Newark has become the first city in New Jersey to create a special ID card that gives people who are unable to get traditional forms of ID access to critical city services.
City residents who are age 14 and older, including undocumented immigrants, are eligible to obtain the new Municipal ID card. Since August when the program started, more than 10,000 cards have been issued. They allow the card holder to access these services and more:
- Open and operate accounts at financial institutions located in the city including Wells Fargo, Investor’s Bank, City National Bank, and Garden State Savings
- Acceptable identification for schools and the Newark Police Division
- Can be used to gain permits to open up small businesses such as ice cream carts, hot dog and flower stands
- Services at all hospitals in the City of Newark, municipal buildings and other institutions
- Free membership at The Newark Museum
- Lists an emergency contact
- Discounts for library memberships and tickets to the Cineplex movie theater on Springfield Avenue.
Among the beneficiaries of the Municipal ID program are Newark’s Hispanic/Latino residents which, according to the 2010 Census, account for one third of the city’s population of 280,000.
Adela Amao emigrated from Peru to the United States 10 years ago in search of a better life. Today, she is a proud small business owner, operating an ice cream cart. Thanks to the Municipal Identification Program, she was able to open her business and turn her entrepreneurial dreams into a reality.
“There were a lot of people who didn’t have jobs because they didn’t have identification because we are immigrants,” said Ms. Amao. “And our Mayor gave it to us to run our own business.”
Mayor Ras Baraka says the Municipal ID has helped residents feel a sense of community and belonging.
“Creating a Municipal ID actually brought a lot of people out of the shadows and gave them the opportunity to use city services, to come to City Hall, to actually visit their kids in school, and open a bank account,” says Baraka. “As a result of that, we were the first city in New Jersey to do it and now other cities are beginning to launch their own Municipal ID programs across the state.”
Other cities that have adopted the identification cards include Roselle, Perth Amboy, Paterson and Jersey City.
Newark residents can obtain their identification cards by showing proof of identity and proof of residency. Documents may include birth certificate, passport, utility bill, Green Card and others. There is a small fee. Complete information and an online application can be found at
and at the following three city locations:
Vince Lombardi Center
201 Bloomfield Ave
Newark, NJ 07104
Department of Health and Community Wellness
394 University Ave
Newark, NJ 07102
Little City Hall –East Ward
113 Monroe St.
Newark, NJ 07105
You may also call 973-878-1553.