Identity document

Identity document

An identity document (also called a piece of identification or ID, or colloquially as one's 'papers') 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 identity card (IC). 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 driving licences as the most effective method of proof of identity. Most countries accept passports as a form of identification.

Most countries have the rule that foreign citizens need to have their passport or occasionally a national identity card from their country available at any time if they do not have residence permit in the country.

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. New technologies could allow identity cards to contain biometric information, such as photographs, face, hand or iris measurements, or fingerprints. Electronic identity cards or e-IDs are already available in some territories such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Portugal, Morocco and Spain.

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 smartcards.

In the United 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 liberties. Most criticism is directed towards the enhanced possibilities of extensive abuse of centralised and comprehensive databases storing sensitive data. A 2006 survey of UK Open University students concluded that the planned compulsory identity card under the Identity Cards Act 2006 coupled with a central government database generated the most negative attitudinal response among several alternative configurations.[1]

Arguments for

  • In order to avoid mismatching people, and to fight fraud, there should be way, as a secure as possible, to prove a persons identity.
  • Every human being already carries one's own personal identification in the form of one's DNA, which cannot 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 purposes.[2][3][4][5][6]

Arguments against

Arguments against identity documents as such:

  • 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. However, this argument is also refuted, because in countries like Chile the identity card only costs up to 6 pounds.[7]

Arguments against national identity documents:

  • 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.[8]

Arguments against overuse or abuse of identity documents:

  • 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.[9]

National policies

According to Privacy International, as of 1996, 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. These include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, India (see below), Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.

A number of countries have voluntary identity card schemes. These 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 and Switzerland. The United Kingdom's scheme was scrapped in January 2011 and the database was destroyed.

In the United States, states issue optional identity cards for people who do not hold a driver's license as an alternate means of identification. These cards are issued by the same organization responsible for driver's licenses, usually called the Department of Motor Vehicles.

For the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara, pre-1975 Spanish identity cards are the main proof that they were Saharaui citizens as opposed to recent Moroccan colonists. They would thus be allowed to vote in an eventual self-determination referendum.

Some companies and government departments issue ID cards for security purposes; they may also be proof of a qualification. For example, all taxicab drivers in the UK carry ID cards. 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. In 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.



It is compulsory for all Egyptian citizens age 16 or older to possess ID card (Arabic:betaket tahkik shakhsia)for:

  • Opening or closing a bank account
  • Registering at a school or university
  • Buying a mobile phone and registering the number
  • Interacting with most government agencies, including:
    • Applying for or renewing a driver's license
    • Applying for a passport
    • Applying for any social services or grants
    • Registering to vote, and voting in elections
    • Registering as a taxpayer

some issue about the quality of the photo , religion and name of husband in married women ID


Every citizen of Tunisia should get an ID card by the age of 18. But it still possible to get it earlier with the agreement of one of the parents.

Gambia, The

All Gambian citizens 18 years of age and older are required to have a Gambian National Identity Card. In July 2009, a new biometric Identity card was introduced. A biometric National Identity card is one of the acceptable documents required to apply for a Gambian Driver License.


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 passport.[10]

South Africa

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 some contracts, including
    • Opening or closing a bank account
    • Registering at a school or university
    • Buying a mobile phone and registering the number
  • Interacting with most government agencies, including
    • Applying for or renewing a driver's license or firearm licence
    • Applying for a passport
    • Applying for any social services or grants
    • Registering to vote, and voting in elections
    • Registering as a taxpayer or for unemployment insurance

The South African "ID Book" used to also contain driving and firearm licences, but these documents are now issued separately in a card format.


Zimbabweans are required to apply for National Registration at the age of sixteen. They are issued with an aluminium card with a photograph and their particulars anodised onto it. Along with drivers licences, the National Registration Card is universally accepted as proof of identity in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans are required by law to carry positive identification on them at all times, and visitors to Zimbabwe are expected to carry passports.



Biometric identification has existed in Bangladesh since 2008. All Bangladeshis who are 18 years of age and older are included in a central Biometric Database, which is used by the Bangladesh Election Commission to oversee the electoral procedure in Bangladesh. All Bangladeshis are issued with an NID Card which can be used to obtain a passport, driving licence, credit card, and to register land ownership.

China, People's Republic of

Sample of the second generation ID card issued in Mainland China

The 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

The Hong Kong Identity Card (or HKID) is an official identity document issued by the Immigration 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 Identity Card which states that the holder has the right of abode in Hong Kong.


Multi-purpose national identity cards, carrying 16 personal details and a unique identification number are issued to citizens above 18 years of age since 2007. Biometric data such as fingerprints and a digital signature are contained in a microchip embedded in the card. On it are details of the holder's date and place of birth and a unique 16-digit National Identification Number. The card has a SCOSTA micro-processor chip with a memory of 16 KB which is secured against tampering.[11]


Residents over 17 are required to have the KTP (Kartu Tanda Penduduk) identity card. The card will identify the citizenship whether as Indonesian citizen or Foreign citizen.

