Valid ID: Why It Matters
It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant, a bar, or a club. If one plans on drinking in NYC one should always carry valid government identification (no copies, and student ID doesn’t count either). ID laws are very strict here. Some bar’s & nightclub’s own policies regarding ID’s can be even more strict yet. So set your ego aside when restaurant/bar staff asks you for ID, and don’t embarrass yourself with a joke about being flattered to be asked to show ID… It’s just the law. ID policies also change based on the type of venue, night of the week, and even the hour of day. ID policies may restrict you from ordering drinks while inside, or prevent you from even entering at all (even if you are 1,000 years old)! The more notorious nightlife neighborhoods are far more strict in enforcement of ID policies due to random visits from law enforcement being very common.
What Is the best ID To Use?
If you are international, passports are the only 100% guaranteed ID, but understandably you’re concerned about losing your passport. Well, foreign driver’s licenses can work too (sometimes, depending on the bar’s policy), unless it looks old, expired, damaged, and therefore suspicious/possibly fake. It would be best to bring additional forms of ID to back up your foreign ID card. A copy of your passport (or other photo ID) would be helpful in this case, and even some credit cards also bearing your name. Student ID could potentially be helpful in this case too, but never try to pass student ID as your primary form of ID.
The Risks Of Foreign Driver’s License/ID
As mentioned before, a foreign ID or driver’s license can work, sometimes, depending on the venue and its policies. Using a foreign ID (other than a passport) will likely have less than optimal success rate. Some venues’ security staff may be familiar with IDs from some certain countries, but not others. Again, the venues are subject to extremely harsh fines and penalties if anything bad happens and law enforcement finds that any person or persons were admitted without valid ID, or with fake ID. And even if your foreign ID is 100% legit some venues will 100% deny you simply because they are unfamiliar with the country ID itself, and therefore far too uncomfortable with the risk. “Zero tolerance” ID policies are practiced at many bars and clubs. Meaning: No passport, no entry.