- "National identity card" redirects here. For cards
referred to in the English language as "national identity card",
identity card .
An identity document
(also called a piece
) is any document
which may be used to verify aspects
of a person's personal identity
. If issued in the form of a
small, mostly standard-sized card, it is usually called an
). In some
countries the possession of a government-produced identity card is
compulsory while in others it may be voluntary. In countries which
do not have formal identity documents, informal ones may in some
circumstances be required.
In the absence of a formal identity document, some countries accept
as the most
effective method of proof of identity. Most countries accept
as a form of
Information included in ID documents
Information present on the document — or in a supporting database —
might include the bearer's full name, a portrait photo, age, birth
date, address, an identification number, profession or rank,
religion, ethnic or racial classification, restrictions, and
citizenship status; this is done through microprocessor's for a
magnetic strip found on a credit card. New technologies
could allow identity cards to
information, such as
measurements, or fingerprints
. Electronic identity cards or e-IDs
are already available in some territories such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Portugal and Spain.
Morocco is also
planning to launch a new identity card of biometric type by January
Adoption of identity cards
The universal adoption of identity cards is supported by law
enforcement officials who claim that it will make surveillance and
identification of criminals easier. However, concern is also
expressed about the extensive cost and potential abuse of hi-tech
Kingdom and the United States especially, government-issued compulsory identity
cards or, more precisely, their centralised database are a source
of debate as they are regarded as an infringement of privacy and civil
Most criticism is directed towards the
enhanced possibilities of extensive abuse of centralised and
comprehensive databases storing sensitive data. A 2006 survey of UK
concluded that the planned compulsory identity card coupled with a
central government database generated the most negative attitudinal
response among several alternative configurations.
- Identity verification in banks or at national borders with a
standard national identification card would be simpler than with a
physically bulky passport, especially if
banks don't accept residents having foreign passports.
- Eligibility or ownership verification would be facilitated (for
example, when paying with a credit card
or cheque, or attempting to buy
- False identification may be reduced where identity cards are
required to access a bank account. Of course, phishing and many other forms of identity theft will be unaffected.
- Identity cards can be a useful administrative tool that can
increase efficiency in dealings with both the government and
- In the U.S., private companies like banks require equivalent
documents, such as a driver's license (for fraud protection).
Persons who don't have a driver's license are usually required in
practice to get a state ID card, which is similar to a driver's
- Law enforcers can locate and identify people who either do not
know or cannot communicate their names and/or addresses (e.g., due
to Alzheimer's disease, amnesia or heavy intoxication), or who claim names
that are not consistent with the names on their identity cards
(e.g., due to dissociative identity
disorder, as in the case of Billy
- Cards may help reduce immigration service bureaucracy. In
certain countries, the procedures for deporting illegal immigrants whose ages, identities
or nationalities cannot be formally established are more complex
than those for whom they can be readily asserted. This gives
illegal immigrants more time to prepare their legal defence.
countries (Spain, for
instance) it may prevent the immigrant's deportation
altogether. However, in this situation most illegal
immigrants will destroy their identity papers, nullifying the
reduction in bureaucracy.
- Every human being already carries one's own personal
identification in the form of one's DNA, which
can not be falsified or discarded. Even for non-state commercial
and private interactions, this may shortly become the preferred
identifier, rendering a state-issued identity card a lesser evil
than the potentially extensive privacy risks associated with
everyday use of a person's genetic profile for identification
many countries ID Cards are given only to citizens (for instance,
Pakistan), these can be a source of pride since they are
often the most tangible proof of citizenship.
- A national identity card available for all residents in a
country would reduce a problem that otherwise would occur: Banks
and some other companies do de facto require identity cards, and if
they also did handle the issuing of cards, they could refuse it for
security reasons. A national authority has better opportunities to
check identities, and to take the responsibility for the issuing,
while banks don't want to guarrantee uncertain identities.
- Commercial organisations such as banks
typically do not try to authenticate the identity of a person, but
rather the validity of a transactions (e.g. by signature or PIN)
due to the acknowledged difficulty in reliably identifying an
individual in a fraud proof and convenient manner.
- It has been argued that identity cards impose a
disproportionate burden upon both government and citizens while
empowering the executive, which is contrary to the maxim: "the
government that governs best, governs least". Some have pointed out
that extensive lobbying for identity cards
has been undertaken, in countries without compulsory identity
cards, by IT companies who will be likely to reap rich benefits in
the event of an identity card scheme being implemented.
- Cards with centralised database could be used to track anyone's
movements and private life, thus endangering privacy. The proposed British ID card (see next
section) will involve a series of linked databases, to be managed
by the private sector. Managing disparate linked systems using a
range of institutions and any number of personnel is alleged to be
a security disaster in the making.
- A requirement to carry an identity card at all times can lead
to the inconvenience of arbitrary requests from card controllers
(such as the police). This can lead to
functionality creep whereby
carrying a card becomes de facto
if not de jure compulsory, as in
the case of Social Security
numbers in the USA, which are now widely used as ID.
- Government claims that identity cards will prevent crimes may
not be based in fact. The former UK Home
Secretary Charles Clarke conceded
that identity cards may be useful only in the identification of
bodies in the aftermath of a crime. As a strong presumption of
identity is given in favour of a card holder, the identity card
scheme might be an asset to potential terrorists.
- In many cases, other forms of documentation such as a driver's license, passport, or Medicare card serve a similar function on
a more limited scale, and thus an ID card is not needed.
- The cost of introducing and administering an identity card
system can be very high. Figures from £30 (US$60) to £90 or even
higher have been suggested for the proposed UK ID card.
some countries where ID cards were required to show religious
affiliation (as used to be the case in Greece) or ethnic
background, this led to cases of discrimination. Under some
interpretations of Sharia law, apostate Muslims may be sentenced to death.
cards state the religion only if a person's religion is Islam. This can become a
bureaucratic nightmare or even lead to death when a person changes
his or her affiliation.
- Some schemes do not adequately take into account whether
subjects have legitimate reasons to conceal their identity.
Victims of domestic violence, witnesses in criminal investigations
and trials, and others, may not want their identity or locations to
be widely known. Some proposed schemes also do not adequately
address these considerations.