The government starts a two-year ID issuance campaign (starting 2011) that utilise smartcard technology and biometric deduplication of fingerprint and iris. This ID, so called, Electronic KTP (e-KTP), will replace the conventional ID (KTP) in the beginning of 2013. By 2013, approximately 172 million residences would have e-KTP issued to them.


Every permanent resident of Iran above the age of 15, whether a citizen or not, must hold a valid National Identity Card (Persian:کارت ملی) or at least obtain their unique National Number from any of the local Vital Records 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 Vital Records.

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.)[12]


Every Iraqi citizen must have a personal/national card (البطاقة الشخصية) in Arabic.


Israeli law requires every permanent resident above the age of 16, whether a citizen or not, to carry an identification card called te'udat zehut (Hebrew: תעודת זהות‎) in Hebrew or biţāqat huwīya (بطاقة هوية) 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, basic resident registration card [5], radio operator licence [6], 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 Macau Special Administrative Region Resident Identity Card is an official identity document issued by the Identification Department to permanent residents and non-permanent residents.


MyKad of Malaysia (front and back)

In Malaysia, the MyKad, or Government Multipurpose Card, (GMPC) is the official compulsory identity card. It is regarded as the world's first smart identity card. Part of the Multimedia Super Corridor flagship applications, it was officially launched on 5 September 2001 and incorporates a microchip, which 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.

Malaysia has had an Identity Card system in place since the 50s. Prior to the launch of the MyKad, the Malaysian identity card was called Kad Pengenalan Malaysia. Citizens above the age of 12 are required to apply for an identity card, and are required to renew the card at the age of 18.


Specimen Pakistan ID card

In 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.

Earlier on, National Identity Cards (NICs) 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 informantion.


In Singapore, every citizen, and permanent resident (PR) must register at the age of 15 for an Identity Card (IC). The 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.[13]

Sri Lanka

In Sri 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 (e.g.: 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 times. At time the Postal ID card may also be used.

Republic of China (Taiwan)

Frontside of ID card issued in Taiwan
Backside of ID card issued in Taiwan

The "Republic of China National Identification Card" (Chinese: 中華民國國民身分證) is issued to all Republic of China citizens who have a household registration in the Taiwan Area. The Identification Card is used for virtually all other activities that require identity verification within Taiwan such as opening bank accounts, renting apartments, employment applications and 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 within the Taiwan Area.

The Identification Card contains the holder's photo, ID number, Chinese name, and (Minguo calendar) 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 names.

If the person moves, one must re-register at a municipal office (Chinese: 戶政事務所).

Unlike the Republic of China passport which can be issued overseas at Taipei 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 Emirates.


European Union

Within the European Union, identity cards meeting a European standard can also be used by European citizens as a travel document in place of a passport.

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."[14]


In Belgium, everyone 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. For foreigners residing in Belgium similar cards (foreigner's cards, vreemdelingenkaart 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 (eID card), 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 signatures.

Bulgarian ID card.
Bulgarian national non-biometric identity card (new version)

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 25 Euros (50 Bulgarian leva).


Legal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus have to get an identity card at the card at the age of 21.

Czech Republic

An identity card with a photo is issued to all citizens of the Czech Republic at the age of 15. 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.


Denmark is one of few EU countries that currently does not issue national ID cards (not counting driver's licenses and passports issued for other purposes).

Danish citizens are not, by law, required to carry an ID card. A traditional identity document (without photo), the personal identification number certificate (Danish:Personnummerbevis) is of little use in Danish society, as it has been largely replaced by the much more versatile National Health Insurance Card (Danish:Sundhedskortet) 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, the 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 an 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 identification.

Danish driver's licenses and passports are the only ID cards issued by the government containing both the personal identification number and a photo. A foreign citizen without driving skills living in Denmark can not get such documents. Foreign driver's licenses and passports are accepted with limitations.


The Estonian ID card (Estonian: ID-kaart) 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 passport.

The card's chip stores a key pair, allowing users to cryptographically sign digital documents based on principles of public key cryptography using DigiDoc. Under Estonian law, since 15 December 2000 the cryptographic signature is legally equivalent to a manual signature.

The Estonian ID card is also used for authentication in Estonia's ambitious Internet-based voting programme. In February 2007, Estonia was the first country in the world to institute electronic voting for parliamentary elections. Over 30 000 voters participated in the country's e-election.[15]


In Finland, any citizen can get an identification card (henkilökortti/identitetskort). This, along with the passport, is one of two official identity documents. It is available as an electronic ID card (sähköinen henkilökortti/elektroniskt identitetskort), which enables logging in to certain government services on the Internet.

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 ID card.

The front side of a French national identity card

France has had a national ID card for all citizens since the beginning of World War II in 1940. Some compulsory identity documents were created before for some categories of workers from 1803 to 1890, nomads in 1912 and foreigners in 1917 during World War I.

National identity cards were first issued as the carte d'identité Française under the law of October 27, 1940, and were compulsory for everyone over the age of 16. Identity cards were valid for 10 years, had to be updated within a year in case of change of residence, and their renewal required paying a fee. Under the Vichy regime, in addition to the face photograph, the family name, first names, date and place of birth, the card included the national identity number managed by the national statistics INSEE, 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. Under the decree 55-1397 of October 22, 1955[16][17] a revised non-compulsory card, the carte nationale d'identité (CNI) was introduced.

