A minor obtains or produces a fake ID, most often a driver's license, to present themselves as a person who has reached the age of majority. This is usually done to purchase an age-restricted item, usually alcohol or tobacco. In older works, when information was more difficult to verify, they may even use it to enlist in the military.
In the early days, identification was nothing more than a laminated piece of card stock, which made forgery extremely easy. As many jurisdictions incorporate more sophisticated security features into their identification documents, they have become increasingly difficult to recreate. In these cases, it is more practical to steal a real ID from an older sibling or an Identical Stranger, or to apply for a real one under false pretenses.
If questioned, the imposter may rely on a Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story. If the quality of the forgery is so low that it would never fool anyone, or if the holder makes no attempt to hide the fact that it is fake, see Badge Gag. Can result in a Cover Identity Anomaly. Expect to see a Master Forger making these. See also Totally 18.
- Played with in the Young Justice fic Drink, And Be Merry, where the team are in London working with the Squire on Nightwing's 18th birthday, and while none of them would drink underage, Squire points out that they aren't underage in the UK. But because they don't have civilian identification on them, they have to make facsimiles. Artemis points out how weird it is to be buying alcohol with a fake ID that lists your real birthdate.
- Super Bad: Fogell gets a dubious fake ID, a Hawaiian driver's license that just says "McLovin", to buy booze for a party. Somehow, this fools the clerk at the liquor store, and seemingly fools the two cops responding to the robbery that occurred as Fogell was buying alcohol. The latter invite him to ride along with them, but they eventually reveal they knew it was fake all along and just wanted to have some fun and show him not all cops are assholes.
- A humorous example occurs in The Breakfast Club, when Andrew discovers Brian's fake I.D. whilst rifling through his wallet. Brian actually messed it up and it says he's 68 years old.
Andrew: What do you need a fake I.D. for?
Brian: So I can vote.
- In Vegas Vacation, underage Rusty obtains a fake ID to gamble. While it might fool the pit bosses if he was only interested in playing nickel slots, he soon starts winning cars and sends them to a motel on the city outskirts, which would have been checked by the casino.
- Parodied in 21 Jump Street. Schmidt and Jenko, undercover cops in their mid-twenties, decide to throw a Wild Teen Party in order to get close with the high school drug dealers. At one point, they wonder how they are going to get alcohol for the party, since neither one has a fake ID. Right after saying this, they burst into laughter, go to the liquor store and buy shopping carts full of it.
- The song Fake ID from the 2011 remake of Footloose has the singer trying to buy one of these.
- Better Luck Tomorrow: The gang all have fake IDs, which they use to buy liquor and go to casinos despite being 16-17. When the ID cards are called out as fake, they bribe the person checking it, which in one case involves giving a police officer in Vegas several hundred dollars.
- In Asian School Girls, Vivian manufactures the fake IDs she and her friends use to get into the nightclub, and later to get jobs at the strip joint. They are good enough to foil the bouncers at the club and the owner of the strip joint, although it is implied that nightclub attracts a lot of underage trade and so the bouncers probably weren't looking too closely.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home: During the climax Happy Hogan and some of Peter's classmates get trapped in the dungeons beneath the Tower of London. Thinking they're about to die they all start blurting out secrets they've been keeping. Betty Brant admits she has a fake I.D. that she's never actually had the chance to use.
- In the 1960 original Where the Boys Are Tuggle Carpenter is an under-age college student who shows the barman fake ID which says she is 25- and 5'2". She is played by the 5'10" Paula Prentiss.
- One episode of Drake & Josh opens with Drake explaining a plan to get into a show at an adults-only club using fake IDs to Josh. It then cuts to them being brought home by the police as the plan did not work, likely because the fake names were suspiciously cool sounding. Later in the episode when they end up with some actual criminals they protect themselves by using the same fake names and pretending to be adult criminals too. Hilarity Ensues.
- M*A*S*H, "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet". Hawkeye discovers a young private, Walter (Ron Howard), is actually named Wendell and stole his brother's ID to enlist in the Army. Hawkeye decides at first to let this slide, but after an old friend turns up as a patient and dies, Hawkeye reports Wendell to the MPs.
- Grounded for Life: Brad learns a Jerk Jock, Scott, (who used to bully Brad) has a fake ID and asks him to buy beer for him, but Scott rips him off. Sean and Eddie coerce him into buying the beer for real, but just as Scott tries to buy the beer, a cop walks in, checks his ID and arrests him.
- Inverted on Bar Rescue. To prove his point that 18+ events are not worth the problems they cause with underage drinking, Jon has a 23-year old woman borrow her underage friend's ID and have security mark an X on her hand so the bartenders know she's underage, which washes off almost immediately.
