Government IDs

Getting Government IDs in Maryland

As a return­ing cit­izen, you’ll need a gov­ern­ment-issued ID to work, vote, drive, apply for loans and much more. In Mary­land, the Motor Vehicle Admin­is­tra­tion issues IDs and driver’s licenses. 

You may have received some of the doc­u­ments needed for an ID while incar­cer­ated. Below is a chart of the vari­ous doc­u­ments that you will need to obtain an ID and/​or apply for a job. 


Birth Cer­ti­fic­ate

Your birth cer­ti­fic­ate is proof of where and when you were born. You can use it to prove you are a cit­izen when apply­ing for oth­er Gov­ern­ment IDs.


Driver’s License or Mary­land Iden­ti­fic­a­tion Card

A card with your pic­ture, name, age, and address. This can be used to prove your iden­tity and age, includ­ing in emer­gency situations.


Social Secur­ity Number

A unique 9 digit num­ber that you will need to access jobs and bene­fits, like health care and retire­ment funds.

For help get­ting a birth cer­ti­fic­ate, social secur­ity card or Mary­land ID.

Liv­ing Classrooms

Liv­ing Classrooms assists with obtain­ing birth cer­ti­fic­ates and social secur­ity cards, which can be taken to the MVA to get an ID. ID clin­ics are sched­uled every month at 1100 East Fay­ette Street. Call 4105916710 to make an appoint­ment at the next sched­uled clin­ic.


Health­care for the Homeless

Health­care for the Home­less can also assist with iden­ti­fic­a­tion doc­u­ments. To get help, go to Health­care for the Home­less at 421 Fall­sway, Bal­timore, Mary­land. After you registered there, you will meet with a case man­ager who can help you obtain these import­ant documents.


Below are the steps to get­ting a birth cer­ti­fic­ate, gov­ern­ment issued ID, a Social Secur­ity Replace­ment Card or a Social Secur­ity Number 

Gov id birthcert

Birth Cer­ti­fic­ate

Birth Cer­ti­fic­ate: This doc­u­ment is required to get a gov­ern­ment-issued ID so if you don’t have one, this should be your first step.

Apply through the Divi­sion of Vital Records. Two forms of ID are required and one must have a cur­rent address. Doc­u­ments that may be used include a recent pay stub, cur­rent bank state­ment, a let­ter from a gov­ern­ment agency request­ing a vital record, lease/​rental agree­ment, util­ity bill with cur­rent address, copy of income tax return/​W‑2 form. 


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Born in anoth­er state or territory

If you were born in anoth­er state or ter­rit­ory: Apply to your birth state’s Divi­sion of Vital Records (all linked here).

Born in anoth­er country

If you were born in anoth­er coun­try: See the US Cit­izen­ship and Immig­ra­tion Ser­vices web­site for more inform­a­tion on how to apply for a social secur­ity number.

Social Secur­ity Number

Gen­er­al inform­a­tion: Proof of your social secur­ity num­ber (SSN) is needed to get a gov­ern­ment issued ID. Accept­able proof of a SSN is the card that was issued when you (or your par­ents) received your SSN, a W‑2 form with the com­plete SSN lis­ted, a pay stub issued with­in three months with full SSN and your name, or a 1099- form with your name and full SSN. A W‑2 form is the doc­u­ment an employ­er sends to employ­ees and the Intern­al Rev­en­ue Ser­vice (IRS) at the end of the year that shows how much you were paid. A 1099 form is one of sev­er­al IRS tax forms used by someone who pays you for work but was not your employ­er. For example, if you did work under a contract.

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Gov id social

If you have a social secur­ity num­ber but not a social secur­ity card or any oth­er accept­able proof of your social secur­ity num­ber. If you were issued a SSN earli­er in life, you can request a duplic­ate social secur­ity card to apply for a gov­ern­ment issued ID. You can also vis­it a Social Secur­ity Office in per­son. If you were incar­cer­ated, you will need to bring the Con­tinu­ity of Care form (DPSCSFORM130 – 237aR) from your med­ic­al clear­ance. You should have received it in your release envel­ope. This is the only doc­u­ment issued by DPSCS that the SSA will accept as proof of iden­tity. The SSA will not accept your Release Cer­ti­fic­ate or DPSCS ID.

If you don’t have a social secur­ity num­ber. If you don’t have a social secur­ity num­ber, you will need to make an appoint­ment with the Social Secur­ity Admin­is­tra­tion office nearest you for an inter­view. This is because you will have to prove that you were nev­er issued a social secur­ity num­ber. Read this for more inform­a­tion about this inter­view and the inform­a­tion you will need to provide. For Social Secur­ity Office loc­a­tions.

Assum­ing you can prove you were nev­er issued a social secur­ity num­ber, to obtain one you will need to have proof of cit­izen­ship and age (like your birth cer­ti­fic­ate) and proof of your iden­tity (a cur­rent gov­ern­ment issued ID, employ­ee ID card, offi­cial school record, U.S. Mil­it­ary ID card with date of birth and prefer­ably a recent photo). You can then apply using the steps on the Social Secur­ity Admin­is­tra­tion web­site. You can also vis­it a Social Secur­ity Office in person.

Gov id license

Driver’s License or Mary­land ID Card

Driver’s License or Mary­land ID Card: You can apply for a Mary­land ID Card or Driver’s License through the MVA web­site. You usu­ally need your birth cer­ti­fic­ate, social secur­ity num­ber (a cur­rent pay stub with social secur­ity num­ber and your full name), and proof of res­id­ency (such as a util­ity bill or offi­cial mail addressed to you) to apply. There is an excep­tion for return­ing cit­izens. Res­id­ency can be proven with: A let­ter from a nurs­ing home, home­less shel­ter, trans­ition­al ser­vice pro­vider, or half-way house veri­fy­ing that you receive mail there. Or an Order of Parole, Order of Man­dat­ory release, or a state­ment signed with­in the applic­a­tion, by a Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety Cor­rec­tion­al Safety or Fed­er­al Bur­eau of Pris­ons official. 

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What you need
  • Birth Cer­ti­fic­ate
  • Social Secur­ity num­ber (a cur­rent pay stub with social secur­ity num­ber and your full name)
  • Proof of res­id­ency (such as a util­ity bill or offi­cial mail addressed to you)
Addi­tion­al doc­u­ments (for Return­ing Citizens)
  • Res­id­ency Let­ter (Veri­fy­ing that you receive mail there): nurs­ing home, home­less shel­ter, trans­ition­al ser­vice pro­vider, or half-way house
  • Order of Parole
  • Order of Man­dat­ory release or state­ment signed with­in the applic­a­tion by a Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety Cor­rec­tion­al Safety (DPSCS) or Fed­er­al Bur­eau of Pris­ons official.