The law (Art. 78-1 to 78-6 of the French Code of criminal procedure (Code de procédure pénale)[18]) mentions only that during a ID check performed by police, gendarmerie or customs, 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, a driving licence, a passport, a visa, a Carte de Séjour, a voting card are sufficient according to jurisprudency. The decision to accept other documents, with or without the bearer's photograph, like a Social Security card, a travel card or a bank card, is left to the discretion of the law enforcement officer.

According to Art. 78-2 of the French Penal Procedure Code ID checks are only possible:[19]

  • alineas 1 & 2 : if you are the object of inquiries or investigations, have committed, prepared or attempted to commit an offence, a misdemeanour or a felony or if you are able to give informations about it (contrôle judiciaire);[20]
  • alinea 4 : until 20 km from the French borders and in the ports, airports and railway stations open to international traffic (contrôle aux frontières);[21]
  • alinea 3 : whatever the person's behaviour, to prevent a breach of public order and in particular an offence against the safety of persons or property (contrôle administratif).[22]

The last case allows checks of passers-by ID by the police, especially in neighborhoods with a higher criminality rate which are often the poorest at the condition, according to the Cour de cassation, that the policeman doesn't refer only to "general and abstract conditions" but to "particular circumstances able to caracterise a risk of breach of public order and in particular an offence against the safety of persons or property" (Cass. crim. 05/12/1999, n°99-81153, Bull., n°95).

In case of necessity to establish your identity, not being able to prove it "by any means" (for example the legality of a road trafic procès-verbal depends of it), may lead to a temporary arrest (vérification d'identité) of up to 4 hours for the time strictly required for ascertaining your identity according to art. 78-3 of the French Code of criminal procedure (Code de procédure pénale).[18]

For financial transactions, ID cards and passports are almost always accepted as proof of identity. Due to possible 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, CNIL. Another non-compulsory project is being discussed.

Specimen of a German identity card issued since November 2010.

It is 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, some people choose to carry their Personalausweis with them.

Beginning in November 2010, German ID cards are issued in the ID-1 format and can also contain an integrated digital signature, if so desired. Until October 2010, German ID cards were issued in ISO/IEC 7810 ID-2 format.


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.[citation needed]

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 II. 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 and Rhesus 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 identification.

Since 2000, name fields have been filled in both Greek and Latin 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 elections.

Since 2005, 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.[citation needed] 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. For instance, it is required to perform banking transactions if the teller personnel is unfamiliar with the apparent account holder, to interact with the Citizen Service Bureaus (KEP), receive parcels or registered mail etc. Citizens are also required to produce their ID card at the request of law enforcement personnel.

All the above functions can be fulfilled also with a valid Greek passport (e.g. 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 abroad).

Hungarian ID card (obverse).
Hungarian ID card (reverse).

Currently, there are three types of valid ID documents (Személyi igazolvány, abbr. Sz.ig.) in Hungary: the oldest valid ones are hard-covered, multipage booklets and issued before 1989 by the People's Republic of Hungary, the second type is a soft-cover, multipage booklet issued after the change of regime; 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, 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. Personal IDs have been compulsory since 1975: it has the following format in numbers: sex (1 number) – birth date (6 numbers) – unique ID (4 numbers). It is no longer used as a personal identification number, but as a statistical signature.

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.

ID cards are issued to permanent residents of Hungary; if he is a foreign citizen, the card has a different color.


All Italian citizens can request an identity card issued by the municipality in which they live. The card lasts ten years and is a valid document to leave the country when travelling to another EU country.[23] It is not compulsory to carry the card itself, as the authorities only have the right to ask for the identity of a person, not for a specific document. However, if public-security officers are not convinced of the claimed identity, such as may be the case for a verbally provided identity claim, they may arrest the claimant until his/her identity is ascertained;[24] such an arrest is limited to the time necessary for identification and has no legal consequence.

Italian classic ID card, front page

A classic Italian identity card (now in the process of being replaced by a newer template) has four pages, containing:

  1. Issuing municipality, card number and owner's name and surname;
  2. Owner's name, surname, birth date and place, citizenship, city of residence, address, civil status (optional) and profession; in addition, physical features such as height, hair and eye color, and any other particular feature not visible from the photo (e.g. having a twin or being an amputee) can be noted;
  3. Photo and signature of the owner, date of issue and stamp of the issuing municipality.
  4. Expiration date and card number.

A field for fingerprints has been present for a long time at the bottom of the third page, but is rarely if ever used. Also, physical features are normally not measured rigorously, but are just verbally asked to the applicant (such as height) or quickly ascertained by administrative personnel on the spot, with no checks for hair dying or cosmetic lenses.

