Interaction with state offices and agencies requiring proof of identity, calls for a more proactive approach. Here are 6 tips to help speed along the process, or at least decrease delays, confusion and return trips.
· Birth certificate(s) for family adults and children
If you do not have a copy of your birth certificate or a copy for a dependent child, the simplest route when acquiring one is the direct route. Contact the county or city in which the person was born. By calling the county government offices and asking to be connected with the department that records birth certificates, you may be connected or given the telephone number. When connected, be prepared to give the correct full name, place of birth, name of both parents(if known), year and date of the birth. The clerk or agent can then check their records to verify they have a copy and mail it out to you immediately. This is usually done for a small fee in most states. If done through an online service, your fee is likely to be much greater and take longer to receive your birth certificate.
· Social Security cards
Getting a new social security card (usually) requires making a personal visit to their local office. It is advisable to have birth certificate, personal identification and proof of residence with you when applying for a replacement card. To save time and additional trips, call for a list of required documentation.
· Marriage License(S)
New requirements for proof of identity have spread into proof of marriage or marriages. This could mean acquiring a copy of your marriage license, or marriage licenses. Contact the city or county in which you were married and request a copy. Have all necessary proof of identification at your finger tips, you may have to send copies by mail or fax. Expect to make a small payment for this service. These steps should be taken for each marriage.
· Divorce Decrees
Contact the county court house or municipality in which the divorce was filed. They can provide accurate and proper papers. It is advisable to make these contacts directly and personally to save time and money.
· Residential Lease agreements
Have a signed and dated copy of your lease agreement, with your name on the lease. If you are not a home owner, this may be required as an addition to proof of residence. If you are a home owner, call the agency or department you anticipate visiting and ask what documentation they require.
· Utility Bills
Utility bills; electric, water, sewage, garbage pick-up, telephone bills; are all great supporting documents verifying you are who you say you are, and live where you say you live. However, if they are not in your name, or your name does not appear on them as one of the paying parties, they may be of little use when dealing with government agencies and departments. Remember to check billing dates to insure they are not over 3 months old.
These are just a 6 tips to assist individuals when interacting with government agencies and departments. The person behind the desk or window may personally want to give additional assistance or direction, that is good, but not to be expected. Keeping personal papers in order is the responsibility of the person. If in doubt, call the intended agency and ask questions until you know what they will need, how much waiting time to expect, and a list of documentations.