Philadelphia to begin issuing municipal photo ID cards

Philadelphia ID Card
screenshot, via city of philadelphia

(AP) — Philadelphia will begin its municipal identification program Thursday, allowing homeless people, those living in the country illegally and minors to obtain photo ID cards.

The city joins New York, Chicago, San Francisco and several others on offering such cards, which can be used as ID to access city buildings, museums, recreation centers, to interact with law enforcement and more.

PHL City IDs cost $5 for teens, $10 for adults and is free to those 65 and older.

Residents must be able to prove their identities and addresses using a four-point system similar to what the Department of Motor Vehicle uses. Veteran’s ID cards, a student ID, bank statements and pay stubs also work. A letter from a shelter or social service agency is also accepted to prove residency.

Cardholders can also choose their preferred genders, something much talked about when the ID program was first introduced. There’s also the option to add medical conditions or emergency contact information.

Those with PHL City IDs will be able to benefit from discounts with several organizations including Lyft, the Kimmel Center, the Phillies, the African American Museum of Philadelphia, the Free Library and more.

Supporters view the identification cards as a boon to people without licenses and an alternative for those without valid ID cards. Opponents say such cards give people illegally in the country access to services to which they shouldn’t be entitled.

Immigration advocates have voiced concerns about use of the personal information required, but officials say no copies of documents are retained.

Lauren Cox, spokeswoman for the Philadelphia’s mayor’s office, said officials are “very sensitive to the need for these cards to maintain a high level of integrity while ensuring the privacy of cardholders.”

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