Several basic forms of identity are needed to re-enter and navigate the world before you. These include birth certificate, social security card, drivers license or non-drivers ID, and – if you are a veteran – a DD214 (Report of Separation). If you are having trouble obtaining identity documents, which are also necessary when you apply for benefits, the Westchester County Department of Social Services (DSS) is the one-stop agency that can help you obtain them; their customer service line is (914) 995-3333.
Tip: Carry a recent bill or other “official” mail containing your current address with you. This, along with a photo ID, can often be used as one form of ID when applying for other identification.
Go to the Rights page if you want to understand the information employers can access when they do a background check, which would include information from your RAP sheet (Record of Arrests and Prosecutions).
Birth and Death Certificates: In Westchester County, birth and death records can be obtained from the local clerk in the village, town or city in which the event being documented, birth or death, took place. For the telephone numbers of local clerks throughout Westchester County, please review this list of Phone Numbers for City, Town and Village Clerks (westchesterclerk.com)
New York State/New York City Resources: In addition to contacting local clerks, or the Westchester County Archives, you may be able to obtain these documents from New York State. The Vital Records Section of the New York State Department of Health files certificates for births, marriages and deaths that occur in New York State outside of New York City and for marriage licenses issued in New York State outside of New York City. Wothin New York City, contact the New York City Health Department.
Also on file are divorce records for all of New York State since 1963. The Vital Records Section provides qualified applicants with certified copies of the certificates associated with these events. Uncertified copies of older certificates are available for genealogy research.
Note: The Office of the Westchester County Clerk does not issue or record birth, marriage or death certificates.
If your driver license or your learner permit is expired for two years or more, you cannot renew your driver license. You must apply for an original license. You must pass the vision test, the written test, and the road test, and complete a pre-licensing course.
The process to apply for a non-commercial driver license in NYS normally includes the following steps:
Apply for a learner permit. Pay the application fee and the driver license fee. Pass the vision test and the written test. Receive your learner permit.
Practice for your road test.
Take a driver education course or a DMV-approved pre-licensing course.
Use your driver education certificate or pre-licensing course certificate to make an appointment for your road test by phone or on-line.
Pass your road test and receive your NYS driver license.
Non-Driver Photo ID Cards
A person of any age who does not have a driver license can apply to the DMV for a non-driver photo ID card. You can apply for a non-driver photo ID card if your NYS driver license is suspended or revoked. A non-driver photo ID card contains the same personal information, photo, signature and special protection against alteration and fraud as a photo driver license.
Identification and Fees
To obtain a Driver License or a Non-Driver ID Card , you must appear at a Motor Vehicle office with proof of name and date of birth. Online renewal is possble in some instances. Complete information on these identity requirements can be found at http://dmv.ny.gov/id-card/prove-identity-and-age and these requirements can change. An eye test is required, which can be done at the Motor Vehicle office.
There is a fee to obtain, replace, or update information on a Driver License or a Non-Driver ID. The fee varies by type of license and age.
The DD-214 Report of Separation is issued upon a military service member’s retirement, separation, or discharge from active-duty military. You need it to gain access to veterans benefits.
To obtain a replacement online through the Veteran’s Administration. You can also go in person to a county Veterans agency for assistance. Complete instructions and any required forms for the DD-214 are listed at this va.gov page.
You can file your discharge papers securely at the Westchester County Clerk’s office (westchesterclerk.com), look under “Services”). To file, bring your original DD-214 to the Legal Division of the Office of the Westchester County Clerk. It will be copied and returned to you immediately. The office is located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Room 330 in White Plains and can be reached by entering through the Richard J. Daronco Courthouse entrance. The office is open Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
You need a Social Security Number (SSN) to work, and it’s used to determine your eligibility for Social Security benefits and certain government services. Many financial institutions, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your number when you open an account.
If you lost your card, you may not need a replacement. In most cases, simply knowing your SSN is enough.
To replace or make changes to your Social Security card, applying online directly at the Social Security Administration site (ssa.gov) is the fastest method. Answer a few questions to see if you can complete your request online, or if you need to finish part or all of your request in-person. Either way, you’ll receive your Social Security card in the mail within 14 days after your application is completed. Note – these services are free.
If you are required to go in-person, make a reservation. You will be directed to one of the four offices in Westchester County (Peekskill, White Plains, New Rochelle, Yonkers).
A criminal record does not prohibit you from obtaining a passport, unless travel outside the United States is prohibited as a condition of your sentencing, probation, or parole. You will need to have several basic identity documents in hand to make an application.