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27 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Great idea.

We do basically have one, it’s called a passport. It’s only good for citizens though. We also have social security cards. Probably you could argue SS cards should have a photo.

A national driver’s license is another question related to this. I like that idea too.

zenvelo's avatar

SS is not for identity. Even says so on mine (issued in 1963).

Nope, let each state have it’s own. And nothing mandatory. You are not required to carry identification in the United States.

Don’t need Donald Trump or Rafael Cruz saying “show me your papers.”

rojo's avatar

Gonna go with @zenvelo on this one. Constitution doesn’t grant this power to the feds so it is up to the states.

Buttonstc's avatar

If what im currently going through on a state level is any indication, its a spectacularly bad idea.

The state of Mi. will not issue me a drivers license without several forms of ID which must match with either a birth certificate or passport.

I never had a passport and the first name on my birth certificate does not match any other piece of ID ive had since Kindergarten.

Why? Because my mother changed her mind after i was born, did not bother changing the bc and enrolled me in school with the new name. (Apparently back then a bc was not required to register a child in school)

I knew nothing about this until adulthood, after i had already gotten my SS card and drivers license.

But nobody ever required me to produce a birth certificate for any reason whatsoever.

At least not until after a bunch of jihadists decided to fly planes into buildings. All of a sudden everybody has to RE-prove the identity they’ve had all their life. And Mi. has decided to make the bc paramount. Its required even tho it matches nothing else in my entire life.

Im certain I’m not the only one in this position. but can you imagine the potential chaos if this was the pokicy at a National level?

Many people could end up in permanent limbo with no solution. Thats scary.

So, using the scenario proposed by @zenvelo, exactly what should happen to a person with no papers? Jail, deportation (even tho a native born citizen)? What woukd the Feds then do with people unable to prive their identity?

No thanks on a National ID card for me. Im having enough problems as is just on a state level.

JLeslie's avatar

A national ID card doesn’t necessarily mean we would get rid of state ID cards.

Right now there is something going on with the TSA not accepting, or won’t be accepting, certain state driver’s licenses, because those states aren’t meeting some sort of standard. It would affect domestic flying too.

@Buttonstc Why would a national ID card be any stricter than a passport? I’m sure you could get a passport, it just would be a little more work for you probably.

First name is pretty easy to fix legally in most states if you ever want to do it. In a way you already have done it. You just have an AKA. I assume you list it on all legal documents that ask if you have an AKA.

flutherother's avatar

This was Britain’s experience with national ID cards:

July 2002: Plans unveiled
November 2004: ID cards bill
March 2006: Act becomes law
November 2009: Cards available
May 2010: Scheme scrapped.

The 15,000 people who voluntarily paid £30 for a card since the 2009 roll out in Manchester will not get a refund. Ms May said ID card holders would at least have a “souvenir” of the scheme

rojo's avatar

In a situation similar to what @Buttonstc had to endure; It took my MIL four (4) trips to the DPS office to get an ID. She is 92 this year, no longer drives, and needed some form of identification.

The first time she got to the office at 3 pm, got her ticket and sat down next in the waiting area. She got to talking to them man next to her who told her he had been there since 8:30 that morning and had yet to get to speak to someone. She waited ‘till 4:45 then left. In that hour and 15 minutes exactly one person was called from the waiting area.
The second time she got there much earlier and mid week and actually got to talk to someone that afternoon only to be told her old expired drivers license, issued by the same state mind you, did not count as a form of ID necessary to prove who she was and that she would need to bring a copy of her birth certificate and/or a passport. She has not traveled outside the US in decades and no longer had a passport and the old copy of her birth certificate she had once had could no longer be found, so she had to figure out how to get a copy of her birth certificate.
A couple of weeks later, after acquiring a copy of her birth certificate she went back, waited several hours only to be told that it had to be notarized.
She got it notarized and went back, waited most of the day and finally got her ID but they would not list the two addresses she wanted on it (she splits her time during the year between two towns). They insisted that they could only list one because they were in separate jurisdictions. She thinks they told her that it would be illegal for her to get a second ID with the other address on it but was not clear on this (She is 92).
Now I realize that the ID laws in Texas have been changed in order to suppress voter turnout and the more difficult you make it, the fewer that are going to jump through the all the hoops and they are chronically understaffed evidently, but what she had to go through was rather inane.

dxs's avatar

As a requirement? No.
As an option? Yes, please!

I’m having trouble providing identity to people because I don’t have a valid driver’s license. I mean, some people I show it to don’t care enough and just take it anyway any no more is said. In another case, I’ve been denied a job because that was the only form of identification they accepted. I go to a public state school, so the ID they gave me is issued by the state, so that should be legal as well. But people are so hesitant to accept that one also.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

If you want to fly in the USA the TSA requires a passport from these states and terrritories:
New Jersey
New Mexico
South Carolina
Washington state
Puerto Rico
the U.S. Virgin Islands

The state/territory issued ID does not comply with the Federal ID for flying.
The above is as of January 4, 2016.

ibstubro's avatar

Do you have a state ID issued through the Driver’s License bureau, @dxs? It requires the same information to obtain as a Driver’s License, and is just as legal.

ibstubro's avatar

Can your “Source”: that, @Tropical_Willie.

I’m not doubting, I just don’t want to wade in nooz until I find it.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Here you go, some of the states have an extensions:


Department of Homeland full list

ragingloli's avatar

Seems like you already have too many problems because you do not have one.
Not being allowed to do something because some agency from some state does not accept a document from another state.
Being barred from voting because lawmakers deliberately exclude certain documents from being valid.
Just have a mandatory national ID for everyone and force every agency in every state to accept it as valid for everything.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m wondering how difficult it might be to make anonymous reports against our various Senators and Representatives (en masse, of course, because just one report would seem like a solitary crackpot) to get a great number of them added to the No-Fly List.