New Italian electronic identity card

The classic Italian ID card is made of paper, not plastic, and its lamination with plastic pouches is explicitly forbidden, because it defeats some anti-forging techniques.[25] Lamination of ID cards was popular and widely practiced until the current prohibition was introduced, because of the low quality of the employed paper, which tends to break apart after a few months in a wallet. Removable pouches are often employed to limit damage, but the odd size of the card (about 1 cm larger than a plastic credit card in both directions) makes it difficult to store it easily in a wallet. Furthermore, the usage of paper makes the card easy to forge, and foreign countries outside the EU sometimes refuse to accept it as a valid document. These common criticism were considered in the development of the Italian electronic identity card, which is in the more common credit-card format.

All foreigners in Italy are required by law to have an ID with them at all times[citation needed]. Citizens of EU member countries must be always ready to display an identity document that is legally government-issued in their country. Non-EU residents must have their passport with customs entrance stamp or a residence permit issued by Italian authorities; while all the resident/immigrant aliens must have a residence permit (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 residence.


Dutch citizens from the age of 14 are required to be able to show a valid identity document upon request by a police officer or similar official. Furthermore, identity documents are required when opening bank accounts and upon start of work for a new employer. Official identity documents for residents in the Netherlands are:

For the purpose of identification in public (but not for other purposes), also a Dutch driving license serves as an identity document. In the Caribbean Netherlands, the Dutch Identity Card is not valid; and the Identity card BES is an obligatory document for all residents.

Polish national ID card (front and back)

Every Polish citizen over 18 who is resident in Poland must have an Identity Card (Dowód osobisty) issued by the local administration. Other Polish citizens may obtain it on a voluntary basis.

Old format of the Portuguese national ID card (front and back)

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 (Citizen's Card).


The new Citizen's Card is technologically more advanced than the former Identity Card and therefore enjoys the following characteristics:

  • 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.
Specimen of a Romanian identity card issued since 2009.

Every citizen of Romania must register for an ID card (Carte de identitate, abbreviated CI) at the age of 14. The CI offers proof of the identity, address, sex and other data of the possessor. It has to be renewed every 10 years. It can be used instead of a passport for travel inside the European Union and several other countries outside the EU.

Another ID Card is the Provisional ID Card (Cartea de Identitate Provizorie) issued temporarily when an individual cannot get a normal ID Card for some reason. Its validity extends for up to 1 year.

Other forms of officially accepted identification include the driver's license and the birth certificate. However, these are accepted only in limited circumstances and cannot take the place of the ID Card in most cases. In particular, the ID Card is mandatory for dealing with government institutions, banks or currency exchange shops. Some of these may also accept a valid passport but usually only for foreigners.

In addition, citizens can be expected to provide the personal identification number (CNP) in many circumstances; purposes range from simple unique identification and internal book-keeping (for example when drawing up the papers for the warranty of purchased goods) to being asked for identification by the police. The CNP is 13 characters long, with the format S-YY-MM-DD-RR-XXX-Y. Where S is the sex, YY is year of birth, MM is month of birth, DD is day of birth, RR is a regional id, XXX is a unique random number and Y is a control digit.

Presenting the ID Card is preferred but not mandatory when asked by police officers; however, in such cases people are expected to provide a CNP or alternate means of identification which can be checked on the spot (via radio if needed).

The information on the ID Card is required to be kept updated by the owner; current address of domicile in particular. Doing otherwise can expose the citizen to certain fines or be denied service by those institutions that require a valid, up to date Card. In spite of this, it is common for people to let the information lapse or go around with expired ID Cards.

A new electronic ID Card is under project of implementation and should be fully implemented by 2014.

Slovak ID card (front and back) New EU template

The Slovak ID card (Slovak: Občiansky preukaz) is a picture ID in Slovakia. 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 Union for travel within the EU. For travel outside the EU, Slovak citizens may also require a passport, which is a legally accepted form of picture ID as well. Police officers and some other officials have a right to demand to see one of those documents, and the law states that one is obliged to submit such a document at that very moment. If one fails to comply, law enforcement officers are allowed to insist on personal identification at the police department.

Specimen of a Spanish electronic ID card.

Contrary to popular belief you are not required to always carry your ID card in Spain CONSULTA AL MINISTERIO DE INTERIOR SOBRE PORTAR EL DNI. Everybody in Spain over 14 must acquire a National Identity Card (Documento nacional de identidad usually abbreviated to DNI) issued by the National Police in ID-1 (bank-card) format. 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. On the reverse appears the birth date and place, the gender, both parents' names (if known), and the current address. At the bottom, key information is present in a machine-readable zone. Depending on holder's age, the card has a validity of 5 years, 10 years or indefinite (for the elderly).[26]

The ID number is an eight digit number followed by a letter. The letter is a check number used to verify the correctness of the number. This id number is a personal social security number, which is used by the Spanish Hacienda Pública to keep track of each citizen's income taxes and financial status.

In Spain, the ID card is the most important piece of identification for citizens. 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 and should be shown when being fined by a police officer.[27] 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. The card also constitutes a valid travel document within the European Union and Croatia.[28]

Since 2006 a new version of the 'DNI' is being introduced. The new 'Electronic DNI' is a Smart card that allows for digital signing of documents. The chip contains most of the personal information, which is printed on the card, as well as a digitized version of the bearer's face, signature and finger prints.[29] The card 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 person's identity when completing certain transactions. These include but are not limited to banking and age verification. Also interactions with public authorities often require it, in spite of the fact that there is no law explicitly requiring it, because there are laws requiring authorities in some situations to somehow verify people's identity. Identity 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 number 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 according to EU standard usable for intra-Schengen travel.[30] The police also issue passports to Swedish citizens which are acceptable as identity documents inside the EU.

