Why you may need a state ID as an expat in the US and how to get it?

As an expat living in the United States, there are many reasons why you may want to consider getting a state ID. Not only can it be useful for everyday activities, but it can also provide a sense of security and ease in navigating the country.

One of the main reasons to get a state ID is for identification purposes. Whether you’re opening a bank account, renting an apartment, or even buying liquor at the store, having a state ID can make the process much smoother and more efficient. It’s also useful for identification when traveling within the United States, as many airlines and other forms of transportation require ID for boarding. If your state ID has the Real ID mark, then you can use it for boarding a plane.

Another reason to get a state ID is for security purposes. In the event of an emergency or situation where you may need assistance, having a state ID can help identify who you are and provide important information to first responders. It can also serve as proof of residence, which can be helpful in a variety of situations.

So, how do you go about getting a state ID as an expat living in the US? Here are some steps you can follow to get a state ID:

  1. Determine if you need a state ID. In most cases, a driver’s license will suffice for identification purposes. However, if you don’t have a driver’s license or need a form of identification that is not tied to your ability to drive, a state ID can be a good option. This is especially relevant to expat as they move to the US.
    • If you think that it will take more than 3-4 months before you can get a driving license, then I generally recommend applying for a state ID so that it’s easier for you to navigate the US.
  2. Gather the necessary documents. To apply for a state ID, you will need to provide proof of your identity, age, and address. This can include documents such as a birth certificate, passport, or social security card. You may also need to provide proof of your current address, such as a utility bill or bank statement.
  3. Find your nearest DMV or state ID issuing office. In most states, state IDs are issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or a similar agency. You can search online for the location of the nearest DMV or state ID issuing office.
  4. Read the DMV (or State ID issuing office) instructions carefully online. For example, in California, you can complete most of the application process online, even uploading the required documentation.
  5. Make an appointment. In many cases, you will need to make an appointment to apply for a state ID. This can help reduce wait times and ensure that you have the necessary time to complete the application process.
  6. When you arrive at the DMV or state ID issuing office, you will need to complete the rest of the application process and/or provide the necessary documents to prove your identity, age, and address.
  7. Have your photo taken (and/or your thumb print). As part of the application process, you will need to have a photo taken for your state ID. This photo will be used to help verify your identity when you use your state ID.
  8. Pay the required fee. In most cases, there is a fee for obtaining a state ID. This fee can vary depending on your state and other factors.
  9. Wait for your state ID to arrive. After you have completed the application process and paid the required fee, your state ID will be processed and mailed to you. This can take several weeks, so be patient and allow enough time for your state ID to arrive.

Last but not least, I recently created a group on Facebook called Asian Expats in the US so that we can share/discuss more tips directly. Feel free to join.

I hope the above is helpful. Good luck!

Chandler

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