If you are still in the process of applying for asylum or another form of relief in the US, it can sometimes be difficult to get a government-issued photo ID to access different benefits and services. Your Verification of Release (VOR) can serve as one kind of identification card (ID), but if you need an additional type of ID, getting a community ID card may be possible. Luckily, many states and counties across the US are creating alternative forms of IDs available to anyone, regardless of immigration status. These community ID cards do not allow you to drive or travel like a government-issued ID cards, but they can provide you with important benefits within your city, county, and state.
Having an ID card can help you:
- prove your identity and residency (where you live),
- access community activities,
- participate in recreational classes,
- access social services,
- open a bank account, and more.
Click on your state (below) to see if your city or county offers a community ID program:
- DMV (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) and Pennsylvania
- New Jersey
- New York
San Francisco offers the SF City ID to residents who have proof of identification and proof of living in San Francisco (if you are living in a homeless shelter, you can use a letter from your shelter as proof of residency). The SF City ID gives you discounts at certain stores, access to any public library, parks and recreation services (such as sports), banks and credit unions, and more. The ID costs $6 for children 13 years old or younger and $18 for those 14 years old or older. Learn more about the SF City ID and how to apply here.
Oakland offers the Oakland City ID to Oakland residents of all ages. It is a valid form of identification accepted by all city departments and agencies, including the Oakland Police, BART Police, Sheriffs, and other city law enforcement. You can use this ID to apply for a driver’s license, enroll in community college classes, purchase tickets for bus and train transportation, access food banks, open a bank account, access homeless shelters, access medical services, and more. Because of COVID-19, you can only apply for the Oakland ID online via Zoom. It costs $10 for those 17 years old and below, and $15 for those 18 years old and above. You can learn more about how to apply here, and what the requirements are here.
The Richmond City ID is a valid form of identification accepted by all city departments and agencies, including the Richmond Police, BART Police, Sheriffs, and other city law enforcement. You can use this ID to apply for a driver’s license, enroll in community college classes, purchase tickets for bus and train transportation, access food banks, open a bank account, access homeless shelters, access medical services, and more. Because of COVID-19, you can only apply for the Richmond ID online via Zoom. It costs $15 for those 17 years old and below, and $25 for those 18 years old and above. You can learn more about how to apply here, and what the requirements are here.
DMV (DELAWARE, MARYLAND, VIRGINIA) and PENNSYLVANIA
CASA is an organization that offers support and various programs to immigrant families in the states of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. CASA offers a membership card that is accepted as a form of ID and can be used for social services, setup utility services, etc. It costs $35 per year for the membership and access to Casa Maryland’s services, and an extra $5 to receive a photo ID. You can learn more about the various programs CASA offers in different states here, and learn more about the membership and how to apply here.
The city of Philadelphia provides residents aged 13 or older with the PHL City ID, a photo ID that serves as identification, allows you into schools and other city buildings, gives you access to recreation centers, museums, health services, and more. It costs $5 for youth ages 13-17 and $10 for adults ages 18-64. Learn more about the PHL City ID and how to apply here.
The Broward Community ID is a document that helps residents identify themselves to law enforcement, schools, banks, health centers, city departments, and social service agencies. Obtaining this ID will NOT impact your immigration status! To apply for this ID, you must show proof of identity and residency. The ID costs $20 (cash) and you need to show proof of identity and residency. More information about how to apply for this ID can be found here.
The Miami-Dade Community ID is available to all residents of Miami-Dade county. The card may be used in libraries, health centers, social service agencies, and when interacting with law enforcement. To obtain the ID, you must provide a proof of identity and a proof of residency. The card costs $15. To obtain the Miami-Dade Community ID, you must apply through this online portal. To learn more information about the Miami-Dade Community ID, visit the website here.
West Palm Beach County
The Community ID of the Palm Beaches Identification Card is available to all residents of Palm Beach County and provides an ID that can be used when interacting with law enforcement, provides access to health centers, schools, businesses, and more. To obtain the ID, you need to attend an ID drive and bring proof of identity, proof of residency, and $20 to pay for the ID. To learn more about the ID, you can click here, or call the Legal Aid Society at 561-655-8944, extension 146. The next ID drives will be at the following locations and dates:
Mandel Public Library, Auditorium, -3rd Floor, 411 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach
- May 4, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- May 18, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- June 1, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
West Boynton Branch Library, 9451 S Jog Road, Boynton Beach
- May 11, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Lantana Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Road, Lake Worth
- May 25, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
We will update this page with ID drive dates as they are available.