- ID cards could lead to an increase in identity
fraud since it would lead to official reliance on a card or
document that can be forged. No country has ever successfully
produced a totally unforgeable ID card. Also, stolen ID cards have
also been used for identity fraud. Some countries have no
expiration time, so that the photos can be old and unreliable,
making stolen cards easier to use.
- Rather than focus on government-issued ID cards, federal policy
has the alternative to encourage the variety of identification
systems that exist in the private marketplace today. Many of the
private systems already provide better assurance of identity and
trustworthiness than many government-issued ID cards.
According to Privacy
, , possession of identity cards was compulsory in
about 100 countries, though what constitutes "compulsory" varies.
In some countries, it is compulsory to have an identity card when a
person reaches a prescribed age. The penalty for non-possession is
usually a fine, but in some cases it may result in detention until
identity is established. In practice, random checks are rare,
except in certain times.
A number of countries do not have national identity cards.
include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, India (see below),
Zealand, Norway, the
Kingdom and the United States.
A number of countries have voluntary identity card schemes.
include Austria, Finland, France (see
France section), Hungary (however, all citizens of Hungary must have at
least one of: valid passport, photocard driving licence, or the
National ID card), Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland.
States, states issue optional identity cards for people
who do not hold a driver's license as an alternate means of
These cards are issued by the same
organization responsible for driver's licenses, usually called the
Department of Motor
Sahrawi people of Western
Sahara, pre-1975 Spanish identity cards are the main proof
that they were Saharaui citizens as opposed to recent Moroccan
They would thus be allowed to vote in an eventual
Some companies and government departments issue ID cards for
security purposes; they may also be proof of a qualification.
example, all taxicab drivers in the
UK carry ID
Managers, supervisors, and operatives in construction
in the UK have a photographic ID card, the CSCS (Construction
Skills Certification Scheme) card, indicating training and skills
including safety training. Those working on UK railway lands near
working lines must carry a photographic ID card to indicate
training in track safety (PTS and other cards) possession of which
is dependent on periodic and random alcohol and drug screening.
Queensland and Western Australia, anyone working with children has to take a
background check and get issued a
Blue Card or Working with
Children Card, respectively.
In the European Union
, identity cards
meeting a European standard
also be used by European citizens
as a travel document
in place of a
During the UK Presidency of the
EU in 2005
a decision was made to: "Agree common standards for
security features and secure issuing procedures for ID cards
(December 2005), with detailed standards agreed as soon as possible
thereafter. In this respect, the UK Presidency has put forward a
proposal for EU-wide use of biometrics in national ID cards."
above the age of 12 is issued an identity card (carte
d'identité in French, identiteitskaart in Dutch and
Personalausweis in German), and from the age of 15
carrying this card at all times is mandatory.
residing in Belgium similar cards (foreigner's cards,
in Dutch, carte pour étrangers
in French) are issued, although they may also carry a passport, a
work permit or a (temporary) residence permit.
Since 2000, all newly issued Belgian identity cards have a chip
), and roll-out of
these cards is expected to be complete in the course of 2009. Since
early 2009, the aforementioned foreigner's card has also been
replaced by an eID card, containing a similar chip. The eID cards
can be used both in the public and private sector for
identification and for the creation of legally binding electronic
Identity card (Bulgarian - лична карта, lichna karta) is obligatory
at the age of 14. Any person above 14 being checked by the police
without carrying at least some form of identification is liable to
a fine of about 150 Euros.
citizens of the Republic of Cyprus have to get an identity card at the age of
identity card with a photo is issued to all citizens of the
Republic at the age
It is officially recognised by all member states of
the European Union
for intra EU
travel. Travelling outside the EU mostly requires the Czech passport
Danish citizens are not, by law, required to carry an ID card.
is the Danish term for the personal
identification number certificate
. Today this certificate is
of little use in Danish society, as it has been largely replaced by
the much more versatile National Health Insurance Card which
contains the same information and more. The National Health
Insurance Card is issued to all citizens age 12 and above. It is
commonly referred to as an identity card despite the fact it has no
photo of the holder. Both certificates retrieve their information
from the Civil Registration System. However, personnummerbevis is
still issued today and has been since September 1968.
Until 2004, the national debit card Dankort
contained a photo of the holder and was widely accepted as identity
card. The Danish banks lobbied successfully to have pictures
removed from the national debit cards and so since 2004 the Dankort
no longer contains a photo. Hence it is rarely accepted for
A driver's license or passport are the only ID cards issued by the
government containing both the Personal identification
and a photo.
Estonian ID card ( ) is a chipped
picture ID in the Republic of Estonia.
An Estonian ID card is officially
recognised by all member states of the European Union
for intra EU travel. For
travelling outside the EU, Estonian citizens may also require a
In Finland, any citizen can get an identification card
). This, along with
the passport, is one of two official identity documents. It is
available as an electronic ID card (sähköinen
enables logging in to certain government services on the
Driving licenses and KELA
(social security) cards
with a photo are also widely used for general identification
purposes even though they are not officially recognized as such.
However, KELA has ended the practice of issuing social security
cards with the photograph of the bearer, while it has become
possible to embed the social security information onto the national
France has had a national ID card since 1940.
In the past, identity cards were compulsory, had to be updated each
year in case of change of residence, and were valid for 10 years,
and their renewal required paying a fee. Under the Vichy regime
, in addition to the face
photograph, the card included the family name, first names, date
and place of birth, and the national identity number managed by the
national INSEE registry
, which is
also used as the national service registration number as the Social
Security account number for health and retirement benefits, for
access to court files and for tax purposes.
Today, the law (Art. 78-1 to 78-6 of the French Penal Procedure
Code) mentions only that during a ID check performed by police or
gendarmerie, one can prove his identity "by any means", the
validity of which is left to the judgment of the law enforcement
official. Though not stated explicitly in the law, an ID card or a
passport will, in most circumstances, be sufficient. The decision
to accept other documents, with or without the bearer's photograph,
is left to the discretion of the law enforcement officer.
Random checks of passers-by ID by the French police are quite
common, especially in poorer neighborhoods. Even though it is not
compulsory de jure
to carry an ID,
not doing so may lead to a de
arrest (vérification d'identité
) of up to 4
hours according to art. 78-3 of the French Penal Procedure Code
("Code de procédure pénale").
