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Proof of identity is necessary for numerous activities when released. Understanding the different forms and when they are required will help you as you go to apply for different services, housing or jobs.

The Center for Disease Control has a web page that lists where to go in every state for vital records including birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates:

Birth Certificates

A certified (official) birth certificate is one of the most important document you can have. It is often required when applying for a State ID, driver’s license, marriage license, passport, school enrollment, or to access other benefits.  A certified birth certificate will generally have a raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal. Non-certified copies are not acceptable for legal purposes.

Write or visit the vital statistics office in the state, city or county where you were born. Often these offices will be part of the health department, but not always. You can call your local library to find locate information for the city, county or state you need or try searching for "Get a copy of a birth certificate" and the name of the city and state where you were born.

County and local offices usually process requests quicker than the state offices. The fastest way to obtain a birth certificate is in person (same-day).  If you request it by mail, it may take 3-8 weeks from the time the request is received. Some offices may allow requests by phone with a credit card.

Services on the Internet such as can expedite delivery (7-10 business days) and can help you get out-of-state birth certificates, but you must pay by credit card and the cost is higher.

Be prepared with the following information to get your birth certificate:

• Your full name and your gender (sex)

• Your father’s full name (if available)

• Your mother’s maiden name

• Your month, day and year of birth

• Place of birth (city/county/state; name of hospital, if known)

• Telephone number

• Address where it will be sent (if mailed)

• Notarized sworn statement (California only)

• Photocopy of picture I.D. if necessary 


 Social Security Number / Card

A Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, open a bank account, get credit, collect certain benefits and receive some other government services.

If you have never applied for a Social Security number before and you are age 12 or older, you must apply in person at a branch office. If you have a Social Security number, and you just need a replacement card, you can do this by mail or in person.

This service is free, but you will need certain ORIGINAL documents (or copies “certified by the custodian of record”). The documents you will need depend on your status and what you are requesting. Call or visit the website before you apply so that you know exactly what documents you need. A copy of the application is available on the Social Security website.

For information and the number of a branch near you contact:

US Social Security Administration                                              800-772-1213     

Click here for the documents you need to get a drivers license or state id.

Drivers License

If you had a license prior to your sentence you may be eligible to reinstate your license. A $125 reinstatement fee may be charged to reactivate your license. You may also owe Driver Responsibility Fees if you have obtained 7 points or more on your driving record for infractions.

If your traffic infractions occurred before  October 2nd, 2003 you may be exempt from Drivers Responsibility Fee.

To verify if you owe Driver Responsibility Fees call:

Michigan Department of Treasury at  (517) 636-5240

For more information on getting your license back visit:,4670,7-127-1627_8665_9074---,00.html

You can apply for your drivers license at any Secretary of State office.  Click to find the nearest Secretary of State office

You may able be required to take a Drivers Skills Test. You can get a free study guide at any Secretary of State office or click to read the Drivers Skill Test Study Guide


State ID

If you do not have a valid driver’s license, you can apply for a State ID Card. There are two forms of a State ID — temporary and permanent. If you have a suspended driver’s license and you plan on driving again, ask for a temporary ID. If you get a permanent ID, you’ll have to retake the exam if you want to drive again. An application for a permanent State ID will cancel out your driver’s license. Make sure you know the status of your driver’s license before you apply for a State ID.

If you have a Release Identification  Card (see below), you can use this as the only form of ID needed to obtain a State ID. If you do not have that, you must have two documents to obtain a State ID: one that verifies your name and birth date (like a certified birth certificate) and another that proves your Social Security Number (such as a Social Security Card). Several forms of documents are acceptable. Visit the Web site or call for a list of acceptable documents.