Federal and State Identification and Verification Requirements

On this page: Legal Rightsidentification


The federal government requires proof of identity for people to have access to a wide range of federal services. These include enrolling in Medicaid, voting, and boarding an airplane. Many states have followed suit. Thus, people have to obtain government-issued forms of identification. To do so they may need to provide original Social Security cards and birth or naturalization certificates. These new standards and procedures impose a burden on many populations. People may not have access to these documents or to the offices where they are issued. Older individuals, people with low incomes, people from historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups, and people living in rural areas may fall into this group (see also Chapter 1, Government Integrity and Civic Engagement—Voting)


Identification and verification requirements

In this policy: FederalState

Policymakers should:

  • put in place appropriate limits in any identification and verification requirements;
  • remove burdensome and onerous administrative processes;
  • ensure the privacy of security of personal information; and
  • minimize costs to states and individuals.