The city of Chicago offers the Chicago CityKey, a photo ID that gives residents access to various city services such as public transit, libraries, services from hospitals and clinics, services from community banks, discounts on recreation and entertainment, and more. Immigration status, housing status, criminal record and gender identity do not matter and will not hurt your ability to get this ID. You can learn more about the CityKey here. You can see which documents are needed to apply here, and how to apply in person or online here.
The Johnson County Community ID Card is available to all residents of the county. With this ID, you can confirm your identity, open a bank account at certain banks, get access to libraries, participate in school and city activities, receive discounts at participating businesses, and more. For minors, the card costs $4 and is valid for two years; For adults the card costs $8 and is valid for four years. Learn more about the benefits of the ID card and how to apply here.
Kansas City plans to offer a municipal ID card for residents soon. We will update this page as information becomes available.
The Newark Municipal ID (NMID) Card Program is a photo identification card for Newark residents who are at least 14 years old. With this ID you can confirm your identity, receive discounts at restaurants, access libraries and museums, access services at hospitals and banks, and more. The card costs $7 for those between 14 and 17 years old, and $15 for those 18 years old and above. You can find the requirements to apply here, and the online application here.
The City of New Brunswick has a City ID program available to residents age 14 and older. These ID cards show your name, date of birth, photograph, address and signature and are valid for two years. Applicants for these ID cards must provide proof of identity and residency, based on requirements described here. The card costs $20 for adults and $7 for seniors, veterans, and children. To apply for the City ID, you need to make an appointment with the Municipal ID Office. Click here for more information about the application process.
City of Perth Amboy
The Perth Amboy City ID program allows Perth Amboy residents to access the city library and other municipal services. All Perth Amboy residents aged 14 and over, regardless of immigration status, are eligible to receive the Perth Amboy City ID Card. The card is also available to people on parole. To make an appointment to get a City ID, call 732-771-2513 or email email@example.com. For more information about required documents, visit the website here.
Any resident of Asbury Park aged 14 or above may apply for the City of Asbury Social Services Identification Card. The card serves as an official ID for you to access any services provided by the city. The card costs $10 for adults and $5 for children, although the fee may be waived depending on circumstances detailed on the website here.
The Mercer County Community ID is available for Mercer County residents ages 5 and up. The card costs $10 for children between the ages of 5 and 17, as well as for residents 65 and up. It costs $15 for ages 18 to 64. To obtain this card you must have proof residence and a proof of identity. To make an appointment for a Community ID, call 609-688-0881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Mercer County Community ID, visit the website here.
New York City
New York City residents who are at least 10 years old can apply for an IDNYC card, which grants you access to all city buildings and services (such as schools, libraries, etc). This ID can also be used as valid identification with the police, allows you to open a bank account, and provides benefits such as discounts on movie tickets, sporting events, fitness clubs, grocery stores, and more. You can also apply for jobs with this ID. You can find general information about IDNYC here, how to apply here, and the required documents to apply here. Please make an appointment at the nearest Enrollment Center or apply online.
The Harris County Enhanced+ Library Card is free a full-service library card and a verified photo ID for Harris County residents. With this card, you can access books, DVDs, other physical materials in the library’s collection, as well as e-books, databases, and other electronic resources at all Harris County Public Library locations. To apply for this card, you need to have proof of identity and residency. Learn more about the card and what you need to apply for it here.
The City of Dallas offers the Enhanced + Library Card, which can be used to as a photo identification card to access books, DVDs, other physical materials in our collection, and electronic resources. In some cases, the ID may be used as a supplement with other documents to prove your identity and residency (depending on the specific organization or entity). To apply, you need to be at least 18 years old, and have proof of identity and residency in Dallas. The ID is free and is available in the following Dallas public libraries:
- J. Erik Jonsson Central Library: 1515 Young St., 75201
- Arcadia Park Branch: 1302 N. Justin Ave., 75211
- Highland Hills Branch: 6200 Bonnie View Rd., 75241
- Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest Branch: 2008 East Kiest Blvd., 75216
- White Rock Hills Branch: 9150 Ferguson Rd., 75228
The Enhanced Library Card is a free San Antonio Public Library Card that residents can use to access all the resources that are available to Library card holders such as books, DVDs, electronic resources (such as e-books, databases, etc.) and more. Learn more about the San Antonio Enhanced Library Card and how to apply for it here.