When living in the U.S you’ll be asked for an ID, maybe just to verify your age.

A passport is useful in these cases, but it’s risky to go everywhere with your passport in your pocket or purse.

In this cases, most people provide a driver’s license when someone asked for the ID; well, if you don’t have a driver’s license, you can get an ID where the license procedures are made.

Besides the most obvious situations that require ID (getting a job, opening a bank account) here are a few situations that you can forget



There are some medicaments, like the ones that contain pseudoephedrine, that are used to produce methamphetamine, this is why the govermment banned over-the-counter sales of cold medicine. If you are sick and want to buy something, you must show your ID when picking up prescriptions.

Getting on a plane

A very important reminder for most people: You will not be able to board a commercial plane without an ID, even if you have your boarding pass or e-ticket.

Having an ID makes things easier, for example, they can make sure that the name on the boarding pass matches the one on your ID.

Reservation calls

If you want to go to the theatre or to watch a movie and you purchase the tickets through  the internet, you will be asked for your ID before the goods are handed over.


Picking up kids

This is very important and it will make you feel more secure about your children’s security. Many schools, camps, etc, asks for ID before releasing a child.

Most regular schools don’t need parents to show IDs because they know them, but in places like camps and other institutions that do not know parents personally, often require ID.

Writing a check

If you write one in a store you will be asked for photo ID that verifies your name and address. The same happens is some occasions when paying with credit or debit card.

Collecting mail and other packages

If you want to pick up a package, you’ll need to show your ID. You may also need to show your street address. (In case you don’t have your current address on the ID, ask them if they will accept another proof of the address, like bills or checks.)

Solo excursions 

This is not a legal requirement, it’s an advice. If you plan to do a solo activity such as skiing, boating, even running, it’s a good idea to have your ID just in case anything happens.

Getting into bars and buying alcohol

Even if you’re Methuselah’s twin, some bars could ask your for your ID. The same happens when you go to a place to buy an alcoholic drink. You can also be asked for ID when buying age-restricted computer games and videos.

It’s unpredictable to know when you will be asked for your ID, the best thing you can do is to prevent and always have it with you, for legal reasons and even for your safety.


Beltran Brito LLP is an immigration law firm representing individuals and businesses around the U.S. and the world with immigration attorneys who are dedicated to assisting clients in all aspects of U.S. immigration and nationality law.

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