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I applied for an ESTA in November and everything was approved, so right now I am kind of freaking out since I was re-reading a few questions again. Long story short, I was an intern with a J1 visa from May 2015 until May 2016. I left the US on time and never had any overstays etc.

So this question came up on the ESTA application:

Have you ever been issued a passport or national identity card for travel by any other country?

Well I had a New York State ID Card but I could not have traveled somewhere else with. I honestly did not think about that. But I guess because it says a NATIONAL ID CARD, I only had a New York STATE ID Card. So I should be fine? Thank you so much for you help.

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You are correct, you should be fine. The question is trying to get at whether you have any other citizenship aside from the country that issued the passport you used to apply for ESTA. State ID cards say nothing about the citizenship of the bearer (aside from enhanced state ID cards, which are available only to US citizens).

To answer the question in the current version of the title: No, a US state ID card is not a national ID card.

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    Wow that was very fast - thank you so much for your kind answer. I am only AUSTRIAN citizen and I do NOT have any other citizenships etc. And I also never gave the ID card back - i hope that is not gonna make a problem – JoeMunich Feb 12 '18 at 22:44
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    @JoeMunich: You will be fine. Even though you had a New York State ID card, it's not a card "issued ... by any other country". The fact that you never gave it back is not a problem. – Greg Hewgill Feb 13 '18 at 0:34

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