For financial transactions, ID cards and passports are almost
always accepted as proof of identity. Due to common forgery,
driver's licenses are sometimes refused. For transactions by cheque
involving a larger sum, two different ID documents are frequently
requested by merchants.
The current identification cards are now issued free of charge and
optional. The current government has proposed a compulsory
biometric card system, which has been opposed by human rights
groups and by the national authority and regulator on computing
systems and databases, the Commission nationale de
l'informatique et des libertés
Another non-compulsory project is being discussed.
Gibraltar has operated an identity card system since 1943.
The cards issued were originally folded cardboard, similar to the
wartime UK Identity cards abolished in 1950. There were different
colours for British and non-British residents. Gibraltar requires
all residents to hold identity cards, which are issued free.
In 1993 the cardboard ID card was replaced with a laminated
version. However, although valid as a travel document to the UK,
they were not accepted by Spain.
A new version in a EU compliant format was issued and is valid for
use around the EU although as very few are seen there are sometimes
problems in its use, even in the UK. ID cards are accepted
financial transactions, but apart from that and to cross the
frontier with Spain, they are not in common use.
compulsory for all German citizens age
16 or older to possess either a "Personalausweis" (identity card)
or a passport but not to carry one.
While police officers
and some other officials have a right to demand to see one of those
documents, the law does not state that one is obliged to submit the
document at that very moment. But as driver's licences
are not legally accepted
forms of identification in Germany, most persons actually carry
their "Personalausweis" with them.
At present, German ID cards are issued in ISO/IEC 7810
ID-2 format. Beginning in November
2010, German ID cards will be issued in the more common ID-1 format
and can also contain an integrated digital signature, if so
Greek ID card (front)
Greek ID card (back)
A compulsory, universal ID system based on personal ID cards has
been in place in Greece since World War
. ID cards are issued by the police on behalf of the
Headquarters of the Police (previously issued by the Ministry of
Public Order, now incorporated in the Ministry of Internal Affairs)
and display the holder's signature, standardized face photograph,
name and surname, father's name and surname, mother's name and
maiden surname, date and place of birth, height, municipality, and
the issuing police precinct. There are also two optional fields
designed to facilitate emergency medical care: ABO
factor blood typing
Fields included in previous ID card formats, such as vocation or
profession, religious denomination, domiciliary address, name and
surname of spouse, fingerprint, eye and hair color, citizenship and
ethnicity were removed permanently as being intrusive of personal
data and/or superfluous for the sole purpose of personal
, name fields have been filled in
characters. According to the Signpost
Service of the European Commission [reply to Enquiry 36581], old
type Greek ID cards "are as valid as the new type according to
Greek law and thus they constitute valid travel documents that all
other EU Member States are obliged to accept." In addition to being
equivalent to passports within the European Economic Area
, Greek ID
cards are the principal means of identification of voters during
, the procedure to issue an ID card
has been automated and now all citizens over 12 years of age must
have an ID card, which is issued within one work day. Prior to that
date, the age of compulsory issue was at 14 and the whole procedure
could last several months.
In Greece, an ID card is a citizen's most important state document,
as it is used in most public and many private transactions. For
instance, it is required for opening a bank account, to perform
banking transactions if the teller personnel is unfamiliar with the
apparent account holder, to make a contract, to have state
insurance, to register in a school or university, to take part in
driving license examinations, to interact with the Citizen Service
, receive parcels or registered mail etc.
Citizens are also required to produce their ID card at the request
of law enforcement personnel. Failure to do so can lead to brief
detention for the purposes of identity verification.
All the above functions can be fulfilled also with a valid Greek
passport (eg. for people who have lost their ID card and have not
yet applied for a new one, people who happen to carry their
passport instead of their ID card or Greeks who reside abroad and
do not have an identity card, which can be issued only in Greece in
contrast to passports also issued by consular authorities
Legal resident aliens from non-EU
issued a similar document, colloquially called a . For
non-residents, the passport acts as the ID card. EU citizens may
produce any document that is valid in their own country.
Hungarian ID card (obverse).
Hungarian ID card (reverse).
Currently, there are three types of valid ID documents
, abbr. Sz.ig.
) in Hungary:
the oldest valid ones are hard-covered, multipaged book and issued
before 1989 by the People's Republic of Hungary, the second type is
a soft-cover, multipaged book issued after the democratic change of
the state; these two have one, original photo of the owner
embedded, with original signatures of the owner and the local
police's representative. The third type is a plastic card with the
photo and the signature of the holder digitally reproduced. These
are generally called Personal Identity Card.
The plastic card shows the owners full name, maiden name if
applicable, birth date and place, mother's name, sex and the ID's
validity period and the local state authority which issued the
card. The card has a 6 number + 2 letter unique Id. It does not
have any information about the owners residual address, nor his/her
Personal ID—this sensitive information is contained on a separate
card, called Authority ID. The Personal ID has its roots in the
Communist era: it has the following format in numbers: sex (1
number) -birthdate (6 numbers) -unique ID (4 numbers). It is no
longer used as a personal identification number, but a statistical
Other valid documents are the passport (blue colored or red colored
with RFID chip) and the driver's license; an individual is required
to have at least one of them on hand all the time. The Personal
Identity Card is mandatory to vote in state elections or open a
bank account in the country.
All Italian citizens are required by law to have a compulsory
4-page Identity Card issued by the local authority (Comune
) of the town of residence; the Identity
Card is issued obligatorily to any citizen over the age of 18 and
upon request to anybody over the age of 15. The first page includes
the ID card number, the issuing town, and the name and surname. The
second page is an extremely detailed description of the holder's
identity. It is divided in two sections, the upper one giving the
- Cognome: the holder's surname;
- Nome: the holder's given names;
- nato il: born on, i. e. the holder's date of
- (atto n.... P.... S...): the entry
of the holder's birth registration;
- a: at, i.e. the holder's birthplace;
- Cittadinanza: the holder's nationality, as foreigners can obtain an Italian
ID Card if they are permanent residents;
- Residenza: the holder's current place of
- Via: the holder's permanent address;
- Stato Civile: the holder's marital status; this can be
left blank at holder's request;
- Professione: the holder's profession.
