Home » Living in US » Typical Places that ask your Picture ID in US. Why NOT to use passport.

Typical Places that ask your Picture ID in US. Why NOT to use passport.

I went to pick up a package today at FedEx today and the first thing they asked me was my valid photo Identification.  I gave my Driving license and thought of all the places that ask for valid Picture ID and realized it is good idea to write an article just giving the typical list of places to emphasize the importance of getting State ID or Driving license.

List of places where you will be asked for valid picture ID

When they ask for a picture ID, you can show any of these that have your photo and your date of birth along with signature. Why do you need State ID. Picture ID in US

  • Driving License (from US or International license from your home country)
  • State ID issued by US state Government
  • Passport.

Typical places that ask for Picture ID :

  • Grocery stores ( if you are using Credit Card )
  • Gas stations (when you are buying anything using Credit card)
  • Liquor store.( Even if you do not buy and accompany with others)
  • Dance Clubs and  Bars
  • Mail pick up from FedEx, UPS or any others
  • Public Library (for getting library Card )
  • Casino (even if you do not play)
  • Banks ( if you want to withdraw money or check balance)
  • Airport
  • Any stores where you buy using Credit Card.
  • Fast Food places (if you use credit card)
  • Restaurants (if you use credit card)
  • Any corporate offices ( if you are visiting anyone, for Visitor ID)
  • Coffee shops ( if you use credit card)
  • Renting anything for outdoor Jet Skis, Boats, Canoe, etc
  • Car Rentals ( You need Driver’s license for sure)
  • Any theme parks like Disney, etc for rentals
  • Any outdoor activity like Sky diving, Bunge Jumping, etc

Any place where you use Credit card, you will be asked for your picture ID.  I can keep on writing still more, but you get the idea the importance of having an ID in US. The first thing most people ask is “can I have a look at your picture ID ?”. You better have one when someone asks for it.

Why NOT to carry passport  ?

As I have already mentioned in article why International Students or H1B holders should get State ID, it is a very risky proposition for us to carry passport to all the places listed above. Imagine you going to a Jet Ski place and they asked for picture ID, you give your passport: “ Do you expect the passport not to get wet ?  What if the passport slips and gets into water ? What if you go to bar and lose the passport in Bar after getting drunk ?”.  It is much harder to get a new passport. Also, you will have to get your Visa stamped again if you lose passport. There are so many complexities that can kick in.  You really do not want to get into any of these risks. So, do NOT carry passport and get a State ID or Driver’s license from US state


Other Articles


  1. For Photo ID can I take International Driving licence from India? and use it as photo ID in US? or I need to take Driving Licence from US only?

    • Well, some places do accept international driving license. But, if you plan to live in US for sometime, you should take a local country issued state ID or Driving license.

  2. Actually most credit cards do NOT require an ID, and it is even against the issuer’s ToS for a merchant to ask for an ID if the card is signed. The more you know.

  3. In Washington State, Puget Sound Blood Center requires photo ID to donate blood. Add that to your list. Voting should also require photo ID.

  4. As someone from the US who has traveled a lot in my own country and outside of it for work – I agree about not carrying your passport around. If it gets lost, stolen, or damaged – you will have a hard time getting a replacement.

    One important thing you didn’t add is that a lot of places will NOT accept a passport as valid ID.

    I don’t know why! Even as a US citizen, places in the US will not take my passport as valid ID. Do passports have ages on them? I can’t recall, but maybe that’s the main cause.

    So, I guess the obvious point in that is don’t go to a bar and expect to use your passport as ID. They will not serve you.

    • I lived in the US and never got refused by anywhere for using a photocopy of my passport. it has everything you need on it. The main thing you need is a social security number – that’s way more important.

  5. can u tell me what is better spring or fall?i will complete my btech in may 2011.if i will opt for fall 2011 wouldn’t it be very long? and will there be any visa problems if i take such a long break after btech?some one advised me that fall is better than spring in terms of internships but only considering this fact would it be wise to opt for fall2011?


Leave a Comment