What if you lost all your ID?
August 22, 2004 3:18 PM   Subscribe

If you were somehow stupid enough to lose every piece of identification you had--driver's license, green card, social security card, foreign passport and birth certificate, student ID, everything--how would you go about starting to recover it? You seem to need two pieces of ID (or at least one) to get any given ID replaced.
posted by Jeanne to Law & Government (10 answers total)
Birth (and marriage, divorce and death) certificates are held by the government and they'll send you a new copy if you request one. Around here you just have to go to Town Hall, but there's a list of addresses for "Vital Records Offices" here.
posted by Aaorn at 3:33 PM on August 22, 2004

Old paycheck stubs, or any legal correspondance/billing, can also help.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:41 PM on August 22, 2004

I almost forgot: a student parking permit, as well as any transcripts or registration info can help you get your school ID back.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:44 PM on August 22, 2004

I asked a similar question about a month ago.

To get a new drivers license after I moved, I needed a birth certificate. To get a birth certificate, I needed a drivers license with my current address.

To get a birth certificate, my mother had to request one for me. Helluva thing for a 45 year old to go through.
posted by mischief at 4:21 PM on August 22, 2004

If you're just anticipating, go get one of those Paladin Press survivalist books on how to create a second identity, against the day you need to drop your first one like a centipede. (Theory is, it may help you recreate first just as well as invent and document second.)
posted by jfuller at 5:36 PM on August 22, 2004

Start by getting your birth certificate -- usually just $20-ish and a quick trip down to the department of records or department of health, if you live in or near where you were born -- and SS card replaced. With those two items, you should be able to get state DMV identification, with which you can get nearly all other credentials.

I've had to do this. Twice. I have to do most of it again this coming week, having lost my wallet.
posted by majick at 6:41 PM on August 22, 2004

However, if you're a foreign national -- I didn't catch that mention of a green card on the first reading -- you're probably royally screwed. Check in with an embassy and see if they have any advice.
posted by majick at 6:44 PM on August 22, 2004

Response by poster: Not just anticipating--but I'm in the middle of moving and it turned out that my purse containing all my ID was not stolen but merely misplaced. Whew.

In case any other Canadians find themselves in this predicament: You can get a birth certificate replaced with just your relevant info and a professional who will certify that you're who you say you are. With a birth certificate, you can get a passport replaced, and work from there.

But considering the money and waiting involved, I'd say "royally screwed" would have been a pretty good assessment.
posted by Jeanne at 4:18 AM on August 23, 2004

mischief, i posted an answer in that thread - pointed to the vitalrecords website aaorn linked to above. you can order certified copies of any of your own personal records online. all i had to do was check a box stating it was for me, and that i certified that i was in fact myself.

as long as you have a computer, an address and a credit card, you can get the birth/marriage cert online. with a week or two wait, of course.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:42 AM on August 23, 2004

Just as a note, lessons learned from experience, to avoid this from happening it's good to store your birth certificate, passport and ss card(US) in a "safe place", i.e. not your wallet or your parent's place. There's no need for that stuff to be out in everyday life (in the US anyway, and except for the passport if you are traveling), and parents can be much more unreliable with stuff they put "somewhere" 30 years ago than you would like. Also, when getting a copy of the birth certificate, get 2 if it's allowed and put in different places. I have one in a closet briefcase with my baptismal certificate (which can apparently substitute if necessary) and one in my "important stuff" folder with old tax records, GRE results, diplomas and things that don't get thrown out.
posted by dness2 at 11:16 AM on August 23, 2004

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