Italian ID card
The lower section of the second page is called Connotati e
("Salient features and marks"), and
gives the following details:
- Statura: the holder's height in centimeters;
- Capelli: the holder's hair
- Occhi: the holder's eye
- Segni particolari: any particularly distinctive
features, such as visible scars, etc.; this space may be left blank
unless it is relevant for the identification of the holder due to
particular circumstances (i.e. a criminal record).
The third page includes a colour photograph and the signature of
the holder. It also contains the place and date of issue, official
stamp of the issuing authority and the name and signature of the
issuing officer, p. Il Sindaco
(pp. the Mayor). This
page also has a box to contain the holder's left index fingerprint
, mandatory if he or she has a
The card has a validity of 10 years (after June 2008); the expiry
date is given on the fourth page. The ID number is two letters
followed by seven or more digits, and is unique; it is shown on
both the first and fourth pages.
In Italy, an ID card is the most important document of a citizen.
It can be
used as a valid identification to create a bank account, to
validate a credit card transaction, to vote (mandatory, together
with proper Voter Card), to check in on all flights for either
domestic or EU destinations, etc.;
the Identity Card is also used in lieu of the Passport to enter all
European Union-member Countries and
others in the European area, including Switzerland.
It can be replaced with other documents,
including the driver's licence, for all of these uses except for
voting and for leaving the Country, when it is mandatory to display
the Identity Card (along with the Passport if the citizen is
leaving Italy for a non-EU
destination). It should be noted that an Italian ID card can be
issued as Non valida per l'espatrio
("Not a valid document
to leave the country"), thus acting as a valid identity document
within the Italian territory but not as a valid voucher to leave
Italy, even towards EU Countries. The issue of ID cards not valid
to leave the country is no longer the rule and is a compulsory
practice only if the holder is subject of certain limitations of
personal freedom (i.e. after having been found guilty of certain
crimes) or if he is an underage individual (under 16 years of age);
this last limitation, requiring consent of both parents or tutors
for an underage individual to be issued of a valid ID to leave
Italy, has been introduced to prevent phenomenons like parental abduction
or teenagers' escapes.
Citizens are not required by law to carry the ID card with them at
all times, but since it is instead mandatory for a citizen to have
his ID card when outside his comune
of residence and since
a citizen is required to promptly show the ID card to the
authorities upon request (i.e. for Police controls) or face
possible retention for identification, Italian citizens are
required to have the
Identity Card or another ID with them at all times.
, a new Italian electronic identity card is being planned to be phased in, although its introduction might actually take years due to governmental budgetary constraints. This new electronic ID should actually be a chip card, containing all biometric datas of the holder in an embedded integrated circuit. This could allow remote access to Public Administration services (i.e. issue of certificates) through computer positions, and also prevent counterfeiting and allow Police personnel to check an individual's identity in real-time through specially-issued devices such as PDAs (at present times, if Italian Police personnel wish to check an identity, they must retain the individual while asking by radio an archive control over the ID). Recently (July 2008), the current Italian government has stated they will consider the introduction of mandatory fingerprints on all ID cards as a "buffer" solution to allow better identification of the citizen until the electronic ID card is fully implemented.
All foreigners in Italy are required by law to have an ID with them
at all times. Citizens of EU-member countries must be always ready
to display an identity document that is legally government-issued
in their country. Non-EU aliens must have their Passport with
Customs entrance stamp and/or a paper similar to the American Green Card
called the Permesso di Soggiorno
") released by Italian authorities; while
all the resident/immigrant aliens must have the Permesso di
(otherwise they are illegal and face deportation),
foreigners from certain non-EU countries staying in Italy for a
limited amount of time (typically for tourism) may be only required
to have their passport with proper Customs stamp. Additionally
permanently resident foreigners can ask to be issued an Italian ID
card by the local authorities of their city/town of
Following a change in the law in 2006, Consulates may now issue ID
cards to Italians resident abroad.
Polish citizen over 18 who is resident in Poland must have an
Identity Card (Dowód osobisty) issued by the local
Polish national ID card (front and back)
Other Polish citizens may obtain it on a
Old format of the Portuguese national
ID card (front and back)
Portuguese Cartão de Cidadão
(Citizen's Card) (front and
All Portuguese citizens are required by law to obtain an Identity
Card as they turn 16 years of age. They are not required to carry
with them always but are obligated to present them to the lawful
authorities if requested.The old format of the cards (yellow
laminated paper document) featured the photo, the fingerprint, and
the name of parents. It is currently being replaced by grey plastic
cards with a chip, called Cartão de Cidadão
The new Citizen's Card is technologically more advanced than the
former Identity Card and therefore enjoys the following
- From the physical point of view the Citizen's
Card will have a "smart card" format and will replace the existing
Identity Card, taxpayer card, Social Security card, voter's card
and National Health Service user's card.
- From the visual point of view the front of the
card will display the holder's photograph and basic personal
details. The back will list the numbers under which the holder is
registered with the different bodies whose cards the Citizen's Card
combines and replaces. The back will also contain an optical reader
and the chip.
- From the electronic point of view the card
will have a contact chip, with digital certificates (for electronic
authentication and signature purposes). The chip may also hold the
same information as the physical card itself, together with other
data such as the holder's address.
citizen of Romania must register for an ID card (Carte de
identitate, abbreviated CI) at the age of
The CI offers proof of the identity, address, sex and
other data of the possessor. It has to be renewed every 10
Another ID Card is the Provisional ID Card (Cartea de
) issued when an individual fails
present all the documents necessary for a normal ID Card to be
issued. Its validity extends for up to 1 year.
Slovak ID card ( ) is a picture ID in Slovakia.
Slovak ID card (front and back) New EU
It is issued to citizens of Slovak Republic
that are 15 or older. An Slovak ID card is officially recognised by
all member states of the European
for travel within the EU. For travel outside the EU,
Slovak citizens may also require a passport
Everybody in Spain over 14 must have a National Identity Card
(Documento nacional de identidad
usually abbreviated to
DNI) issued by the National Police. On the front side there is a
black and white photograph, the name and two surnames (see Spanish naming customs
), the bearer's
signature, an id number, the issue date and the expiration date.
Depending on holder's age, the card has a validity of 5 years, 10
years or indefinite (for the elderly).
