Every mom knows that dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ‘t’ is an essential part of managing your household and bringing up your family.
Attention to detail goes far beyond planning a healthy diet for everyone and making sure kids get enough exercise and take their education seriously. Other everyday practical matters, such as making sure every member of your family has the right ID and official documentation, are also things that need to be looked after.
Today there are so many different forms of ID that it can be hard to keep track of who needs exactly what. Fortunately, there are also some easy tips and tricks you can use to make sure you don’t get caught out.
Lacking ID can mean a ruined holiday or unnecessary time spent trying to sort out official matters. Also, the threat of identity theft is ever-present and means that you can be expected to present ID on more occasions than ever before.
Types of ID
There are many types of ID that someone living in the US might need at different times in their life. Probably one of the most common is a driver license, but in order to get one of these in the first place you need to provide proof of identity!
A marriage certificate is also a useful item of ID that many adults can use and social security cards, W-2 forms, military ID and tribal ID are other often-used forms.
Documents proving your residential address are important when applying for other forms of ID, but these can be difficult when it comes to children as they won’t be named on utility bills or similar items.
Social Security forms, pay stubs, or statements with your name and full Social Security number included can be taken as proof of ID in some cases too.
For non-US citizens, proof of lawful status in the US stretches to a long list and includes a US certified birth certificate, US passport or passport card, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, permanent resident card, or employment authorization card.
Making sure that details are correct on any form of ID is another essential thing to check. Every member of your family should have at least one officially accepted form of ID that has their current full legal name spelt in the right way.
In many cases, photocopies, faxes or digital scans or photographs are not acceptable due to the fact that they can be easily altered and used fraudulently. This often means producing documents in person, although if you are sending originals through the mail you should always take every effort to ensure safe delivery and provide the means for guaranteed return.
You need a Social Security number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and gain access to various government services in the US. Although you don’t often need to show your Social Security card, it can be one of the most important forms of ID that you will ever have.
As with other official documents, your SSN should always be kept in a safe place and, if it is lost or stolen, you should inform the authorities and get a replacement as soon as possible. You can get your social security card easily by using an online service, which saves you time and means your card is delivered to your door.
Children travelling abroad
To go outside of the US, every member of the family needs documentation and this means
children travelling internationally have to have the same level of ID as adults.
Even the youngest babies need to get a passport (or other accepted ID). US citizens can find out exactly what is needed by visiting the State Department website at travel.state.gov.
Travelling as a family is usually quite straightforward, but there can be complications if you are a parent travelling without your spouse or are taking your grandchildren abroad. It can also be a problem if your last name is different from your child’s last name.
This is all due to increased International Child Abduction laws, but they are rules that are in place for the protection of all child so every parent should be willing to except a little extra effort to abide by the regulations.
All it really means is paying a little more attention to preparation and documentation. If you are travelling as one parent, you will need a notarized letter from the absent parent giving their permission for you to accompany the child. This letter must include the address and phone number of the absent parent along with their authorization to travel, as well as the intended destination and length of stay.
Divorced single parents will need the notarized letter plus legal papers outlining custody, and single parents due to bereavement will need the death certificate.
If the child had only one parent at birth, a birth certificate might be needed and if a child has a different last name from one of the parents, you will need to be prepared to show documentation proving both of you are parents of the child.
Apart from a passport for travelling abroad, a child may need other ID from time to time.
A parent’s proof of address is acceptable for a minor child and a transcript or report card from an accredited school is usually accepted in most cases.
Some parents help their children learn good money management from an early age by opening a bank account in their name and this is a form of ID that can be useful too.
ID for life
The fact is that in today’s society having the right ID at every stage of life is something that everyone should place high on their personal agenda.
When it comes to children, though, it is the parent’s responsibility to look after these practicalities, and by helping youngsters understand the importance of details early on, it can help them learn good practices that will prove invaluable in later life.