Photo ID Requirements
in OGS Buildings

Questions & Answers


Do I need to show my photo ID in order to enter a State office building?

In many cases, yes. The Office of General Services (“OGS”) operates the State-owned office buildings including the New York State Capitol, the buildings at the Empire State Plaza and Harriman State Office Campus in Albany, and other State office buildings around the State. The requirements to present photo ID can vary from building to building as described below, but in many buildings, OGS requires visitors to present photo ID in order to ensure the orderly operation of the building and provide a safe environment for our tenants and visitors. If photo ID is required to access a building beyond a certain point, building security will be happy to guide you.


What forms of photo ID are acceptable?

When photo ID is required, the following forms are acceptable proofs of identification for admittance to OGS buildings. All such forms of ID must include a clear photograph of the individual and be unexpired.

  1. U.S. Passport or a U.S. Passport Card
  2. Permanent Resident Card or an Alien Receipt Card (Form I-551)
  3. Foreign passport
  4. Driver’s license or non-driver ID card issued by a state or possession of the U.S.
  5. Other government-issued ID card issued by a state or possession of the U.S. (including a NYS employee ID card)
  6. U.S. Military ID card, or
  7. U.S. Military dependent’s ID card

Others forms of photo ID may be accepted but only upon the express approval of the building manager for that building. Individuals 16 years old and under do not have to produce proof of identification but must be accompanied by an adult with acceptable proof of identification.


What is the legal basis for requiring me to show photo ID?

Pursuant to Public Buildings Law § 2, OGS has supervision and control of the State office buildings, and pursuant to Executive Law § 200, OGS may adopt rules and regulations relating to the discharge of the agency’s functions, powers, and duties. Under that authority, OGS has adopted regulations related to facility use at 9 NYCRR Part 300-1. These regulations are designed to strike a balance between providing equal access to the public, ensuring a suitable working environment for State employees, and protecting the safety of the tenants and visitors in our buildings. Accordingly, the regulation authorizing OGS to impose security measures provides as follows:

The admittance of persons to State property and the continued presence of persons on State property, or within certain designated areas thereof, shall be contingent upon the submission of all persons to the office’s then applicable security measures. These measures may include, but shall not be limited to, exhibition of appropriate personal identification as prescribed by the Commissioner at all times while on State property and the recordation of their entry and exit. (9 NYCRR § 300-1.6.)

The manner in which we implement the security measures authorized by this regulation can vary from building to building. For example, we have some buildings where public services are available, such as a Department of Motor Vehicles office or a credit union, and there is no requirement to show photo ID before accessing those services, but a person may need to present photo ID and sign in a logbook in order to access the non-public areas of the building. We have other buildings where there are no public services offered, and visitors need to have an appointment with a tenant agency and have their name entered into the building’s visitor management system. Upon arrival, the visitors need to present their photo ID to the building’s security guards who check the photo IDs and confirm that the visitors are in the system. Once confirmed, visitors are issued passes and directed to their destination.


What about the Fourth Amendment?

We occasionally have visitors suggest that requiring them to present photo ID is a violation of their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure, but that is not the case. In fact, there is ample precedent from the courts that make clear that a request to provide ID does not implicate the Fourth Amendment. See, e.g., Gilmore v. Gonzalez, 435 F3d 1125, 1137-38 (9th Cir. 2006). In Gilmore, the court noted that “[a]n individual is seized within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment only if, in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave,” quoting INS v. Delgado, 466 U.S. 210, 216 (1984). The court found that the requirement to present ID to TSA or airline personnel was not a seizure because the failure by Gilmore to provide ID did not subject him to risk of arrest. Rather, the only consequence was that he was not allowed to board the plane. See also Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 501 (1983) (noting that a police officer’s asking for and examining a plane ticket and driver’s license are permissible under the Fourth Amendment); U.S. v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 555 (1980) (holding that there was no “seizure” when DEA agents asked a traveler if she would show them her ticket and identification). In other words, the obligation to provide photo ID before entering a State office building does not violate anyone’s Fourth Amendment rights because the only consequence of failing to provide photo ID will be a denial of admittance, not arrest or any other type of seizure.