On the reverse appears the birth date and place, the gender, both
parents' names (if known), and the current address. At the bottom,
some of the previous information is written in special characters
suitable to be read by OCR
The ID number is an eight digit number followed by a letter. The
letter is only a CRC
verify the correctness of the number. This id number is unique, and
is used by the Spanish Hacienda Pública
to keep track of
each citizen's income taxes and financial status.
In Spain, an ID card is the most important document of a citizen.
It is used in all public and private transactions. It is required
to open a bank account, to sign a contract, to have state
insurance, to register in a university or to be fined by a police
officer. It is one of the official documents required to vote at
any election, although any other form of official ID such as a
driving license or passport may be used. A police officer can
require it to be shown, but non-compliance will not lead to arrest
and detention unless there are other lawful reasons for it. If a
policeman requests ID, you can just ask him to come with you to the
place where you keep it.
Since 2006 a new version of the 'DNI' is being introduced. The new
'Electronic DNI' is a Smart card
allows for digital signing of documents. It conveys the same
printed information as the older version, but in a plastic card
with a different design.
Sweden does not have a legal statute for compulsory identity
documents. However ID-cards are regularly used to ascertain a
persons identity when completing certain transactions. These
include but are not limited to banking, age verification. Also
interactions with public authorities often require it, in spite of
the fact that there is no law explicitly requiring it, but there is
no law forbidding an authority to require it. ID-cards have
therefore become an important part of everyday life.
There are currently three public authorities that issue ID-cards.
The tax office (Skatteverket), the Police and the transport board
The tax office cards can only be used within Sweden to validate a
persons identity, but they can be obtained both by Swedish citizens
and those that currently reside in Sweden. A Swedish personal identity
is required. It is possible to get one without having
any Swedish id-card. Then must a person having such a card
guarantee the identity, and the person must be a verifiable
relative or the boss at the company the person has been working for
some time or a few other verifiable people.
The Police can only issue identity documents to Swedish citizens.
They issue an internationally recognised id-card and in addition to
the information on the national id-card they also carry biometric
information and nationality allowing them to be used for
cross-border travel within the Schengen treaty area within Europe.
The police also issue passports to Swedish citizens which are
acceptable as identity documents inside the EU.
The Transport board issues drivers
which are valid as identity documents in Sweden. To
obtain one, one must be approved as a driver and strictly have
another Swedish identity document as proof of identity.
Without Swedish identity documents difficulties can occur accessing
health care services, receiving prescription medications and
getting salaries or grants. From 2008 EU passports have been
accepted for some of these services due to EU legislation, but
non-EU passports are not accepted.
In the past there have been certain groups that have experienced
problems obtaining valid identification documents. This was due to
the initial process that was required to validate one's identity.
Since July 2009, the tax office has begun to issue identity cards
and this has simplified the identity validation process for foreign
passport holders. Still there are requirements for the identity
validation that can cause trouble especially for foreign citizens
but the list of people who can validate one's identiy is
The UK had an identity card during World War 2 as part of a package
of emergency powers invoked and was abolished soon after. The UK
government is progressively introducing compulsory identity cards
for foreign nationals resident in the UK from late 2008. Identity
cards for British nationals will be introduced gradually from 2009
onwards on a voluntary basis and only workers in certain
high-security professions, such as airport workers, will be
required to have an identity card. Driving licences
(particularly the photocard driving licence, introduced in 1998)
are now the most widely used
ID documents. There are also various PASS
-accredited cards, used mainly for proof of age
Identity cards were first proposed in the mid 1980s
for people attending football matches, following
a series of high profile hooliganism
incidents involving English
football fans. However, this proposed identity card scheme
never went ahead as Lord Taylor of
Gosforth ruled it out as "unworkable" in the Taylor Report of 1990.
January 12, 2009 the Government of Albania is issuing a compulsory electronic and biometric ID Card
(Letërnjoftim) for its citizens.
Argentina issues a booklet called Documento Nacional de
Identidad at birth.
1938 identity card of a British-born
citizen Cyril Raikes
At the age of 8, it must be updated
with a picture and right thumb print. At 16, it must be replaced
with a new one. It includes pages for a vote log, military service,
wish to donate organs and legal address change log.
There is also a card named Cédula de Identidad
the federal police, valid in Mercosur
countries; these are also issued by provincial police, but are
valid only in Argentina.
One of these documents is required for driving (in addition to a
driver's license) and using credit or debit cards.
Identification is usually required to purchase alcohol and tobacco,
and to enter nightclubs. Generally, the main form of identification
used is the Australian
Driver Licence; however, some states such as Victoria allow the option for individuals to purchase an
optional "proof-of-age" keycard.
There have been two proposals to introduce ID cards for tax and
social security access in Australia: The Australia Card
in 1985 by the Hawke Labor Government
and the Health and
Social Services Access Card
in 2006 by the Howard Liberal Government
. Although neither card
would have been an official compulsory ID card, they were both
criticised as leading to de facto
ID cards. Ultimately,
both proposals failed. Currently, driver's licences, issued by the
, are the most widely used ID document.
Bangladesh The national Biomatric ID has been done in
Bangladesh within 18 months form the starting.
Election Commission & Bangladesh Army jointly done this work in
2007-2008. It was a tough work when the situation of the country
was terrible. Around 10,000 (Ten Thousands) of computer personal
worked hard day after day to reach the project successful.The
Biomatric Database created will national who is 18years old and
more than 18. The project uses for two different kind of work, one
is National ID preparation work and another one is Preparing a
Voterlist with picture.The National ID card is simple but its full
of electronic data. Combined with Biomatric Database Bangladesh is
the first country to give NID to its nationals in the South Asia. A
Card holder can use the NID card in 22 differents purpose such as,
To get Passport, Driving License, Registry of Land, To get Visa and
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina allows every person over the age of 15 to
apply for an ID card, and all citizens over the age of 18 must have
the national ID card with them at all times. A penalty is issued if
the citizen does not have the acquired ID card on them or if the
citizen refuses to show proof of identification.