It might not work, but it sounds like a fun enterprise, anyway. Maybe there’s already an app for that?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@CWOTUS I think it might be in the Apple App Store now, Android will be coming out of February 29th.

si3tech's avatar

What do you think about biometric identification, such as iris scanning? It cannot be falsified. It is definite. Non invasive and and definitive.

dxs's avatar

@ibstubro No, but I could look into that. I don’t like the whole notion of “I’m a country member!” that the national I.D. portrays. It’s the grounds for more and more exclusion and separation of peoples.

ibstubro's avatar

You should be able to get an ID issued by the Driver’s License bureau that requires the same ID to obtain as the DL, @dxs.

I think national IDs are inevitable, but I’m hoping the requirement isn’t within my lifetime.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo In FL you can make an appointment. None of that waiting ridiculousness is necessary.

Buttonstc's avatar


I have never signed (or even SEEN ) any document with AKA on it. Perhaps its common among the Hollywood set of actors for whom stage names are common, but i dont live in that world.

Im glad youre so sure that a passport would solve everything but that requires a birth certificate also. So that puts me back to the original problem, a primary document with a name on it that does not match ANY of my other ID in my real world life (SScard, bank accounts, previous drivers license. etc. ) Mi. requires several forms of ID which must all match the primary source (either bc or passport)

And I’ve previously checked on a name change possibility. It matters not whether its first or last name. The cost in Mi. is $500.00. Need i state the obvious; thats riduculous (even if i did happen to have a spare $500 just hanging around, which I dont.)

Im going to attempt to get some free advice from a lawyer but im not all that optimistic about it.

You asked why a National ID would be any worse than the current situation.
If this draconian mess were on a national level, there would not be a single state in the whole country without a bc requirement for a drivers license that I could potentially move to.

Right now, not EVERY state is being as solely focused on a bc as much as Mi. is.

Im assuming theyre aware that birth certificates can be forged also (as anybody familiar with The Day of the Jackal knows.) It may be a work of fiction, but Forsythe did his homework. The scenario he presents for forgery is not far fetched at all. Its based upon fact.

Does Mi. really think that terrorists are incapable of forging birth certificates? A bunch of bureaucrats decided that they needed to “get tough” on terrorism and the bc would be their u deviating standard no matter who else gets harmed in the process.

The Israelis take a far more overarching and comprehensive approach to this and their system makes a whole lot more sense. I think it’s obvious that they really know what they’re doing. When was the last time any of their planes got hijacke?

I forget his name now but I saw an interview with a former head of security who described how they do things. He also said that he volunteered to be a consultant to USA officials. Take a guess whether anybody took him up in the offer.

That would make way too much sense now, wouldn’t it?

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc I have to put my AKA on documents. The forms that come to mind are when buying a house or starting a job. I don’t know if it’s there all the time, or some of the time, I just don’t remember. The majority of married women have AKA’s.

I think a judge would understand your predicament if you wanted to bother to make your name problem officially legit. My FIL two years ago finally made his real last name legit in America, when almost everything was in his birth certificate name on legal documents, because the person recording his surname when he was born spelled it incorrectly. His siblings parents and children spelled it one way, and he had it the “wrong” way on his license, passport, green card, house, but not his marriage certificate, so his wife and kids all had it spelled correctly.

Buttonstc's avatar

Well a judge could understand but the MV bureau doesnt ( or doesnt want to)

I doubt i could just walk into a random court to find a judge willing to spare some time for free. Im assuming thats why the fee to appear before a judge for a name change is $500.

To be perfectly honest i was downright shocked when i inquired about what would be entailed in getting a name change and they told me thats what it woukd cost. I was expecting something in the $40–50 range since its pretty much mostly a matter of paperwork.

I assume that varies by state or did your FIL have to pay a similarly large fee?

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc I don’t think the fees were quite that high in FL. For some reason I have $300 in my head. I might be wrong.

The judge is the whole thing. The judge will sign off on you having both names, making both names valid and connected to the same person. I only suggest doing it if you actually have trouble flying or getting government ID’s. Otherwise, why bother?

My birth certificate is Leslie Maiden. My ID’s are Leslie Married. What connects the dots is my SS number has both names, and I can show my marriage license (wherever the heck that is).

If I show my birth certificate it doesn’t agree with my license, just like you. Just like a huge number of women. Women can show their marriage certificate, you will be able to show the document from the judge if you apply for a passport.

All your ID are in the correct name, so you don’t have to do or pay anything once you get the judge to sign off. My FIL had to pay a few to several hundred to get his green card changed and some other ID’s.

georgeob1's avatar

I believe we in effect already have a national ID card or, more accurately, a rough equivalent of one – that is our Social Security Cards. One’s SSAN is his/her ID number on most government and financial records already. Thus the debate is rather pointless. We lack only the physical fact of such cards and the additional uses to which they could be put, including one’s residency status here , i.e. citizen, temporary visa, etc.

si3tech's avatar

Biological identification IE: retinal scan or equivalent which can NOT be duplicated. ONLY secure way to ID.

JLeslie's avatar

@georgeob1 Except everyone is afraid to carry their SS card. I think I have had it in my wallet 5 times in 40 years, and the majority of those 5 I was annoyed someone was requiring me to have it when I did have it.

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