The Transport board issues drivers licences 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 identity is extended.

United Kingdom

The UK had an identity card during World War 2 as part of a package of emergency powers invoked and was abolished soon after. 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.

By 2006 several groups such as No2ID had formed to campaign against ID cards in Britain. The UK Labour government progressively introduced compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals resident in the UK from late 2008. Identity cards for British nationals was introduced in 2009 on a voluntary basis and only workers in certain high-security professions, such as airport workers, were required to have an identity card. Driving licences (particularly the photocard driving licence, introduced in 1998) and passports are now the most widely used ID documents. There are also various PASS-accredited cards, used mainly for proof of age purposes.

After the 2010 general election a new government was formed, comprising a coalition between two parties that have pledged to scrap ID cards - the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats - and the Home Office announced that the national identity register was destroyed on 10 February 2011.[31]

Non-European Union

Albanian electronic ID Card 2009

From January 12, 2009 the Government of Albania is issuing a compulsory electronic and biometric ID Card (Letërnjoftim) for its citizens.[32] Every citizen at age 16 must apply for Biometric ID card.

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.


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 fingerprints.

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 January 2010.

The Macedonian identity card

The Macedonian identity card (Macedonian: Лична карта, Lična karta) 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.Every person over 18 can get and must get an identity card.

Moldovan identity card

In Moldova Identity Cards (Romanian: Buletin de identitate) are being issued since 1996. The first person to get identity card was former president of Moldova - Mircea Snegur. Since then all the Moldovan citizens are required to have and use it inside the country. It can't be used to travel outside the country, however it is possible to pass so-called Transnistrian border with it.

Moldovan Identity card can be obtained by a child from his early birth. State company "Registru" is responsible for issuing Identity cards and for storing data of all Moldovan citizens.

Montenegrin national ID card

In 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 the passport.


The role of identity document is primarily played by the so-called internal passport, a passport-size booklet which contains person's photograph, birth data, and some other information, such as registration at the place of residence (informally known as propiska), marital data, information about military service and underage children. Internal passports are issued by MVD to all citizens who reach their 14th birthday and do not reside outside Russia. They are re-issued at the age 20 and 45.

Internal passport is commonly considered the only acceptable ID document in governmental offices, banks, while traveling by train or plane, getting a subscription service, etc. If the person does not have an internal passport (i.e. foreign nationals or Russian citizens who live abroad), international passport can be accepted instead, theoretically in all cases.

Internal passport can also be used to travel to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.[citation needed]

Other documents, such as driver license or student ticket, can sometimes be accepted as id, subject to regulations.

Serbian national ID card

In Serbia every resident citizen over the age of 10 can have their Serbian identity card 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.[33] It can be used for international travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro instead of the passport. Contact microchip on ID is optional.


Current ID cards for Turkish citizens. Blue colour for men and Orange colour for women.

The Turkish national ID card (Turkish: Nüfus Cüzdanı) is compulsory for all Turkish citizens from birth. Cards for males and females have a different colour. The front shows the first and last name of the holder, first names of both parents, birth date and place, and an 11 digit ID number. The back shows marital status, religious affiliation, the region of the country of origin, and the date of issue of the card. On February 2, 2010 the European Court of Human Rights had ruled in a 6 to 1 vote that the religious affiliation portion of the Turkish identity card violated articles 6, 9, and 12 of European Convention of Human Rights, which Turkey is a signatory to. The ruling should bear some weight on the Turkish government to completely omit religious affiliation on future identity cards. The Turkish police is allowed to ask any person to show ID, and refusing to comply may lead the arrest. It can be used for international travel to Northern Cyprus and Georgia (country) instead of the passport.

North America


In Canada, different forms of identification documentation are used, but there is no de jure national identity card. The Canadian passport is issued by the federal (national) government, and the provinces and territories issue various documents which can be used for identification purposes. The most commonly used forms of identification within Canada are the driver's licence and health care cards issued by provincial and territorial governments. The widespread usage of these two documents for identification purposes has made them de facto identity cards.

In Canada, a driver's licence usually lists the name, home address, and date of birth of the bearer. A photograph of the bearer is usually present, as well as additional information, such as restrictions to the bearer's driving licence. The bearer is required by law to keep the address up to date.

A few provinces, such as Québec and Ontario, issue provincial health care cards which contain identification information, such as a photo of the bearer, their home address, and their date of birth. In British Columbia, the BCID card is a convenient form of identification for individuals who do not possess a driving licence. The BCID card contains a picture of the bearer, as well as their home address and date of birth.

For travel abroad, a passport is almost always required. There are a few minor exceptions to this rule, with these exceptions mainly applying to international travel within North America, such as the NEXUS programme and the enhanced driving licence programme implemented by a few provincial governments as a pilot project. These programmes have not yet gained widespread acceptance, and the Canadian passport remains the most useful and widely accepted international travel document.

