One of the most important things to remember on SAT test day is to take your photo ID with you to the test center. If you don't have an appropriate photo ID with you, you may not be allowed to take the SAT! But how do you know what types of IDs will work? What should you do if you don't have a photo ID?
In this article, I'll answer these questions and explain all of the SAT ID requirements so you can make sure to arrive on test day with an acceptable ID in hand.
Why Is a Photo ID Required?
A photo ID is required to confirm your identity and registration. In the past, there have been issues with cheating, and some students have taken the SAT for other people.
The information and picture on your photo ID will be checked against the info and photo on your Admission Ticket to ensure that everybody takes their own test.
If any of the information doesn’t match or you don’t have an acceptable ID, you won’t be allowed to take the SAT. If it’s discovered after the test that you used false or invalid ID, your scores will be cancelled, and your test fees won’t be refunded.
SAT ID Requirements
Your photo ID must meet the following requirements.
Your ID Must Be Valid
Your ID must be a valid (not expired) ID that is government-issued or issued by the school you currently attend. School IDs from the prior school year are valid through December of the next academic year. A school ID from the 2015-2016 school year is valid through December 31, 2016.
If you're 21 or over, the only acceptable form of identification is an offical government-issued ID. You can't use a student ID.
It Must Be an Original Document
You can’t bring a picture or photocopy for your SAT photo ID. Also, it must show your full legal name, and the name on your ID must completely match the name on your Admission Ticket.
The Photo Must Match the Photo on your Ticket
The ID must have a photo that clearly matches the photo on your Admission Ticket and your appearance on test day.
It Must Be in Good Condition
The ID can't be torn or appeared altered in any way. Furthermore, the text and picture should be clear.
The Text Must Be in English
The text on your photo ID needs to be written in English.
Examples of Acceptable and Unacceptable SAT IDsHere are some examples of IDs you can and can’t use for the SAT:
Acceptable SAT ID
- Government-issued driver’s license
- Government-issued ID card
- Official school ID from the school you currently attend
- Government-issued passport
- Government-issued military or national identification card
- Talent Search Identification Forms (only allowed for 8th grade and below)
- SAT Student ID Form (must be prepared by the school you currently attend, or a notary if you’re homeschooled)
Unacceptable SAT ID
- Credit card or debit card, even if it has a photograph
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card
- Employee ID card
- Any temporary ID card
- Missing Child (“ChildFind”) ID card
- Any document that is torn, scuffed, or otherwise damaged
- Any document that appears tampered with or digitally altered
- Any document that doesn’t meet the requirements
Don't try to show your debit or credit card as your SAT ID.
What If You Don’t Have Acceptable SAT Photo ID?
If you don’t have an acceptable SAT photo ID, you can use the Student ID Form. A current photo must be attached to the form in the area indicated before the form is authenticated. The form will be used to verify your identity like a photo ID. You can only use this form if you’re testing in the US and under 21 years of age.
If you need to use the Student ID Form, talk to your counselor or any school official who can help you. The form must be copied on school stationery. Also, you'll need a signature from a school official and a school seal for the form to be valid.
If you're homeschooled, the form must be notarized and signed by an official notary.
All of the SAT ID requirements apply to the Student ID Form. The photo you use on your ID form must match the photo on your Admission Ticket and your appearance on test day. You must bring the original Student ID Form to be admitted to the test center.
The Name on Your ID Must Match the Name on Your Ticket
The name on your photo ID must completely match the name on your Admission Ticket. When you’re registering, make sure you enter your name exactly how it appears on your ID. Don’t use a nickname or shortened version of your name. Middle names and initials are optional; however, if they’re provided, the middle initial must exactly match the first letter of your middle name on your ID.
If you register with the wrong name, you can change it free of charge. Contact the College Board to do so. You'll only have until 8:00 PM EST on the Monday before the test to make any changes.
Keep Your ID on You at All Times
On test day, your ID will be checked multiple times. Make sure you have it with you from the moment you arrive at the test center. Typically, your ID will be checked when you first arrive. Then, you’ll have to show your ID before you enter the room where you’ll take your test. And when you return to the room after breaks, you may have to show your ID again.
Don’t put your ID in your backpack. Keep it on you. Wear something with pockets, and have your ID with you throughout test day.
SAT ID Requirements: Final Reminders
- Check to make sure you have an acceptable photo ID when you register for the SAT.
- When you’re registering, use the name that’s on your photo ID.
- Don’t forget to bring your photo ID with you on test day. The night before the test, put everything you’re going to need in a backpack. Review what you have to bring.
- When you’re at the test center, keep your ID with you at all times. You’ll probably be asked to show your ID more than once. If you leave your testing room during break times, you may have to show your ID before you reenter.
Are you trying to decide when to take the SAT? Learn more about how to choose your test date.
If you've never taken the SAT, find out what to expect on test day.
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Justin has extensive experience teaching SAT prep and guiding high school students through the college admissions and selection process. He is firmly committed to improving equity in education and helping students to reach their educational goals. Justin received an athletic scholarship for gymnastics at Stanford University and graduated with a BA in American Studies.