Can You Get a Job Without an ID?

Can You Get a Job Without an ID?

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An identification document (ID) is one of the most important documents in any nation. For instance, in the United States, it proves your identity and citizenship. Moreover, federal law stipulates that an ID verifies your authorization to work in the country.

You can’t get a job without an ID unless an employer hires you illegally. An ID plays a significant role in the hiring process of any organization. Therefore, employers use these identification documents to verify their employees’ eligibility to work when completing Form I-9.

In the rest of this article, we’ll discuss some topics related to this question. We’ll address whether it’s legal to get a job without an ID, what kind of identification documents you need for a job, and how to get an identity card in the US.

Is It Legal To Get a Job Without an ID?

It’s illegal to get a job without an ID. The US government has several policies regarding the legal identification of every employee. So, when an organization hires you without an ID, both the employer and employee violate the law.

Whether you’re an American citizen or not, the law requires you to prove your identity and authorization to work in the U.S. So, if you have nothing to verify these requirements, it’ll be unlawful for a company to hire you. 

Moreover, you can face various repercussions.

If you’re a non-citizen without any identification or work permit, you don’t have an employee’s legal rights. Also, if the government identifies you as an illegal worker, they can either deport you and/or ban you from going to the United States for ten years. 

On the other hand, your employer will face a penalty for carrying out illegal businesses through violation of federal law.

Some immigrants also go to the extent of using fake identification, which is again against government policy. They buy these documents from people who forge and sell US citizens’ IDs to secure jobs. The illegal workers don’t file returns because their certificates are invalid, and they fear being found out by authorities.

So, if you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the law, have the right documents when seeking employment.

What Proof of Identification Do You Need for a Job?

Both U.S. citizens and non-citizens get stuck on what documents they need to secure formal jobs. So, if you’re in a similar situation, it’s advisable to be informed on employability requirements before searching for a job. 

The proof of identification you need for a job includes an employment authorization card, or a driver’s license, and a social security card. These documents show that you’re eligible to work in the US and that you’re who you say you are.

You need to provide either one or two documents to prove your identity and work authorization to get a job. These documents fall into three categories: A, B, and C. List A documents prove identity and employment eligibility, list B shows identity only, while list C verifies work authorization only.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), potential employees should have proper identification documents to verify their identity and employment eligibility. 

Moreover, all employers should verify these documents by filling and submitting Form I-9. Finally, employers should deduct taxes from their workers after employment, as this record is essential in calculating their Social Security benefits.

Since proof of identification covers a wide area, we’ll look at each document category separately. 

Also, we’ll discuss what Form I-9 entails.

List A Documents

The list includes documents that most American citizens or residents of legal age hold. They verify a person’s identity and work eligibility and include:

  • A permanent resident card
  • US passport or passport card
  • An employment authorization card

List B Documents

These documents only prove a person’s identification, so you’ll need an additional document to prove your work authorization. They include:

  • A school photo ID
  • A driver’s license
  • Native American tribal document
  • A US military card
  • Military dependent ID card
  • Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority
  • US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner (MM) document card

Note: Underage students or persons with disabilities can use school cards, and hospital or doctor reports to show their identity.

List C Documents

These documents verify your employment authorization but don’t prove your identity. So, you need to attach them to another document in list B before employment. They include:

  • Social Security cards
  • Native American tribal document
  • Original birth certificate
  • ID card for issue 
  • Employment authorization document issued by the US Department of Homeland Security

You can check out other examples of accepted documents on the USCIS website.

Form I-9

Form I-9 is a legal document that entails and verifies employment eligibility for citizens and non-citizens. The USCIS requires employers to submit these forms during the hiring process. It has two sections for the employees and employers to fill in.

Employees complete the form by declaring that they’re eligible for employment and have presented acceptable IDs to the employer. On the other hand, the employer has to determine whether the IDs appear genuine before filing the form. 

Then, they should verify the employee’s eligibility and complete the form.

After completing the form, employers file the copies and keep them for a pre-determined amount of time. These files are important, as they must be available when authorized government officers need to inspect them.

Apart from the accepted documents and Form I-9, employers can also have other requirements to determine an individual’s employment eligibility. 

Let’s look at these more closely.

Academic and Professional Qualifications

Every job position has its specific requirements, which is why employers are responsible for checking whether the potential employees have the right qualifications. So, apart from identification documents, they may ask for other credentials that prove that you’re qualified.

So, your school certificates, including a diploma or degree, a union card, and professional certificates, are essential when seeking employment. 

Apart from confirming your identity, they also prove your suitability for the position the employer is hiring you for. Some employers may also accept copies of school transcripts alongside the certificates.

Some employers also conduct background checks on potential employees before hiring them. 

Most carry out this process to protect themselves from any underlying risks that the individual may present. But, background checks are prohibited in some states if the employer lacks consent from the potential employee.

