the love of your life and decide to get married, you must prepare several documents. Photo ID is one of them. Valid photo identifications for marriage licenses include passports, military ID, or a driver’s license.

10. Purchasing a Gun

Even though people have the right to buy guns, they may still be required to show a photo ID whenever they make such purchases. Some states have stricter gun laws. The District of Columbia, for instance, wants residents to register the guns they own, as well as get a gun license for any handgun, rifle, or shotgun.

11. Adopting a Pet

Adopting a pet requires showing a photo ID for various reasons, such as proving that you have the legal age to do so, but also to prove your identity and address. This way, the representatives from the organization can come to your house and see if the environment is safe. They want to make sure that the pet will live in the proper conditions after being adopted.

12. Applying for a Hunting License

Before you start hunting, you must obtain a hunting license. For this, a photo ID is necessary, so you can prove you are actually the person the license is given to.

13. Renting a Hotel Room

When you check into a hotel in order to for a certain period, you will also be asked for a photo ID. So, you must have it ready.

14. Applying for a Fishing License

A photo ID is necessary for a fishing license not only to prove the identity but also to pay the lower resident rate.

15. Buying a Cell Phone

Purchasing a new cell phone may require a photo ID too. However, if you are paying for it with your own money, you will not be asked for the ID. Your photo ID will only be required if you purchase with a debit card or credit card.

16. Picking up a Prescription Medication

Photo ID is one of the ways through which states can limit prescription drug sale. This ensures that the drugs go to the people who need them, and not to someone who wants to sell them or abuse them.

17. Visiting a Casino

To gamble, you must be of legal age. So, you need a photo ID to prove your identity and age, especially if you win large amounts of money and want to cash out.

18. Holding a Protest or Rally

If you want to hold a protest or rally in a public space, some municipalities will require permits. So, when you’re stopped by the police, you may be asked to provide photo identification.

19. Donating Blood

Before anyone is accepted to donate blood, they must present their photo ID.

20. Purchasing Mature-Rated Video Games

A lot of children may want to purchase mature-rated video games. So, showing a photo ID is a good way to prove your identity and that you have the legal age to buy these games and play them.

21. Purchasing Tobacco

Similar to alcohol, purchasing tobacco requires showing a photo ID to make sure you are old enough.

22. Applying for Unemployment Benefits

Before they pay benefits, many unemployment offices will ask for a photo ID to prove you are who you say you are.

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The Bottom Line

Having a photo ID is a must, as you will need it many times throughout your life, even for purchasing tobacco and alcohol. Make sure you have it ready before doing any of the things listed in this article.


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