In Brazil, at the age of 18, all Brazilian citizens are supposed to
be issued a cédula de identidade
(ID card), usually known
by its number, the Registro Geral (RG)
, Portuguese for
"General Registry". The cards are needed to obtain a job, to vote,
and to use credit cards. Foreigners living in Brazil have a
different kind of ID card. Since the RG is not unique, being issued
in a state-basis, in many places the CPF (the Brazilian revenue
agency's identification number) is used as a replacement. The
current Brazilian driver's license contains both the RG and the
CPF, and as such can be used as an identification card as
There are plans in course to replace the current RG system with a
new Registro de Identidade Civil
Registry), which will be national in scope, and to change the
current ID card with a new smartcard
People's Republic of China
Republic of China is now instituting biometric ID cards, beginning with the city of
The card will document data such as work
history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police
record, medical insurance status, landlord's phone number and
personal reproductive history.
People's Republic of China requires every citizen above the age of
16 to carry an identity card. The card is the only acceptable legal
document to obtain a resident permit, employment, open bank
accounts, obtain passport, driver licence, application for tertiary
education and technical colleges, and in security checkpoints in
domestic terminals of Chinese airports.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Hong Kong Permanent Identity
The Hong Kong Identity Card
) is an official identity document issued by
Department of Hong Kong
to all people who hold the right of
abode, right to land or other forms of limited stay longer than 180
days in Hong Kong. According to Basic Law of Hong Kong
, all Permanent
Residents are eligible to obtain the Hong Kong Permanent
which states that the holder has the
Right of Abode in Hong
Macao Special Administrative Region
Special Administrative Region Resident Identity Card
official identity document issued by the Identification Department
to permanent residents and non-permanent residents.
resident of Colombia over the age of 14 must bear an identity card
(Tarjeta de Identidad).
Upon turning 18 every
resident must obtain a Cédula de Ciudadanía
which is the only document that proves the identity of a person for
legal purposes. ID cards must be carried at all times and must be
presented to the police or military upon request. If the individual
fails to present the ID card upon request by the police or the
military, he/she is most likely going to be detained for 24 hours
at a UPJ (Unidad Permanente de Justicia) even if he/she is not a
suspect of any wrong doing. ID cards are needed to obtain
employment, open bank accounts, obtain a passport, driver's
license, military card, to enroll in educational institutions, vote
or enter public buildings including airports and courthouses.
Failure to produce ID is a misdemeanor punishable with a
ID cards are free of charge, and duplicates are also free.
Rican citizen must carry an identity card after turning
The card is named Cédula de Identidad
and it is
issued by the local elections committee (Tribunal Supremo de
). Each card has a unique number composed of nine
numerical digits, the first of them being the province where the
citizen was born (with other significance in special cases such as
granted citizenship to foreigners, adopted persons or in rare cases
with old people where no birth certificate was processed at birth)
after this digit, two block of four digits follows, the combination
corresponds to the unique identifier of the citizen.
It is widely requested as part of every legal and financial
purpose, often requested at payment with credit
or debit cards
for identification guarantee and requested for buying alcoholic
beverages, cigarettes or upon entrance to an adults-only place like
The card must be renewed every ten years and is freely issued again
if lost. Among the information included there are, in the front,
two identification pictures and digitized signature of the owner,
identification number (Known colloquially just as the
), first name, first and second-last names and an
optional known as
field. In the back there is again the
identification number, birth date, where the citizen issues its
vote for national elections or referendums, birth place, gender,
date when must be renewed and a matrix code that includes all this
information and even a digitized fingerprint of the thumb and index
The matrix code is not currently being used nor inspected by any
kind of scanner.
Besides this identification card, every vehicle driver must carry a
driver's license, an additional card that uses the identification
number for the driving license number. A passport is also
Every resident of Chile over the age of 18 must have and carry at
all times their ID Card called Cédula de Identidad
by the Civil Registry and Identification Service. It contains the
full name, gender, nationality, date of birth, photograph of the
data subject, right thumb print, ID number, and personal
This is the only official form of identification for residents in
Chile and is widely used and accepted as such. It is necessary for
every contract, most bank transactions, voting, driving (along with
the driver's licence) and other public and private
Refusal to carry or show this ID card to a law enforcement agent
(civil or uniformed
lead to detention up to 6 hours or until the identity can be
Croatian citizens over the age of 15 may request an Identity Card.
All persons over the age of 16 must have an Identity Card and carry
it at all times outside their place of residence. Refusal to carry
or produce an Identity Card to a police officer can lead to a fine
of 100 kuna
or more and detention
until the individual's identity can be verified by
Croatia is currently in the process of replacing the Unique Citizen
Identity Number (JMBG) and the Identity Card Number with a unified
Personal Identification Number (OIB) which complies with EU
regulations on character length and the ISO 7064 standard.
Currently, the OIB is to be used concurrently with the JMBG and
Identity Card Number, thought OIB is due to become the only
nationally used Identity Number on 1
A "Cédula de identidad y electoral" is a national ID that is also
used for voting. Each "Cédula de identidad y electoral" has its own
unique number, composed by the serial of the municipality of issue
and a secuential number. This National ID card is required for
people aged 16 and older, and they must carry it on with their
person at all times. It is required for job applications, contracts
and so on. It is issued free of charge by the Junta Central
In El Salvador, ID Card is called Documento Unico de Identidad
(DUI) (Unique Identity Document). Every citizen above 18 years must
carry this ID for identification purposes at any time. It is not
based on a smartcard but on a standard plastic card with
two-dimensional bar-coded information with picture and
January 2009, the National Registry of Persons (RENAP) in Guatemala began offering a new identity document in place of
the Cédula de Vecindad (neighborhood identity document) to
all Guatemala citizens and foreigners.
The new document is
called "Documento Personal de Identification" (DPI) (Personal
Identity Document). It's based on a smartcard with a chip and
includes an electronic signature and several measures against
multi-purpose national identity cards, carrying 16 personal details
and a unique identification number, were launched in Delhi on Saturday
26 May 2007.
set of the microchip-based cards were distributed to residents of
Pooth Khurd area in North Delhi by Registrar General of India D.K.
Sikri. The North Delhi area is one of the 20 localities selected
for the pilot
project on the
multi-purpose national identity cards.
