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The Power Of Paper: A Simple Guide To Your Valuable Records

By Ben Pate

Many of us have a file for our important papers but I wonder if these pieces of paper are a lot more valuable than you might imagine. Most Americans have pass ports, social security and driver’s license cards, and birth certificates. When you realize the large part of your daily life played by these documents, you may find they require quite a degree of respect.

A United States passport is a document issued by the national government that verifies your identity as well as your United States citizenship. In order to obtain your passport, you need to have proof of your identity and your American citizenship. The passport usually features such information as name, place and date of birth, and sex, along with a photograph. Despite popular belief, the passport itself does not grant you entrance into a country. Rather, it ensures that you can legally re-enter the country that issued the passport. Therefore, a passport is generally required for international travel. However, it is also a valid form of identification.

Now let’s talk about your social security card. It provides a one-of-a-kind number unique to only you and is required for each and every American citizen. These numbers certainly aid in the assessment of taxes but they also provide identification. They are also used to identify specific records such as medical, financial and educational ones.

When it comes of operating a motor vehicle legally in the United States, you must have a valid drivers’ license. This document is issued in the state where you live and provides an excellent source of official identification. There are different types of drivers’ licenses depending on the type of vehicle or vehicles you will be operating. An example is a chauffeur’s license which is issued if a person will be driving a taxi or another vehicle for hire. Since a license includes a picture as well as a description of your identity, you may be asked to present it when purchasing alcohol, tobacco products or even if you apply for a new job. Of course, if you are stopped for a traffic violation, the first thing the police officer will ask you for is your drivers’ license. When applying for your drivers’ license, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to sign up to be an organ donor as this will be indicated on the front of your card.

A birth certificate is issued as the result of information submitted by the hospital where a child is born or, if the birth happens at home, by the qualified professional. There is both a long and short form when it comes to a birth certificate but both will include name, sex, place and time of birth and the names of the parents. This is the #1 document required when obtaining almost any other important document and is also a way to prove legal citizenship and identity. Among the documents requiring the presentation of a birth certificate are a passport, drivers’ license, social security card and marriage license.

As you can see, important papers come in all shapes and sizes but they are all very vital to your everyday living. Keeping them in a safe place is so important that you might even decide to invest in a safety deposit box so they can’t be stolen or damaged. If your identity is stolen or if your documents are counterfeited, there would be great cost and stress undoing the damage so keep these documents in a safe and secure location.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Pate, Ben "The Power Of Paper: A Simple Guide To Your Valuable Records." The Power Of Paper: A Simple Guide To Your Valuable Records. 6 Jul. 2010. 25 Sep 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Pate, B (2010, July 6). The Power Of Paper: A Simple Guide To Your Valuable Records. Retrieved September 25, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Pate, Ben "The Power Of Paper: A Simple Guide To Your Valuable Records"

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