Costa Rica

Every Costa Rican citizen must carry an identity card after turning 18. The card is named Cédula de Identidad and it is issued by the local elections committee (Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones). 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 bars.

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 cédula), 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 finger.

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 issued.

Dominican Republic

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 Electoral.

El Salvador

In El Salvador, ID Card is called Documento Único 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 signature.


In 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 fraud. [7]


Not mandatory, but needed in almost all official documents, the CURP 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.

Unlike most other countries, Mexico has assigned a CURP to nearly all minors, since both the government and most private schools ask parents to supply their children's CURP to keep a data base of all the children. Also, minors must produce their CURP when applying for a passport or being registered at Public Health services by their parents.

Most adults need the CURP code too, since it is required for almost all governmental paperwork like tax filings and passport applications. Most companies ask for a prospective employee's CURP, voting card, or passport rather than birth certificates[citation needed].

To have a CURP issued for a person, a birth certificate or similar proof must be presented to the issuing authorities to prove that the information supplied on the application is true. Foreigners applying for a CURP must produce a certificate of legal residence 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 compels all Mexican citizens to have a biometric identity card, called Citizen Identity Card (Cédula de identidad ciudadana) before 2011[citation needed].

On February 13, 2009 the Mexican government designated the state of Tamaulipas to start procedures for issuing a pilot program of the national Mexican ID card[citation needed].

Although the CURP is the de jure official identification document in Mexico, the Federal Electoral Institute's voting card is the de facto official identification and proof of legal age for citizens of ages 18 and older.

On July 28, 2009 Mexican President Felipe Calderón, facing the Mexican House of Representatives, announced the launch of the Mexican national Identity card project, which will see the first card issued before the end of 2009.

United States

Since February 1, 2008, the United States issues the Passport card to its citizens upon request. Although its main purpose is for land and sea travel within North America, under the REAL ID Act, the passport card will also be accepted for federal purposes (such as domestic air travel or entering federal buildings), which may make it an attractive option for people living in states whose driver's licenses and ID cards are not REAL ID-compliant when those requirements go into effect. TSA regulations list the passport card as an acceptable identity document at airport security checkpoints.[34]

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has indicated that the U.S. Passport Card may be used in the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (form) process.[35] The passport card is considered a “List A” document that may be presented by newly hired employees during the employment eligibility verification process to show work authorized status. “List A” documents are those used by employees to prove both identity and work authorization when completing the Form I-9.

The passport card can be used as a valid proof of citizenship and proof of identity both inside and outside the United States.[36]

For most people, Driver's licenses issued by the respective state and territorial 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,[37] and bills have been introduced into Congress to amend or repeal it.[38] 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 identification, 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.[39]



The Australian Driver Licence is the widely accepted form of identification in Australia.

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 states and territories, are the most widely used ID document.

A drivers licence is a de facto identity card as it lists a persons full name, date of birth, current living address and picture and is commonally used as proof of identification to obtain various government permits and documentation (for example, passport or Tax File Number) as well as in the private sector (opening a bank account or applying for a credit card). This makes a drivers licence vital and thus it is almost universally held.

For those persons who do not have a valid driver licence and may or may not have a valid passport, the 18+ Card is a valid form of proof of age. It is provided by Australian State Governments for those persons over the age of 18 in order for them to prove they are legally able to purchase alcohol, tobacco products and anything else with an age limit. It is also available to people with a valid driver licence who do not wish to use it.[40]

New Zealand

Legal forms of identification are used mainly for purchase of alcohol and cigarettes and entry to nightclubs. They can also be required for the purchase of spray paint and glues and often bank transactions. Forms of legal identification are New Zealand and overseas passport, New Zealand Drivers licence and 18+ card from the Hospitality Association of New Zealand. Firearms licences are a form of photo identification issued by the New Zealand Police.

South America


First page of an Argentine identity document from someone over 16.
1938 identity card of a British-born citizen Cyril Raikes

Argentina issues a booklet called Documento Nacional de Identidad at birth. 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 issued by 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.


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 well.

There are plans in course to replace the current RG system with a new Registro de Identidade Civil (Civilian Identity Registry), which will be national in scope, and to change the current ID card with a new smartcard.


Every 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 fine.

ID cards are free of charge, and duplicates are also free.


Every resident of Chile over the age of 18 must have and carry at all times their ID Card called Cédula de Identidad issued 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 signature.

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 situations.

Refusal to carry or show this ID card to a law enforcement agent (civil or uniformed police) can lead to detention up to 8 hours or until the identity can be verified, whichever occurs first.


Peruvian Documento Nacional de Identidad. (ISO ID-1)

In Peru, it is mandatory for all citizens over the age of 18, whether born inside or outside the territory of the Republic, to obtain a National Identity Document (Documento Nacional de Identidad). The DNI is a public, personal and untransferable document.

The DNI is the only means of identification permitted for participating in any civil, legal, commercial, administrative, and judicial acts. It is also required for voting and must be presented to authorities upon request. The DNI can be used as a passport to travel to all South American countries that are members of UNASUR.