The identity cards, issued to citizens above 18 years of age, are
secured electronic devices to be used for providing a credible
individual identification system for improving the
citizen-Government interface. The new card seeks to provide an
individualised identification system. Inside it is a microprocessor
chip, a finger biometric and a digital signature. On it are details
of the holder's date and place of birth and a unique 16-digit
National Identification Number. The Government decided in November
2003 to implement the pilot project in selected areas of 12 States
and one union territory. The card's makers say it cannot be
tampered with or duplicated, but they admit making ID cards for a
billion-plus population will be a huge task. The chip not being “
produced in India, it has to be outsourced and there’s tremendous
challenge to the industry,” said Deputy Director General MNIC, S K
Chakrabarti. The pilot project is currently under way in
selected sub-districts of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttar
Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil
Bengal and Puducherry.
The card has a SCOSTA micro-processor chip
with a memory of 16 KB which is secured against tampering.
All citizens who are 18 yrs above will be issued biometric Unique id card
) by 2011-2012.
Citizens over 17 are required to have the KTP (Kartu Tanda
Penduduk) identity card.
Every permanent resident of Iran above the age of 15, whether a
citizen or not, must hold a valid National Identity Card
:کارت ملی) or at least
obtain their unique National Number
from any of the local
branches of the Ministry of Interior
In order to apply for an NID card, the applicant must be at least
15 years old and have a picture attached to their Birth Certificate
- which is done by the
Starting June 21, 2008, the NID cards are compulsory for many
things in Iran and Iranian Missions abroad (e.g. obtaining a
passport, driver's license, any banking procedure,etc.)
citizen must have a
personal/national card ( ) in Arabic
. From April 2009, a new card called
Iraqi National Identity Card
will be issued.
Israeli law requires every permanent resident above the age of 16,
whether a citizen or not, to carry an identification card called
( ) in Hebrew
( ) in Arabic
The card is designed in a bilingual form, printed in Hebrew and
Arabic, but the personal data is presented only in Hebrew. The card
must be presented to an official on duty (e.g. a policeman) upon
request, but if the resident is unable to do this, one may contact
the relevant authority within five days to avoid a penalty.
Until the mid-1990s,the identification card was considered the only
legally reliable document for many actions such as voting, opening
a bank account, etc. Since then, the new Israeli driver's licenses
which include photos and some extra personal information are now
considered equally reliable for most of these transactions. In
other situations any government-issued photo ID, such as a passport
or a military ID, may suffice.
Japanese citizens are not required to have identification documents
with them within the territory of Japan. When necessary, official
documents, such as driving licence
student ID, social insurance card or passport are generally used
and accepted. On the other hand, foreigners are required to carry
their passport unless they have an Alien registration card
The Macedonian identity card ( ) is a compulsory identity document
issued in the Republic of Macedonia. The document is issued by the
police on behalf of the Ministry of Interior.
Malaysia, the MyKad, or Government
Multipurpose Card, (GMPC) is the official compulsory
It is regarded as the world's first smart
identity card. Part of the Multimedia Super Corridor
applications, it was officially launched on 5 September 2001 and
incorporates a microchip
contains several items of data including biometrics
. As of 2006, MyKad has eight current
and several planned applications which are mostly related to proof
of identity or electronic money
From March 2003, a variant issuable to newborn babies was
introduced, known as MyKid
Mauritius requires all citizens who have reached the age of 18 to
apply for a National Identity Card. The National Identity Card is
one of the few accepted forms of identification, along with
passports. A National Identiy Card is needed to apply for a
passport for all adults, and all minors must take with them the
National Identity Card of a parent when applying for a
Not mandatory, but needed in almost all official documents,
is the standarized version of an Identity
document. it actually could be a printed green wallet-sized card or
simply a 18-character identification key printed on a birth or
death certificate.Contrary to in almost all other countries, CURP
has been awarded to almost all minors, since government and most
private school request that number to the parents for having a data
base of all the children. Also, minors will have to present their
when asking for a passport or being
registered at Public Health services by their parents.
Most adults need that personal number too, since it is required for
almost all governmental paperwork like tax declaration, and
passport requests. Most companies ask for the CURP, voter's card,
or passport rather than birth certificates .
To have a CURP issued for a person, a Birth Certificate must be
presented to the issuing authorities to proof that the information
giving at the application is true. If foreigners try to apply for a
CURP, they must present the document that gives the right to be
legally residing in Mexico. Foreign-born Mexican naturalized
citizens must present their naturalization certificate.On 21 August
2008 the Mexican cabinet passed the national security act, which
oblige all Mexican citizens to have a biometric identity card,
called Citizen Identity Card (Cédula de identidad ciudadana) before
On 13 Feb
2009 the Mexican government designated the state of Tamaulipas to start procedures for issuing a pilot program of
the national Mexican id card .
Although the CURP is de jure
official identification document in Mexico, the Federal Electoral
Institute's voting card is the de
official identification and proof of legal age for
citizens of ages 18 and older.On the 28 th of July 2009 the Mexican
president felipe calderon in front of the Mexican house of
representatives annonced the launch of the Mexican national
Identity card project which will issue the first card before the
end of the current year.
Montenegro every resident citizen over the age of 14 can have
their Lična karta
issued, and all persons over the age of 18 must have ID cards and
carry them at all times when they are in public places.
It can be
used for international travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia instead of
Montenegrin national ID card
Legal forms of identification in New Zealand (for purchase of
alcohol and cigarettes) are New Zealand and overseas passport, New
Zealand Drivers license, and 18+ card from the Hospitality
Association. All need to be applied for, for a fee.
Pakistan, all adult citizens must register for the
Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC), with a unique number,
at age 18. CNIC serves as an identification document to
authenticate an individual's identity as the citizen of Pakistan.
Specimen Pakistan ID card
Earlier on, National Identity Card (NIC) were issued to citizens of
Pakistan. Now government has shifted all its existing records of
National Identity Cards (NIC) to the central computerized database
managed by NADRA
.New CNIC's are machine
readable and have security features such as facial and finger print
Documento Nacional de Indentidad (National
Identity Document), is the only instrument of identification
for civil, legal, commercial, administrative and judicial acts; to
vote and to be submitted to any authority in Peru.
Peruvian Documento Nacional de Identidad.
is given by the RENIEC
and its tramitation is
mandatory to all Peruvian citizens over the age of 18.