- Happy Days episode "The Skin Game", Richie and Potsie use fake IDs to get into a strip joint (where it turns out they don't strip down, shall we say, "substantially", this being the '50s, much to Richie's chagrin). He is later caught by his father, who also happened to be visiting there that night.
- Diff'rent Strokes episode "The Older Woman", where Willis uses a fake ID — along with a fake mustache — to get into a nightclub. While he narrowly misses just-happened-to-be-there Mr. Drummond, Willis is found out when the older woman he picked up at the nightclub comes to visit him at home.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Beer Bad," Xander has a fake ID so he can work as a bartender.
- Friday Night Lights, Tim Riggins has one that identifies him as a member of the military. It's heavily implied that the liquor store owner is well aware it's a fake, but he lets Riggins buy beer anyway because he's a Panther.
- The first episode of Cheers has an obviously underage kid (who looks about 12) attempting to buy a beer using a military ID that says he's 38.
- Hey Dad..!: In one episode, Debbie borrows Nudge's driver's licence so she can get into a nightclub. Interestingly, this plot worked when the episode was originally aired as at the time New South Wales licences did not have a photo and could have only the driver's initials: in this case 'G. Noritas', allowing Debbie to claim to be 'Geraldine'. Not long afterwards, the law changed in New South Wales requiring the licence to have the driver's full name and photo.
- In Friends episode "The One With The Thanksgiving Flashbacks", it was revealed that Chandler and Ross apparently had fake IDs when they were college freshmen. Ross was 'Clifford Alverez' and Chandler was 'Roland Chan'.
- In Community episode "Mixology Certification", Annie (who is only 19) is talked into using the ID of Britta's friend to get into the bar with the others. She is pretty nervous but the coup works out.
- Cobra Kai:
- In the first season, Miguel gets beaten up by Gang of Bullies (and saved by Johnny) after he inadvertently ruins Kyler's gang's plan to buy beer with fake IDs by mentioning to the friendly clerk that they go to school with him.
- In the ninth episode of season 1, Hawk obtains one identifying him as 25 year old "Walter Hawkman" so he can buy booze for the Cobra Kai beach party. He thinks it's flawless, but it really only works because the cashier doesn't care about teens buying alcohol (in part due to Daniel getting his rent jacked up). When he tries using it at Applebee's in the second season opener, the waitress doesn't fall for it, and the group has to settle for ordering a bunch of appetizers (with Hawk begging Aisha not to tell her social media followers this since his mother follows her on Instagram).
- In the second season, Johnny reunites with his old friends from the original Karate Kid film and they go out for drinks. They recall a time when they were teenagers and Tommy got them all terrible fakes so they could drink in a bar. The bartender saw right through the ruse and served them dishwater instead. Tommy drank the whole thing anyway because he didn't know what beer was supposed to taste like.
- Monk: A plot point in "Mr. Monk and the Buried Treasure". Troy Kroger and his friends find the dead body of a bank robber, and a map to where they think the robbery money is buried. Before enlisting Monk's help to track down the money, they even pick the robber's wallet and phone off him, with Troy's friends trying to use the guy's ID to buy beer at a minimart. The ruse doesn't work on the clerk, who goes to school with them ("There's no way you're 47," he says). Monk realizes what they've done after the police identify the dead robber and he learns the dead man's age.
- Better Call Saul: In "Nailed", Chuck offhandedly mentions that as a high schooler, Jimmy forged fake IDs for his friends to buy liquor.
- Played for Drama in Itaewon Class. In Episode 3, Yiseo, an underage high school student, goes out clubbing with an obviously fake ID that looks nothing like her (she tells everyone the picture was taken before she got plastic surgery). After getting kicked out of the Jangga restaurant by Soo-ah, she ends up at Danbam, the restaurant run by the protagonist, instead. Seungkwon realizes she has a fake, but lets her in anyway. The police come, and Danbam gets shut down for two months for serving alcohol to a minor a major setback for the protagonists.
- Theres a CSI episode where Catherine is called to a scene at a nightclub and finds her daughter Lindsay there; shed snuck in with a fake ID
- Played for laughs in Little Britain: When Vicky Pollard tries to buy alcohol, one of her mates holds up a scrap of paper saying "Vicky is definly 18".
- 3rd Rock from the Sun: Tommy and his friends create fake IDs to get into a popular local nightclub. The friends succeed but Tommy is stopped at the door because Don Orville is the bouncer and knows perfectly well that Tommy is underage because "I used to date your sister!"
