Recently I've been getting my life together and I have been trying to obtain the 3 items listed above and this is my situation:

Passport: Needs state ID

State ID: Needs unexpired passport or social security card (non-copy)

Social Security Card: Needs unexpired passport or state ID

When I ask those that work at the post office, DMV, or social security office about my situation nobody has an answer. I understand I'm in this situation because of me and now I'm looking to see if the people of the internet can point me in the right direction.

Thank you for your time.


1 Answer 1



You can replace an expired passport by mail using only your expired passport (FWIW, my wife and I recently did just that). There are also a variety of alternatives to a state ID that can be used.

Social Security Card

The are alternatives to a state ID or driver's license if you seek a replacement Social Security card in person and explain that you do not have a state ID (the list of permissible documents shown at the link is not exhaustive; a birth certificate and a relative to verify your identity is permitted at an in person office; I did that once for one of my children who did not yet have a state ID or a passport).

State ID

New Jersey also has dozens of different documents that can satisfy its identity requirements, and five different kinds of documents that can establish your Social Security number (a requirement that is likely to be dispensed with soon). In particular, a passport that is expired for less than three years can be used to obtain a state ID in New Jersey.

The need for a Social Security card at the DMV is being phased out even faster than it was imposed in the first place (although New Jersey has not yet updated its process):

For evidence for Department of Motor Vehicles/Driver’s License (REAL ID): Federal law (REAL ID) no longer requires states to see proof of your Social Security number (SSN), though some states may still choose to require proof. To learn about the REAL ID requirements in your state, check with your Department of Motor Vehicles or appropriate agency.

Instead, most states recently switched or in the process of switching to simply contacting the Social Security Administration in an electronic query to confirm that your Social Security number is valid.

Also, in many states (some just starting to allow this post-COVID), a new state ID or driver's license that is lost can be reissued using the information already on file or your current or recently expired state ID. Colorado, for example, has a fingerprint, photo, and other identifying information on file electronically (as well as a record that you have a Social Security number previously established in your last application).

  • Sorry I forgot to mention my passport expired May, 24, 2011. Which is just over 15 years. would that make a difference? Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 18:01
  • 2
    2011 is 10 years ago, not 15.
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 18:34
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    yeah it says that it was issued May, 25, 2006. Which is just over 15 years. I tried applying for a DS-11 earlier today but the lady said I needed some form of state ID. Any idea what I should do? Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 19:06
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    @FelipeDias Go though all of the lists to see what you have. Expired DL or state ID, 1099s, W-2s, Birth Certificates, employer ID, bank statements, etc. Get birth certificate first, if you can. Then take someone who can confirm you ID and all your docs to go in person to Social Security office (if needed). Then get a state ID. Then get a passport.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 19:39
  • 1
    thank you so much you have given me a lot to work with, I'm going to follow your instructions. Meanwhile you have a wonderful life Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 19:53

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