The following are the reasons why the employers might do background checks for you:

  • Employee’s job competence: They want to determine if you possess desirable skills and abilities that match the job description. These qualities should differentiate you from other workers to qualify for the job.
  • Employer’s welfare: Work safety is always on your employer’s priority list. So if you have a law-breaking record, your employer will find you unsuitable to be part of the organization.
  • Honesty and Integrity: The employer may confirm if the information you’ve presented during the application and hiring process is authentic.

Credit Reports and Vaccination Records

An employer may need to verify if you have a bankruptcy record before hiring you. This information is in the public domain in some states, so employers don’t have to access a credit report

Therefore, your credit history may determine if an employer finds you suitable for the position you’re seeking.

Workplace safety is another concern for employers, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, many employers will require potential employees to present vaccination certificates during interviews or recruitment. Moreover, others may request your medical records to verify that you’re fit to work in the organization.

Since your school and medical records are under confidentiality laws, an employer needs your permission to access them. That means that you’re not obligated to present them during recruitment, and it’ll be an offense for the employer to demand them without your consent.

Jobs You Get Without an ID

Finding a job that doesn’t require an ID can be an uphill task in the U.S. And even with the right qualification, employers will be unwilling to hire you if you lack the necessary documents. 

Therefore, you’ll have to settle for menial jobs or work illegally.

Manual or casual jobs are the forms of employment you can secure without an ID. Though most are low-paying, they don’t require specialized skills. Therefore, any person of legal age can do them.

Let’s look at some of the jobs you can do without necessarily having identification documents:

  • Construction jobs: There’s always a high demand for people who can work in this sector. So, if you don’t have an ID, you can get a job in a construction company as employers don’t always ask for identification documents. However, you risk losing the job any time or you earn minimal wages, so it’s advisable to apply for an ID as soon as possible.
  • Waiter/waitress jobs: If you’re a resident student looking for a part-time job but have no ID, such opportunities can suit you. These jobs are also ideal for non-citizens looking for starter work. So, you can always work in a hotel as you process the identification cards.
  • House painting jobs: They’re among the best jobs for individuals under 16 years or people who want temporary work. House painting has minimal regulations, as your employer will always pay you in cash daily.
  • Housekeeper/babysitter/nanny jobs: If you’re an honest person willing to work diligently, such jobs are suitable for you. In some cases, you might find a good employer who can help you get the documents.

Helpful tip: Sometimes, employers might be strict about showing them an ID. So, if you’re a student, your school ID will come in handy, especially if it has your photo. This will be enough to prove your employment eligibility.

Which Jobs Can’t You Get Without an ID?

Identification documents and a complete I-9 form are the legal requirements of securing formal employment in the United States. An ID is what an employer will look for during the recruitment process. So, if you lack proof of identity and work authority, it won’t be easy to secure a good opportunity.

You can’t get formal jobs in the US without an ID. Jobs in all sectors, including health, education, industrialization, are unattainable if you lack legal documents. Therefore, if you’re seeking a job that guarantees legal employee rights and benefits, an ID is a must-have.

Most jobs that require identification documents also offer employee protection. 

Therefore, you’ll have a monthly paycheck with the rightful deductions, allowances, insurance, and social security benefits. And, you’ll have job security as your employer has to follow the law when terminating your contract.

How Can You Get an ID Card in the United States?

An ID is amongst the most crucial documents to have. You’ll have to provide an ID to verify your identity to access various services. For example, if you open a bank account, enter a federal building, or buy a house, an ID is a requirement.

To get an ID card in the United States, you only have to apply and wait for four to six weeks to obtain your ID. However, if you’re applying for an emergency identity card, it can take up to 14 days, depending on some factors.

Before the World Trade Center was destroyed, Americans used their driver’s license cards as their IDs. 

But, currently, you must now apply for a Real photo ID that proves your identity and citizenship at the  Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices. This was put into place as a stop-gap measure against acts of terrorism.

While the application process for a driver’s license varies across states, standard guidelines are now in place to issue real IDs in the country.

To obtain your ID, you must visit the DMV offices with your documents bearing your identification details. These may include your birth certificate, Social Security card, or permanent resident card. 

However, some requirements may vary depending on what state you are in.

Once you’re at your local DMV office, you must fill in the ID application form. Then, you’ll present legal documents proving US citizenship or residency and your Social Security Number. Then, the officials will take your thumbprint and photo.

Lastly, you’ll pay a small fee and get a receipt as you wait for the ID. 

Parting Shot

An identification document is a requirement when seeking employment in the United States. 

When applying for a Real ID, you should provide your original documents at the DMV to avoid penalties or other legal actions. You’ll also have to check the expiration date on your documents and ensure that they don’t exceed their validity period. 

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