A Rhode Island state ID card is a valid form of photo identification for residents who cannot drive or simply prefer not to. A valid photo DMV ID card is required to perform many tasks, such as banking, applying for utilities or gaining access to events. Many people use a driver’s license for these identification purposes. An official ID fulfills these needs but does not provide any type of driving privilege. However, this also means that applicants are not required to take driving tests.

While an RI ID card serves many purposes, new applicants may be better off applying for a REAL ID card instead. A REAL ID card is required for air travel and other federal identification purposes, as explained below. Continue reading to learn about obtaining a state ID or REAL ID card in Rhode Island, and find out what supporting documents you must provide at the time of application.

Rhode Island DMV ID Requirements

Rhode Island DMV state ID requirements are significantly more flexible than the requirements to obtain a driver’s license. You must be a resident of Rhode Island to apply for a photo identification card. Non-citizens may obtain an ID card in RI, but they will need to bring all requested supporting documents to the DMV office for review.

To fulfill the state’s ID card requirements, you may not be in possession of a valid driver’s license at the time of application. If you have a driver’s license, it must be expired or you must surrender the document before you can get an ID. This applies whether the license was issued by Rhode Island or another state or authority.

Getting an ID Card in Rhode Island

What do you need to get a state ID in Rhode Island? In most instances, all you have to do is provide proof that verifies your identity and state residency. This is accomplished by providing three types of identifying documents requested by the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Documents required for state ID in RI include:

  • One valid identity document, such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport or foreign passport.
  • A Social Security card. If you do not have a Social Security card, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) before applying for a Rhode Island ID.
  • Two proofs of state residency. These may include a utility bill, lease agreement, bank statement or payroll check. Residency documents must be dated within the most recent 60 days and clearly state your current address.

For a complete list of the documents needed for state ID applicants, see the Application for License, Identification Card and Permit form below. Note that RI DMV does not accept an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or card as a proof of identity or signature.

You may pay the DMV ID card fee by cash, money order or major credit card. RI DMV accepts VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards, but it does not accept checks for state identification cards. Note that if your total transaction is $64 or over, the DMV adds a 2.35 percent service fee that goes to the third-party provider, Forte Payment Systems.

How to Get a DMV ID Card in Rhode Island

A DMV state ID in Rhode Island must be obtained in person at a DMV branch office. Simply visit your nearest DMV office during normal business hours and bring your supporting documents as well as your fee payment. Sign and complete the application, have your photo taken and pay the applicable fee.

Applicants wondering where to get a state ID in Rhode Island can save time by completing the license and ID card application at home. However, all applicants must complete the transaction at the DMV. You cannot get ID online in RI, even though the state offers online drivers license renewals.

REAL ID Cards in Rhode Island

A REAL ID card is an identification document that complies with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. This law established stronger security standards for state-issued ID cards and driver’s licenses. REAL ID is an optional program in Rhode Island. However, you may want to apply for REAL ID before these stricter identification requirements begin on October 1, 2020.

At that time, you will need a REAL ID or another similar document for boarding commercial aircraft, entering nuclear power plants and accessing federal facilities, including military bases. You can tell if your current ID card is REAL ID-compliant by looking for a white star on a gold circle in the upper right corner of your card. Non-compliant ID cards will be labeled as such.

The documents required for REAL ID are the same as the documents outlined above for a Rhode Island state ID. The fee is also the same, and you must apply in person at a RI DMV office. Even if you have had an ID card or driver’s license in RI for many years, you must provide new documents to upgrade your credential to REAL ID standards.

How to Renew or Replace a State ID in Rhode Island

If you need to replace a lost ID card or renew an expiring document, you must do so in person at a DMV branch office. A duplicate or renewed ID is available by completing the application and paying a replacement or renewal fee. Members of the American Automobile Association (AAA) may be able to renew Rhode Island state ID cards at a local AAA office.

DMV ID Costs in Rhode Island

“How much does an ID cost in Rhode Island?” is probably your next question after finding out how to apply for one. The DMV ID cost in RI is $26.50, but you can get an ID card at no charge if you are age 59 or older.

Note that the state charges the same $26.50 fee every time you need to replace, renew or update your ID.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.