You need current, valid identification to make your navigation through social services, job interviews, and reentry a much smoother process. The three main forms/pieces of identification you will need are:
Keep Your Documents Safe
Obtaining these documents is not always easy or inexpensive. Once you have these documents, keep them safe! Carry your State photo ID with you at all times in a wallet or purse. Keep your birth certificate and Social Security card information in a safe place at your home or with a trusted relative or friend. Never loan out your identification to anyone else.
Birth Certificate ($21.50 - cash, check, or money order)
If you do not have money to pay for your birth certificate, you may request assistance from the Joint Organization for Inner City Needs (JOIN) at 578 E Main St, Columbus, Ohio 43215; phone 614.241.2531 or 614.241.2530. Office hours are 10a-11:30a and 1p-2p, Monday through Friday. If you have a probation or parole officer, or if you are working with any social service agency, ask your PO or caseworker for a referral letter.
You can obtain a copy of your birth certificate - if you were born in Ohio - by walking in to the Ohio Department of Health Office of Vital Statistics. The office is located at 225 Neilston Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215; phone: 614.466.2531. Office hours are 8a-5p, Monday through Friday. The office is closed on state holidays. Turn around for walk-in clients is the same day, as long as you are there before 4:30p.
You may visit this ODH office online and order your birth certificate online or print off a form to mail in. Turnaround time for online or mail orders is TWO TO THREE WEEKS. If you need your birth certificate, it is best to visit the Neilston St location and do it in person.
If you were not born in Ohio, you will have to request a copy of your birth certificate from the state or country in which you were born.
Social Security Card (Free)
You can obtain a printout of your Social Security card and number from the Social Security Administration, 200 N High St, Rm 225, Columbus, Ohio 43215; phone 866.954.1723. Office hours are 8a-4p, Monday through Friday, closed holidays. Call 800.772.1213 to find other SSA locations. Take your birth certificate with you, plus as many other forms of identification and proof of residence that you have. Ask to get a print-out of your Social Security information - you will receive your duplicate card in the mail at a later date.
You may visit the Social Security Administration online where you may read about the documentation needed, fill out the form SS-5 but you will still need to print out the SS-5 and go to the Social Security Administration office in person.
State of Ohio Photo ID ($8.50 - cash or check)
If you do not have money to pay for your State of Ohio photo ID card or birth certificate (Ohio born residents only), you may request assistance from Stone Village Church, 139 E. 2nd Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201 (at the corner of 2nd Ave and Summit Street); phone 614-579-5493. The Church provides 15 free vouchers per week, distributed first-come, first-served at 9:00am on Wednesdays. They recommend that you arrive to get in line by 8:30am. The vouchers are only redeemable at the BMV registrar located at 1583 Alum Creek Drive, Columbus, OH 43209 (614) 752-7600.
For additional information on Identification vouchers and birth certificates contact Rev Wooden at 614-579-5493 or visit their website.
You can obtain a photo ID card, which is not the same as a driver's license and can be issued even if your driving privileges are suspended or revoked. These photo ID cards are available at any Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles local Deputy Registrar License Agency. The main BMV registrar's office, and the one where the Stone Village Church vouchers are accepted is at 1583 Alum Creek Drive, Columbus, OH 43209 phone (614) 752-7600. Office hours are 8am-8:30pm, Monday through Friday, closed holidays. You can find other locations online at the BMV website.
Take your birth certificate and Social Security card or print-out with you. If you have been recently released from an Ohio prison, you may use your ODRC Release Identification Card to obtain a State photo ID.