For all people in America, access to valid government-issued photo identification is critical to fully accessing daily needs. Minor-aged youth experiencing homelessness face unique challenges in obtaining an ID. Many youth experiencing homelessness may not have access to an existing ID or the documentation necessary to obtain one. Youth experiencing homelessness may not have a relationship with a parent or guardian when their consent or action is needed to sign necessary documents. Finally, many youth experiencing homelessness lack access to the Social Security card, birth certificate and/or government-issued identification card required to enroll in programs or complete required tax forms. Access to identification is critical to the survival of youth experiencing homelessness. 

These resources look specifically at youth experiencing homelessness who are under the age of 18. This group, particularly if unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, often face the most barriers in obtaining an ID. However, this resource is also valuable for young people over 18 who often face similar obstacles. 

We encourage anyone working with youth between 12 and 24 years of age to reference the appendix for additional, state-specific information. All laws and regulations cited in this document were current as of August 2016. Readers should contact the relevant state agencies to verify requirements before attempting to secure an ID.

  • The State-by-State Summary is designed to serve as a resource for youth experiencing homelessness on their own or those assisting them in understanding individual state requirements for obtaining a valid government-issued photo identification or ID. We have also provided information on obtaining a birth certificate, an overview of the issues related to minors obtaining an ID, and related recommendations for policymakers. 
  • The State-by-State Guide is designed to serve as a resource for youth experiencing homelessness on their own or those assisting them in understanding individual state requirements for obtaining a valid government-issued photo identification or ID.
  • The Non-Driver Identification Requirements is the unabridged listing of all documents accepted in any respective state and includes documents young adults are much more likely to have access to.

Summary

Download the Summary

State-by-State Guide

Download the State-by-State Guide

Non-Driver Identification Requirements

Download the State-by-State Appendix