The Homeless ID Project has been helping people who are homeless or experiencing extreme poverty obtain identification for over 29 years.
Obtaining an Arizona ID or Driver License*
*Homeless ID Project is located in Phoenix, Arizona, information below is based off of Arizona requirements to obtain identification in Arizona. Please contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles if you are not located in Arizona for their requirements.
A state ID is essential for taking care of your basic needs. You need state ID to access services like food stamps, housing, or medical insurance. Without an ID, you are unlikely to be hired for a job or accepted into school. You also run the risk of being arrested or hassled by the police. We encourage everyone to obtain an Arizona ID as soon after you arrive in Arizona as possible.
- I’ve had an Arizona ID or Driver License in the past. How many identifying documents will I need to show before I can have another copy of my ID or Driver License?
None! If you have had an Arizona ID since 1995, but your ID was lost or stolen, the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) will reissue your ID card for $12. You will not need to bring any identification with you since your information and photo will appear in the MVD database. If the last time you had an Arizona ID was before 1995, you will need to start the application process over as though you have never had Arizona ID.
- I’ve never had an Arizona ID before. How do I get one for the first time?
If you’ve never had an Arizona ID, you will need to prove your identification. You will need to show two documents, a primary and a secondary document (both documents can be primary but at least one primary is required).
The MVD lists its Identification Requirements here or you can find further explanation below.
- What is a primary document?
You must have a primary document to obtain an Arizona state ID. The most common primary document is a birth certificate, issued by any state.
If you are Native American or born outside the U.S., the following documents may take the place of a birth certificate: a U.S. certificate of birth abroad; a U.S. passport or passport card; Tribal Certificate of Indian Blood; Tribal or Bureau of Indian Affairs Affidavit of Birth; Foreign Passport with U.S. Visa; Permanent Resident Card; Employment Authorization Card; U.S. Certificate of Naturalization; or a U.S. Certificate of Citizenship.
If you do not have your birth certificate, but you have been in jail, prison, or the military, you may use: a Military DD-214; a Military ID card; an Affidavit of Identification from the Arizona Department of Corrections or the Maricopa County Adult Probation; a Released Offender ID from the Arizona Department of Corrections.
- I have my birth certificate or other primary document. What else can I use to get an Arizona ID?
If you have a primary document (usually a birth certificate), you will need one form of secondary ID.
The most common forms of secondary ID are: a valid driver license or state ID issued by any state; a Social Security Card; a Medical Insurance Card (including AHCCCS ID card); or a Marriage Certificate issued by any state.
Less common forms of secondary ID include: a Certified Letter of Identification for a Ward of the Court; a U.S. Military Dependent Card; a U.S. Armed Forces Driver License; a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Card; a U.S. Department of Justice Inmate ID Card; a Concealed Weapons Permit; a Professional License; a Legal Guardian Certificate; a Motor Vehicle Record; or a Decree from Court of Record about adoption, bankruptcy, divorce, emancipation, legal guardianship, or a name change.
If you are male, you may have been registered for the Selective Service. Check online here. A printed copy of your selective service registry functions as a secondary ID.
If you have worked in the past 10 years, you can obtain a free copy of your W-2 forms by contacting IRS. You will not need any form of identification to have your W-2 forms mailed out as long as you can answer questions about your work history.
- Can I use my CASS ID card or Human Services card ?
Unfortunately, the MVD does not accept the cards issued by the Central Arizona Shelter System (CASS) or the Human Services campus as proof of identity.
- Everything I own was stolen. What do I do?
If you’ve had an Arizona ID recently, since 1995, you can go to the MVD to get a duplicate copy of your Arizona ID without any form of identification. However, if you’ve never had an Arizona ID before, you will first need to obtain a state-issued copy of your birth certificate or other form of primary documentation.
- Will I need any special documents if I changed my name?
If you changed your name because you got married or divorced, you will need to show your marriage license or divorce decree. If you changed your name for any other reason, you will need to show legal proof of the name change, issued by a state or federal court.
- I have all the required forms of ID. What else do I need for a Driver License?