The DNI is issued by the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status (RENIEC). For Peruvians abroad, service is provided through the Consulates of Peru, in accordance with Articles 26, 31 and 8 of Law No. 26,497.

The document is card-sized as defined by ISO format ID-1 (prior to 2005 the DNI was size ISO ID-2; renewal of the card due to the size change was not mandatory, nor did previously-emitted cards lose validity). The front of the card presents photographs of the holder's face, their name, date and place of birth (the latter in coded form), gender and marital status; the bottom quarter consists of machine-readable text. Three dates are listed as well; the date the citizen was first registered at RENIEC; the date the document was issued; and the expiration date of the document. The back of the DNI features the holder's address (including district, department and/or province) and voting group. Eight voting record blocks are successively covered with metallic labels when the citizen presents themselves at their voting group on voting days. The back also denotes whether the holder is an organ donor, presents the holder's right index finger print, a PDF417 bar code, and a 1D bar code.


Uruguayan Cédula de Identidad.

Identity Card (Renewal)

In Uruguay, the identity card is issued by the Ministry of Interior and the National Civil Identification (DNIC). It is mandatory and essential for several steps at either governmental or private. The document is mandatory for all inhabitants of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, are native citizens, legal citizens or resident aliens in the country, even for children from 45 days old.

It is a laminated cardboard 9 cm wide and approximately 5 cm high, dominated by the blue color, showing the flag in the center of the Treinta y Tres Orientales, with the inscription "Liberty or Death." On the back appears the photo of the owner, the number assigned by the DNIC (Including a self-generated or check digit), name / s full / s with name / s and the corresponding signature (or proof of not knowing or not to sign). On the reverse appears nationality, date of birth, date of issuing the document and the date it is due (usually 10 years after the date of issue, even if issued after 70 years of age, lifetime and for the children is valid for five years). There is also the right thumbprint and observations if any.

Identity cards are demanded widespread in all formal transactions, from credit card purchases to any identity validation, proof of age, and so on.

Not to be confused with the civic badge, which is used exclusively for voting in elections (elections and plebiscites).

Check Digit Calculation ' They take the 7 card numbers and multiply each by 2987634 one by one (the first number by 2, the second by 9 and so on, when each result exceeds one digit, the unit takes only).

Example: UT: 1234567-X -> 2987634 -> 2, 8, 4, 8, 0, 8, 8

It is the sum of the results, the example would be 2 +8 +4 +8 +0 +8 +8 = 38 for the first number is greater than 38 that ends in 0 and is subtracted: 40-38 = 2 (is the same as 10 - (38 mod 10)). X = 2 then the check digit for the card 1,234,567.

Another simple way to look at it as a scalar product of vectors in module 10. The first 7 digits of the card can be viewed as a vector of length 7. This vector is multiplied by the vector scalar obtaining a number N 8123476 The check digit is found to be N module 10.

Example: CI: 1234567-X -> X = [(1x8) + (2x1) + (3x2) + (4x3) + (5x4) + (6x7) + (7x6)] mod 10 -> X = [ 8 +2 +6 +12 +20 +42 +42] mod 10 = 132 mod 10 = 2


Identity cards in Venezuela consist of a plastic-laminated paper which contains the national ID number (Cédula de Identidad) as well as a color-photo and the last names, given names, date of birth, right thumb print, signature, and marital status (single, married, divorced, widowed) of the bearer. It also contains the documents expedition and expiration date. Two different prefixes can be found before the ID number: "V" for Venezuelans and "E" for foreigners (Extranjeros in Spanish). This distinction is also shown in the document at the very bottom by a bold all-caps typeface displaying either the word VENEZOLANO or EXTRANJERO, respectively.

Despite Venezuelan being the second country in the Americas (after the United States) to adopt a biometric passport, the current Venezuelan ID document is remarkably low-security, even for regional standards. It can hardly be called a card. The paper inside the laminated cover contains almost no security measures, be it engravings, wet seals, holograms, or watermarks. The laminated cover itself is very simplistic and quite large for the paper it covers. Government officials in charge of issuing the document openly recommend each individual to cut the excess plastic off and re-laminate the document in order to protect it from bending. The requirements for getting a Venezuelan identity document are quite relaxed and Venezuela lacks high-security in its birth certificates and other documents that give claim to citizenship.

Because one can get a Venezuelan passport and register to vote only by virtue of possessing a Venezuelan identity card, and since the Venezuelan government has been accused by the media and the opposition of naturalizing substantial amounts of foreigners for electoral purposes; many Venezuelans accused the government of a lack of a plan to ramp-up the security of the cédula de identidad along with other Venezuelan vital documents such as birth certificates as part of a strategy by the Chávez regime to continue the alleged practice of naturalizing foreigners for electoral purposes. The government has announced that a new cédula de identidad will be available to all citizens somewhere around the first quarter of 2011. This proposed ID is indeed a polycarbonate bankcard-sized document with biometric and RFID technology. It resembles the analogous card that has been in place in the Venezuelan biometric passports since 2007. However, the release of this new card to the public has been delayed in several occasions and as of May 2011 there are no news as to when it will be available.

