What is a tribal ID card and why would I need it?

Tribal identification (ID) cards are issued by tribes as proof of your enrollment and membership in the tribe.

A tribal ID card is a valid form of government-issued photo identification in many places (though those places are often unaware of this). For example, a tribal ID card is valid at federal buildings, airports, and banks. It is also proof of eligibility for certain services such as the federal Indian Health Service; it allows you to opt out of Covered California (meaning, you can get an exemption from the tax penalty under “Obamacare”);[240] and it can be used to prove your identification for the California LifeLine cell phone program (read more on PG. 495).[241]

A tribal ID card is not valid proof of identity for every purpose — for example, you cannot use it as ID for notary services in the state of California.[242]

  1. 240

    See Covered California, “Tax Penalty Details and Exemptions,” http://www.coveredca.com/individuals-and-families/getting-covered/tax-penalty-details-and-exemptions/; Covered California for American Indians, http://hbex.coveredca.com/tribal-consultation/PDFs/Covered%20California%20for%20American%20Indians__PPT%20Final.pdf.

  2. 241

    See California LifeLine Program, “Checking Your Identity,” https://www.californialifeline.com/en/id_check.

  3. 242

    See CA Secretary of State, Notary Public Handbook (2016), http://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/handbook/.