Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants are estimated to live in New Jersey. These immigrants make critical contributions to our state, including an estimated $476 million in state and local taxes per year, but often live in fear and face barriers to meeting their families’ basic needs as a result of a lack of identification. Undocumented New Jerseyans have no valid government ID to present to the police, cannot sign leases or open bank accounts, face barriers to entering their children’s schools, and fear contact with government, even if they qualify for particular benefits or need to report a crime. Undocumented immigrants who are paid by their employers in cash are often victims of crime because they cannot open bank accounts to keep their wages safe. Cities and counties across the United States have implemented successful municipal ID programs, including New Haven, CT, New York City, and Los Angeles. In New Jersey, Newark and Roselle passed ordinances and created programs to provide government issued identification cards to city residents regardless of immigration status. Here is some information about municipal identification cards in New Jersey.
- Newark Municipal IDs
- Roselle Municipal IDs (Roselle Municipal ID cards will be issued out of the Roselle Public Library located at 104 West 4th Ave. on an ongoing basis. Call 908-245-5809 to make an appointment.)
- Perth Amboy
- Dover (no website available, please go to the basement of the Dover Town Hall located at 37 North Sussex St., Dover, NJ 07801 if you wish to apply for a Dover Municipal ID)
- Paterson (no website available, please go to the Division of Health’s Vital Statistics office at 165 Broadway, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to noon or from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. if you wish to apply for a Paterson Municipal ID)
- Highland Park (pending)
- When can I start applying for a Municipal Identification Card?
- The City of Newark started issuing their government issued identification card on August 1, 2015
- The City of Roselle started issuing their government issued identification card on December 14, 2015
- The City of Highland Park has not yet begun to issue identification cards, the process is pending
What documentation (form of id) do I need to get a Municipal Identification Card?
- Please check with each municipality for document requirements
Where can I get a Municipal ID card?
- Please check each municipality for hours and location
- How much does the Newark Municipal ID Card cost?
- Please check with each municipality for cost for ID card
What does the card do?
- All municipal identification cards and community cards are only for the purposes of proof of identity
- Most municipally issued ID cards will be accepted to enter City Buildings, open bank accounts, use city libraries, attend schools, access other city services and interact with the local Police Department.
- What are some benefits that come with this card?
- Some municipal IDs provide discounts to local businesses and access to city services
- Do I have to be a city resident to get the ID?
- Yes, proof of residency will be required in order to obtain a municipal ID.
- Is this valid in cities outside of my municipality?
- No, Municipal IDs card will is only accepted within the city that issued the ID.
Can I get one in my city if I don't live in any of the cities above (Newark, Roselle, Perth Amboy, Dover, Paterson, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Highland Park)?
- Right now the aforementioned municipalities are the only ones that provide a government issued identification card. Other communities in the state have community identification cards that are provided by a nonprofit organization in collaboration with law enforcement offices. Such cards are available through community organizations in Princeton, Trenton, Morristown, Freehold, and Camden; but they are not government issued. We will update this list as other municipalities start issuing their cards.
Does a municipal identification card let me drive?
- A government issued municipal ID card or a community ID card cannot be used to drive. Only the state has the power to issue licenses, we are already fighting to change state law to provide licenses for all.
Can I use this to fly?
- No, government issued municipal identification cards or community identifications can not be used to fly or travel. The cards are only for the purposes of identifying yourself in the city you live in.
Does this change my immigration status?
- No, this card is not a proof if legal immigration status, it only proves your identity.
- Does this card provide me with work authorization?
- No, this card is not a work authorization card, it only proves your identity.
- Can I use this card for points to get a driver's license?
- No, this card is only valid inside your city to prove your identity.
- Can I use this card to vote?
- No, only US citizens can vote, and identification cards are not required to vote. It is a crime to vote if you aren't a citizen, and it is not necessary to provide proof of citizenship to vote in the state of New Jersey, it is a right for all citizens.
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