- Titans (2018). Dick Grayson is working with Jason Todd, the new Boy Wonder. To get entry to a nightclub Dick just flashes his badge, but when Jason produces a fake ID and claims to be nineteen, the bouncer just laughs and he has to stay outside.
- The song "David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs" by Travis Denning is about a minor who acquires a fake ID, which he uses to buy beer for friends and get into bars. According to Denning, the song is a true story, and David Ashley Parker is a real person.
- ECW's Mass Transit Incident: The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa) were supposed to face D-Von Dudley and Axl Rotten, but Axl no-showed. Eric Kulas, a seventeen-year-old kid with zero experience, showed up, lying about his age and about having been "trained" by Killer Kowalski, and offered to take Axl's place. He was billed as Mass Transit, a wrestling bus driver based on Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners. According to New Jack's episode of Dark Side of the Ring, Kulas (who obviously lacked the knowledge of locker room etiquette) tried to lay out some of the match's progress (an action viewed as vastly overstepping his bounds), including suggesting that New Jack blade him. New Jack took offense to the jobber's impudence and took liberties that included slicing open his forehead with a scalpel and generally beating the hell out of him, prompting Kulas' father to yell, "Ring the fucking bell! He's seventeen!"
- Implied with Kathy in Daughter for Dessert. At 19, she is a regular at Heidis Bar. The story takes place in the United States, where the legal drinking age is 21. And given how straight-laced Heidi is, she would definitely be diligent about checking IDs.
- When Helen from Penny and Aggie crosses to Something*Positive and applies for a job at Nerdrotica, she has a fake ID that says she's 19. Unfortunately, it also says she's male, and lived at 6969 Hermaphrodite Way, Duckburg. And the moral is "if you're gonna have a bully make your fake I.D., always check it first. I mean, uh, fake I.D.s are bad, kids."
- Latchkey Kingdom features the "Hillan License to Adventure and Fish". It shows Willa as being level 5, but she's scribbled on it so that it says 150 instead so that she can take higher level jobs.
Quest giver: Wow, I didn't know levels went that high.
- Undergrads: In "Drunks" Nitz decides to try drinking for the first time and has his friend Gimpy make him a fake ID after his friend Jessie reveals her own. His other friend, Rocko, has a homemade ID that is just his photo stapled to a piece of cardboard with "I am 21 so drinking is yes" written on it, which somehow gets him several bars (most likely the bouncers didn't care). Gimpy meanwhile starts a business of making fake IDs for underage drinkers.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Bart on the Road", during a hastily organized Take Your Kid to Work Day which sees Bart spend the day with his aunts at the DMV, Bart makes a fake driver's license stating he is 25, rents a car and convinces Milhouse, Nelson and Martin to come with him to a World's Fair in Knoxville, TN (which was actually held in 1982).
- In "Duffless", Homer sings a version of "It Was a Very Good Year" by Frank Sinatra, changing the lyrics to "When I was 17, I drank some very good beer, I drank some very good beer I purchased with a fake ID, my name was Brian McGee..."
- In "Much Apu About Nothing", Kearney tries to buy cigars and beer with a fake ID and assumed name. Apu recognizes Kearney immediately (his claims of his "adultivity" didn't help), but is impressed by the ID's quality. Apu asks where he got it, to obtain forged citizenship papers to avoid deportation, in exchange for letting Kearney keep the food he was trying to shoplift at the same time. Oddly, this was shortly after Kearney started being portrayed as well-over drinking age despite being in elementary school.
- Doug: In "Doug's Minor Problem", Nic-Nacs, a new product that helps you relax, but is not available to minors, comes to town. Roger uses a fake ID to buy 200 to sell to the rest of the school. Roger's ID◊ is just as bad as Rocko's, saying it was issued by the "NOTAFAKE CORP" and listing his age 34, instead of a date of birth.
- Gravity Falls: In "Head Hunters", Dipper and Mabel get into a Bad-Guy Bar with two of these. Behold, Sir Dippingsauce (Age 45) and Lady Mabelton (Age 21). Good thing the bouncer was too disinterested to really care about the google eyes and macaroni.
- Bob's Burgers: In "The Kids Run Ayay", Louise tries to get an hotel room showing the clerk a fake ID stating she is 43. It doesn't work.
- Audie Murphy's sister altered his birth certificate so he could enlist in the US Army. He went on to become the single most decorated soldier in US history. His gravestone lists his false date of birth.
- Traci Lords used fake documentation to perform in adult films until the ruse was exposed, which resulted in her films being pulled from distribution (as they were now legally child porn) and a more careful approach by the industry to verify performers' backgrounds.