Civil Rights

Providence unveils IDPVD, a new municipal ID program

Mayor Jorge Elorza today launched IDPVD, the City of Providence’s municipal identification card program. IDPVD is available to all Providence residents ages 14 and older and promotes community pride. The card serves as proof of identity and residency, can be used to engage with City departments and provides discounts to local establishments and venues. Providence residents can follow this link
Photo for Providence unveils IDPVD, a new municipal ID program

Published on June 26, 2018
By Steve Ahlquist

Mayor Jorge Elorza today launched IDPVD, the City of Providence’s municipal identification card program. IDPVD is available to all Providence residents ages 14 and older and promotes community pride. The card serves as proof of identity and residency, can be used to engage with City departments and provides discounts to local establishments and venues.

Providence residents can follow this link to the application. (You can also fill out the application at the Providence City Hall, room 104) After filling out the application, you bring the accepted forms of ID to room 104 of the Providence City Hall, get your photo taken, pay your fee, and you get your IDPVD in the mail within two weeks.

Elorza’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Theresa Agonia acted as emcee for the press conference announcing IDPVD:

“Most of us take having a form of identification for granted until we realize how hard it is to carry out everyday activities without one,” said Elorza. “IDPVD is easily accessible and shows every resident that they are part of the Providence community. In a time when the forces that pull us apart seem stronger than ever, we’re thrilled to announce programs like this that promotes acceptance. I encourage everyone to get a city identification.”

“This new, IDPVD will be an acceptable form of proof of identification for good reason,” said Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements. “It truly supports some of the most vulnerable in the community, including the homeless, elderly, youth and those with undocumented immigration status.”

“Since the municipal ID will be an Ocean State Libraries library card ID holders will be able to walk into any library in the state of Rhode Island and freely borrow books and other library materials,” said Cheryl Space, Director of Providence Community Libraries.

“For many residents, municipal ID cards provide meaningful access to civic and economic life that they simply otherwise would not have,” said Gabriela Domenzain, director of the The Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University. “The purpose of municipal IDs… is to provide community inclusion and improve relationships between residents and local government.”

Mayor Elorza took some questions, further expanding on IDPVD:

Can you help Uprise RI?

Funding for our reporting relies on the generosity of readers like you. Our independence allows us to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone. But your support is essential to keeping Steve on the beat, covering the costs of reporting our stories. If you are able to, please support us. Every contribution, big or small is so valuable. You provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you.

“The majority of undocumented immigrants in this country have been here for over a decade,” said Domenzain. “They belong to our communities, they feel like our neighbors. They are our neighbors. So are they scared right now because the [federal] administration chooses to animalize them and scapegoat them every day? Yes. But these kinds of measures,” continued Domenzain, referring to IDPVD, makes us safer because [undocumented residents] know that their city is inclusive of them.”

More from Elorza:

Theresa Agonia closes us out:

From the press release:

IDPVD is accepted by city officials, municipal departments and law enforcement in Providence as proof of identity and residency. It meets American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) security standards. The card functions as a Providence library card as well. It also provides access to special services, benefits and discounts offered by partnering businesses and organizations, such as restaurants, shops, museums, and entertainment venues. The City is taking every precaution to protect each applicant’s data to the maximum extent permitted by law. Drawing upon the best practices of other cities that have implemented municipal ID programs, Providence has established a program that views, but does not collect copies of documents provided by an applicant as proof of identity or residency.

With regard to document retention, the City has reached out to the Rhode Island Secretary of State for guidance on how long it must retain documents provided during the application process, including the applications themselves. While awaiting a formal response, the City will retain all application documents in the same way it would retain any application materials for other records maintained by Vital Records.

All Providence residents, who meet the age requirements and can present the required documentation, regardless of immigration status, are eligible to receive the IDPVD card. While applicants may self-identify their gender, the card will include the name that is listed on proof of identity documents unless a court-ordered name change order with chosen name is presented.

The IDPVD program is administered by the City’s Department Vital Records. Those interested must apply in-person at the Department of Vital Records Office, room 104, on the first floor of Providence City Hall at 25 Dorrance Street. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30pm to 4:30pm.  For information you can call (401) 680-5662, email or visit You can also book an appointment by calling.

IDPVD costs $5 for those ages 14-17, 65 and older and low-income applicants who demonstrate financial hardship. The cost is $15.00 for those ages 18-65. The identification will be sent to the applicant through mail within seven to ten business days. Money orders, personal checks and credit cards are accepted forms of payment. (There’s an additional $1 feee for using a credit card.) Cash and PayPal will not be accepted.

IDPVD does not authorize cardholders to drive, and is not accepted as proof of identity to vote. The card does not authorize cardholders to purchase alcohol or tobacco products, receive public assistance benefits, or travel on an airplane. The IDPVD does not confer immigration status or provide work authorization. IDPVD expires after three years from issuance date or when a person no longer resides in the city.

Required Documents

Applicants must prove their identity by presenting one qualifying identification documents, including: a United States passport, United States passport card, or foreign passport; Rhode Island driver’s license or state-issued identification card; or identification issued by a United States government entity i.e. United States permanent resident card, among others. Or they can present two qualifying identification documents, including a foreign driver’s license; student identification issued by a recognized United States educational institution; a certified copy of United States or foreign birth certificate, among others.

Applicants must also prove their residency by presenting two qualifying residency documents, including: current utility bill; bank account statement; or written verification of residence issued and signed by the director or administrator of a transient resident shelter that receives government funding. A full list of qualifying documents can be found at

Business Partnerships

Partnering with IDPVD is an exciting and unique way to advertise and grow a business. Partners will be featured on the City’s official website and promotional materials that will be distributed to all applicants. Similar municipal ID programs around the country have allowed partners to expand their outreach and attract new customers. To become a partner and promote a business, please email or call the Mayor’s Center for City Services (MCCS) by dialing 3-1-1.


Providence begins discussion of Municipal IDs

Mayor Elorza creates Municipal ID Program in Providence

UpriseRI is entirely supported by donations and advertising. Every little bit helps:

Become a Patron!

Did you enjoy this article?

More Civil Rights Coverage