September 27, 2023
This comprehensive guide will help you procure a new ID in America. Learn the requirements and application process for a new ID if your ID was lost or damaged in this easy-to-use, step-by-step guide.


Having a valid ID is a crucial part of daily life. It not only confirms someone’s identity, but it also serves as a form of authorization for various activities, such as opening a bank account, obtaining a job, or traveling. Unfortunately, various events, from losing one’s identification to changing one’s legal name, can lead to the need for a new one. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to obtain a new ID, this article will guide you through the process.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Obtain a New ID

The process of acquiring a new ID differs depending on the reason for the replacement and where someone lives. However, these general steps should help you get started:

Researching Local Requirements

The state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is usually the agency responsible for issuing IDs in the United States, so the first step is to locate your local DMV’s website and review their requirements for obtaining a new ID. This information will inform you of the necessary documentation to submit and the costs you should expect. Some DMVs offer appointments that can help expedite the process of acquiring a new ID, meaning it is vital to note if your local DMV requires appointments for services.

Gathering Necessary Documents

To proceed with the application for a new identity card, one has to have some required documents. The papers often required include a certified birth certificate or a passport, Social Security card, and proof of address.

Submitting Your Application

Once you know what documents you need and how much you’ll be paying, you can submit your paperwork personally to your local DMV or mail it to their office if applicable. Depending on the permissible returns of your state, you may receive your ID on the spot, or it may arrive in the mail several weeks later.

Common Reasons Why Someone Might Need a New ID

Some common reasons for needing to obtain a new identification card include:

Name Change

Someone who has recently married or divorced and changed their name will need to have a new ID issued in their new name.

Loss of Old ID

If you have lost your previous ID or had it stolen, you must obtain a new one.

Specific Steps to Take in These Situations

In these scenarios, it’s best to contact the DMV office to inquire about specific steps you need to take to obtain a new ID, such as verification of identification and any forms you will need to complete.

Double-Check Local DMV’s Specific Requirements

Before you set out to solicit a new ID, please double-check any queries or ambiguities with the DMV, either in person, through their website, or over the phone. Ensure you ask about the following areas:


DMV fees vary by jurisdiction, so make sure to check with them to confirm the exact amount you will need to pay.

Forms of Identification Needed

Ensure you are aware of the exact forms of identification you must submit to obtain a new ID so that you can prepare accordingly.

Wait Times

The time needed to process a new ID application varies by locality, so inquire about wait times with your local DMV.

Alternatives to Obtaining a Traditional Government-Issued ID

Traditional government-issued IDs such as driver’s licenses or state ID cards are the most commonly known identification cards. However, other official papers that can be used as identification include:


Passports serve a dual purpose as a travel document as well as a form of identity. A passport is a particularly handy identity document for individuals who spend a significant amount of time outside of the United States.

State ID Card

A state identification card can be used in place of a driver’s license. It’s ideal for those who cannot or prefer not to drive.

Depending on Individual’s Needs and Circumstances

Depending on your circumstances, country of origin, or area of residence, additional identification papers such as national ID cards, resident permits, or green cards may be acceptable substitutes. Ensure that you evaluate all eligibility requirements for various types of identification and present the necessary paperwork to the relevant authorities.

How to Expedite the Process of Getting a New ID

Making An Appointment at the DMV

You can make an appointment to visit the DMV office for your state online or by phone. It is highly recommended to try and secure an appointment to expedite the turn-around time for a new ID.

Coming Prepared with All Necessary Documents

Print out the checklist of requirements to get a new ID from the DMV’s website or call their customer service department so you can make sure you have everything you need before you arrive. It saves you time and makes the process go more efficiently if you have all the documents you require.

Special Considerations for Particular Groups of People

Senior Citizens

Many states provide convenient alternatives to senior citizens who might not require a traditional identification card. Some possible options for seniors include a non-driver identification card or reduced application costs if they already have previous identification.

Foreign Nationals Living in the United States

Individuals who are not United States citizens but living within the country with permission should carry an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Green Card as proof of identity. They should verify eligibility requirements and the documents needed with the USCIS.

What To Do If Your Application for a New ID Is Rejected

How to Appeal the Decision

If your application for a new ID is unsuccessful, you have a right to appeal the decision by submitting a written appeal to the DMV or scheduling an in-person hearing. Contact the DMV for additional information on their appeal procedure.

Finding Alternative Ways to Obtain an ID

If your appeal is unsuccessful or if you do not quality for a standard government-issued identification card, think about alternatives. Some examples could include using a personal emergency response system, credit or debit cards bearing your name, or obtaining a notarized document with your picture that verifies your identity.


Everyone who requires access to services that require identification cards needs to have a valid form of identification. Getting a replacement ID can be stressful, but if you follow the comprehensive instructions described above, you’ll be able to navigate the process efficiently. If there are any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your local DMV office.

Additional Resources for Further Assistance

If you require any additional assistance with obtaining an identification card in your state or area, contact your local DMV or embassy for more details.

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