The DNI is a public, personal and untransferable document. It is
awarded to all Peruvians born within or outside the territory of
the Republic. For Peruvians abroad service is provided through the
Consulates of Peru, in accordance with Articles 26, 31 and 8 of Law
The DNI can be used as a passport to travel to all South American
countries members of The UNASUR
As of March 15, 2005, is approved (by Resolution Jefatural No.
356-2005-JEF/RENIEC) international standard ISO format ID-1 format
to replace the ISO ID-2. While it is issued from March 18 of that
year, the change is not mandatory nor loses force the previous
The Philippine Government had plans for a single national ID system
but it has abandoned the plan due to several protests from civil
society groups regarding the privacy of citizens. Instead, the
Security ID, Postal ID, Driving
, or School ID are commonly accepted identification
documents for citizens.
resident citizen over the age of 10 can have their Lična karta issued, and all persons
over the age of 16 must have ID cards and carry them at all times
when they are in public places. It can be used for
international travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro instead of the passport.
Singapore, every citizen, and permanent resident (PR) must
register at the age of 15 for an Identity Card (IC).
card is necessary not only for procedures of state but also in the
day-to-day transactions of registering for a mobile phone line,
obtaining certain discounts at stores, and logging on to certain
websites on the internet. Schools frequently use it to identify
students, both on-line and in exams.
All South African citizens
and permanent residents
, aged 16 years and older, must be in
possession of an identity document. The South African identity
document resembles a passport but is not valid as a travel document
or outside South Africa. Although carrying the document is not
required in daily life,
it is necessary to show the document or a certified copy as proof
of identity when:
- Signing any contract, including
- Opening or closing a bank account
- Taking up employment
- Registering at a school or university
- Applying for a mobile phone
- Interacting with most government agencies, including
- Applying for or renewing a driver's license
- Applying for a passport
- Applying for any social grants
- Registering to vote, and voting in elections
Lanka, all citizens over the age of 16 need to apply for
a National Identity Card (NIC).
Each NIC has a unique 10
digit number, in the format 000000000A (where 0 is a digit and A is
a letter). The first two digits of the number are your year of
birth (eg: 93xxxxxxxx for someone born in 1993). The final letter
is generally a 'V' or 'X'. An NIC number is required to apply for a
passport (over 16), driving license (over 18) and to vote (over
18). In addition, all citizens are required to carry their NIC on
them at all times as proof of identity, given the security
situation in the country. NICs are not issued to non-citizens, who
are still required to carry some form of photo identification (such
as a photocopy of their passport or foreign driving license) at all
Republic of China ("Taiwan")
"Republic of China National Identification Card" ( ) is issued to
all Republic of
China citizens who have a household registration in the
The Identification Card is used for virtually all
other activities that require identity verification within Taiwan
such as opening bank accounts, renting apartments, employment application
voting. It is the possession of the Republic of China National
Identification Card and not
the ROC Passport which grants
the holder the right of abode
the Taiwan Area.
The Identification Card contains the holder's photo, ID
, Chinese name, and (Minguo
) date of birth.
The back of the card also contains the person's registered address
where official correspondence is sent, parents', and even spouse's
If the person moves, one must re-register at a municipal office (
Unlike the Republic of China passport which can be issued overseas
Economic and Cultural Representative Offices
, the National
Identification Card is issued only in Taiwan at municipal offices.
Dual Passport holders that have a household registration can apply
for the Identification Card only after they enter Taiwan using a
Republic of China Passport.
United Arab Emirates
Emirates Identity Authority is
responsible for the processing of residents and nationals for the
mandatory identity card and population register in the United Arab
The United States does not have a national identity card, however,
driver's licenses issued by the respective state governments have
become the de facto identity card for several purposes, including
purchasing alcohol and tobacco, opening bank accounts, and boarding
planes. Individuals who do not drive are able to obtain an
identification card with the same functionality from the same state
agency that issues driver's licenses.
The United States passed a bill entitled the REAL ID Act
on May 11, 2005. The bill compels
states to begin redesigning their driver's licenses to comply with
federal security standards by December 2009. Federal agencies would
reject licenses or identity cards that do not comply, which would
force Americans accessing everything from airplanes to national
parks and some courthouses to have the federally mandated cards. At
airports, those not having compliant licenses or cards would simply
be redirected to a secondary screening location. The REAL ID Act is
highly controversial, and with 25 states have approved either
resolutions or binding legislation not to participate in the
program, and with President Obama's selection of Janet Napolitano (a prominent critic of the
program) to head the Department of Homeland
Security, the future of the law remains uncertain, and bills
have been introduced into Congress to amend or repeal it.
The most recent of these, dubbed PASS ID
would eliminate many of the more burdensome technological
requirements but still require states to meet federal standards in
order to have their ID cards accepted by federal agencies.
The bill takes place as governments are growing more interested in
implanting technology in ID cards to make them smarter and more
secure. In 2006, the U.S. State Department studied issuing
passports with Radio-frequency
, or RFID, chips embedded in them. Virginia may
become the first state to glue RFID tags into all its driver's
licenses. Seventeen states, however, have passed statutes opposing
or refusing to implement the Real ID Act.
Uruguayan Cédula de Identidad.
All Uruguayan citizens must have a national identity card—known as
a Cédula de Identidad—from birth. The card contains the bearer's
name, photo, right thumb print, as well as place and date of birth.
Cards must be renewed every 5 years until the bearer turns 20 and
then, from then on, every 10 years. It can be used in place of a
passport to travel into Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and
Paraguay. A separate, multi-paged document, used as identification
to vote in elections, must be obtained by all Uruguayans over the
age of 18, and is known as the "Credencial Cívica".
- http://www.cato.org/pubs/handbook/hb109/hb_109-27.pdf, Cato
Handbook, December 2004
- Gibraltar ID cards
- LEGGE 27 dicembre 2006 n. 296 Disposizioni
per la formazione del bilancio annuale e pluriennale dello Stato
(legge finanziaria 2007) at 1319 (Gazzetta
Ufficiale n. 299 del 27 dicembre 2006 - Supplemento ordinario
- Sagem Sècuritè to produce Albanian biometric passports and
- China Enacting a High-Tech Plan to Track People -
New York Times
- Serbian new biometric ID card
- Obama will inherit a real mess on Real ID
- H.R. 1117: REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security
Enhancement Act of 2007
- Real Nightmare