If you’re applying for your first Driver License, you will need to take a vision test, a written knowledge test, and a driving test. If you’re taking a driving test, the MVD requires that you bring a car that has current registration and plates.
If you’ve had a Driver License in another state, you do not need to take the written or driving test and you do not need to bring a car, but you will need to take the vision test and pay a fee.
If you had an Arizona Driver License in the past, but it was revoked, canceled, or expired for over a year, you will need to take a driving test again. You will need to bring a car with current registration and plates.
- How much do Arizona IDs and Driver Licenses cost?
An Arizona state ID is $12. A first-time Arizona Driver License ranges in price based on your age: 16-39 years, $25; 40-44 years, $20; 45-49 years, $15; 50 years and older, $10. If you’ve had an Arizona Driver License before, the reissue fee is $12.
*If you are over 65 or receiving federal disability benefits, your fee will be waived.
- How do I pay for an Arizona ID or Driver License?
If you are homeless or experiencing extreme poverty, you can come to our office for a voucher; we will cover the costs. Otherwise, you can pay with cash, money order, or a check made out to the MVD.
- I have no mailing address. Where should I have the permanent ID sent?
If you have no permanent mailing address, you can pick up your mail from the Human Services Campus post office. The address is: 232 S. 12th Ave Phoenix, AZ 85007.
- How long does the Arizona ID take to arrive?
The MVD will issue a temporary Arizona ID on cardstock the same day you apply. This is valid as a form of ID for 30 days. Your permanent Arizona ID will come in the mail within 2-3 weeks.
- Does the Arizona ID expire?
The Arizona ID does not expire. The only exception is an Arizona ID issued to replace a suspended license, which is valid for 180 days.
Obtaining a Birth Certificate
Unlike a state ID, a birth certificate is not always essential. If you already have an Arizona state ID and a Social Security Card, you should be able to access most of the services you need in Arizona.
- Why might I need a birth certificate?
If you’ve never had an Arizona ID before, you will need a birth certificate as a first step to obtaining a state ID if no other form of primary documentation can be obtained. You may also need a birth certificate when applying for Medical Insurance, like AHCCCS, or a housing program, like UMOM.
- What kind of identifying documents will I need to obtain a birth certificate?
Everything about the process of applying for your birth certificate depends on the state where you were born. If you were born in:
- Kentucky, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, Washington, or West Virginia: you do not need any ID to apply.
- Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin: you need a valid Arizona ID card that lists your current address, where you would like your birth certificate sent.
All other states require a valid state ID, with no address requirements.
- I was born in a state that requires ID to apply for a birth certificate, but I don’t have any ID. What do I do?
If you don’t have a state ID, there may be other solutions, depending on the state where you were born. If you were born in:
Arkansas, Cook County (IL), D.C., Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York City, North Carolina, Oklahoma. We can send a letter on your behalf. Some of these states require documents accompanying the letter; for example, Oklahoma requires a piece of mail in your name, Florida asks for any document with your name on it, and Mississippi wants a copy of your Human Services ID.
Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York City, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, or Wyoming: We can notarize the application if you can find someone with a valid state ID who can attest to your identity. A few states have odd exceptions. Georgia allows an Employee ID. Idaho will take a DOC ID. Illinois (except Cook County) will accept two forms of non-state ID. Pennsylvania will take a letter from a case manager at a shelter. New York (except New York City) requires two letters sent to the same address within 6 months.
For all other states, there is no currently accepted alternative to a valid state ID. We will work with you on a case-by-case basis and do our best to find a solution.
- My children need their birth certificates. Can I apply for them?
Yes, you can apply for your child’s birth certificate if you are the parent ( name must be on birth certificate) or legal guardian. The same identification rules apply as if you were requesting a copy of your own birth certificate; you will need a copy of your state ID or an accepted alternative, depending on the state.
- I am worried about my birth certificate being lost or stolen. What should I do?
We strongly encourage you to store your birth certificate in our office. We have a secure, fire-proof safe where you may store your birth certificate, Social Security card, or State ID to prevent loss, theft, or damage. You can retrieve your documents at any time during normal business hours, without waiting in line