Are identity criteria grounding principles? A prima facie answer to this question is positive. Specifically, two-level identity criteria can be taken as principles related to issues of identity among objects of a given kind compared with objects of a more basic kind. Moreover, they are grounding metaphysical principles of some objects with regard to others. In the first part of the paper we criticise this prima facie natural reading of identity criteria. This result does not mean that identity criteria could not be taken as grounding principles. In the second part, we propose some basic steps towards a conceptual reading of grounding. Such a way of understanding it goes along with an epistemic reading of identity criteria.