See also


  1. ^ Joinson, Adam N.; Pain, Carina; Buchana, Tom; Reips, Ulf-Dietrich (2006). "Watching me, watching you: privacy attitudes and reactions to identity card implementation scenarios in the United Kingdom" (Abstract). Journal of Information Science 18 (12): 334–343. doi:10.1177/0165551506064902. Retrieved 2006-12-09. [dead link]
  2. ^ "The case for national identification cards". 2003 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0002. Duke University. 2003-01-31. Retrieved 2008-01-11. "If there is no reasonable expectation of privacy with regards to one's DNA information, the obtention of that information will not constitute a search. The DNA card scheme at issue here would not therefore come under 4th Amendment scrutiny" 
  3. ^ "DNA ID Profiling and Banking". Identigene website. 2008-01-03. Archived from the original on 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2008-01-11. "The powerful DNA profiling technology is encouraged to be used by parents when adopting newborn children. Insurance companies use DNA profiling as a precautionary tool to protect against life insurance fraud. Lawyers are bundling these services with packages, such as the Last Will and Testament, to assist in protecting the assets of large estates." 
  4. ^ "Surveillance & Identification: Identity". Caslon Analytics research, analysis and strategies consultancy. 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2008-01-11. "As a German policeman once said, you are who your papers say you are. Take away those papers and you have no identity. Identification schemes - whether based on an individual's innate characteristics (eg DNA) or external attributes such as password or code number - facilitate participation by individuals with the requisite credentials in the "economic, social and political dimensions of society"," 
  5. ^ "BEEsafe Personal ID program". Laboratory Collection Services. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-01-11. "The area of the DNA molecule used for identification testing is known as a non-coding region. This region gives absolutely no genetic information about your race, medical history, or pre-disposition to a disease. DNA is the ultimate tool for personal identification. Every individual has a unique set of DNA markers, which are inherited from their parents. Therefore, your loved one can be easily identified by their specific DNA profile. DNA Profiling is highly recommended by Law Enforcement Agencies nationwide as an identification method for all of your family. Acquiring a DNA Profile for your loved one is easy, painless, affordable, and need only be performed once, since his or her profile will not change over time." 
  6. ^ Garfinkel, Simson (January 2001) [2000]. "3". Database Nation (Paperback) The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century. O'Reilly & Associates. ISBN 0-596-00105-3. Retrieved 2008-01-11. "When the technology was first introduced, scientists, lawyers, and civil libertarians argued over whether the underlying science was sound, and if the technology actually worked. Today, DNA identification is widely accepted as absolutely accurate--and we are struggling with the social implications of this newfound precision." 
  7. ^ Doward, Jamie (2005-05-29). "ID cards to cost £300 per person". The Guardian (London).,,1494944,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  8. ^ Cato Handbook, December 2004
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "EU: UK Presidency advances EU-wide ID card standards, data retention and intelligence sharing to fight terrorism". eGovernment News. 2005-07-14. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  15. ^ [3] idBlog - The number of electronic voters tripled
  16. ^ Decree 55-1397 of October 22 1955, initial version.
  17. ^ Decree 55-1397 of October 22 1955.
  18. ^ a b Code of criminal procedure, Book I, Title II, Chapter III.
  19. ^, Le site officiel de l'administration française. Quelles sont les règles en matière de contrôle et de vérification d'identité ?
  20. ^ Cass. crim. 05/02/2007, n°07-81517, Bull., n°112.
  21. ^ Cass. crim. 05/03/2007, n°07-81331, Bull., n°117.
  22. ^ Cass. crim. 05/12/1999, n°99-81153, Bull., n°95.
  23. ^ Testo unico delle leggi di pubblica sicurezza ("Single body of laws on public security"), also known as TULPS, article 3; see for example here.
  24. ^ Testo unico delle leggi di pubblica sicurezza ("Single body of laws on public security"), also known as TULPS, article 157; see for example here.
  25. ^ On lamination of ID cards, WEb site of the municipality of Villa Cortese.
  26. ^ "Spanish Identity Card BO-03001". European Council. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  27. ^ "Art 20.1 LOPSC". 
  28. ^ "Travel Documentation". Vueling. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  29. ^ Hernández Encinas, Luis; Espinosa García, Javier; Queiruga Dios (September 2007). "The new Spanish electronic indentity card: DNI-e". vol I: Technological Aspects of the e-Governance and Data Protection.. International Conference on Information Technologies (InfoTech-2007). ISBN 978-954-9518-41-2. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  30. ^ Frågor och svar om pass, nationellt id-kort och legitimation
  31. ^ [4]
  32. ^ Sagem Sècuritè to produce Albanian [[biometric passports and ID Cards]
  33. ^ Serbian new biometric ID card (Serbian)
  34. ^ Driver's License or Passports Preferred ID at Checkpoints, retrieved May 30, 2008.
  35. ^ USCIS - USCIS Informs The Public That New Passport Card Is Acceptable For Employment Eligibility Verification
  36. ^ Passport Card
  37. ^ Obama will inherit a real mess on Real ID
  38. ^ H.R. 1117: REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2007
  39. ^ Real Nightmare
  40. ^

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