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.
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 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 410−591−6710 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
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.
Born in another state or territory
Born in another country
If you were born in another country: See the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information.
Social Security Number test
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.