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Loss of Identification - or how to become a non-citizen in 3 minutes flat.

May 3, 2008
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Faithful readers may have read my companion article on losing my wallet and the credit cards associated with it. Today we will talk about losing your identity as a result.

There were many things in my wallet, including:
1. Driver's License
2. Car Registration
3. Car Insurance
4. Social Security card (a big no-no)

Each of the items above forms your real-world identity. Without these items you can't drive a car (legally), you can't take a trip. You can't get credit cards or anything else that identifies you in a meaningful way.

To get a driver's license you need to convince the state that you are who you say you are. At 16, this in not that hard, for the most part they take your word for it. You bring your birth certificate your social security card and your mommy and boom, they give you a license.

As you age, you take this for granted and everything else builds around it like a house. When however you lose this stuff you can end up in a catch 22 of scrambling to fix the problem.

When trying to replace my license in New York you need to provide '6 points' of information. You would assume that having a passport would satisfy this. Unfortunately this is not the case. Apparently having a federal document is only 4 points, leaving 2 points to scramble for. Never mind that they have all this in their system, so they can pull up a photo from the license and see it is you, but apparently the phone company knows better so, you bring that for an additional point.

If I had my social security card this would be 2 points, but I do not have this because I stupidly had it in my wallet. An intriguing point here is that a 'Permanent Resident Card' is 3 points but a social security card is 2, but I digress.

My car registration (2 points) would also be good, but this alas was also in the wallet.

This leaves me with a pay stub for my missing point, and whalah, they print me out a interim license with the real one coming in about a week.

What can we take away from this, other than don't lose your wallet? Keep your passport and social security card in a safe place and not in your wallet, and make photo copies of everything else, just in case.

It probably wouldn't hurt to get a permanent resident card either, whatever that is.

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