An identity document (also called a piece of identification or ID) 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.
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 and Spain. Morocco is also planning to launch a new identity card of biometric type by January 2007.
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 coupled with a central government database generated the most negative attitudinal response among several alternative configurations.
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 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, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (see below).
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.
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."
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.
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.
Legal citizens of the Republic of Cyprus have to get an identity card at the age of 12.
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.
Danish citizens are not, by law, required to carry an ID card. Personnummerbevis 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, 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.
Driver's licenses and passports are the only ID cards issued by the government containing both the personal identification number and a photo.
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.
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.
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 facto 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, CNIL. 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.
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, 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 desired.
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. 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 Bureaus (KEP), 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 (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).
Legal resident aliens from non-EU countries are issued a similar document, colloquially called a green card. For non-residents, the passport acts as the ID card. EU citizens may produce any document that is valid in their own country.
Currently, there are three types of valid ID documents (Személyi igazolvány, abbr. Sz.ig.) in Hungary: the oldest valid ones are hard-covered, multipaged booklets and issued before 1989 by the People's Republic of Hungary, the second type is a soft-cover, multipaged 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/she is a foreign citizen, the card has a different color.
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 following details:
The lower section of the second page is called Connotati e contrassegni salienti ("Salient features and marks"), and gives the following details:
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 criminal record.
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 de facto required to have the Identity Card or another ID with them at all times.
On 19 July 2000, a new Italian electronic identity card was officially introduced in Italy. As of December 2009, 1.8 million electronic identity cards (EICs) have been issued. The Italian EIC contains both a microchip (for online identification) and a laser band. As of January 1, 2011 the Italian EIC card must include the fingerprints of its holder. The Italian EIC card is specifically designed to allow its users online authentication to e-government services.
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 (literally translated: "Residence Permit") released by Italian authorities; while all the resident/immigrant aliens must have the Permesso di Soggiorno (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.
Following a change in the law in 2006, Consulates may now issue ID cards to Italians resident abroad.
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.
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:
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.
Another ID Card is the Provisional ID Card (Cartea de Identitate Provizorie) 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.
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.
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 used to 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 that 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 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 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 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 identiy is extended.
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 was introduced in 2009 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) and passports are now the most widely used ID documents. There are also various PASS-accredited cards, used mainly for proof of age purposes.
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.
New ID cards are being introduced gradually: http://idsmart.direct.gov.uk/about-the-card.html
Every citizen at age 16 must apply for Biometric ID card.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Generally, same as in the USA (see below).
Note: clean-up and more data may be required here.
In practice, this depends by province. For most official transactions, one needs TWO government-issued identity documents, at least one of them with a photo. More information can be obtained, for example, from  .
Drivers' licenses bear the name, photo and address. One is required by law to keep the address up to date.
Note: some provinces (e.g. Québec) have free medical insurance, so usually their medicare cards are a form of valid ID. Others (e.g. Ontario, British Columbia) don't have it free. BC, for instance has a separate BCID card.
For travelling abroad, a passport is required (except for DRIVING into the USA, when a SPECIAL driver's license may be used and FLYING in the USA when a Nexus pass can be used sometimes (not sure though if it requires a passport too, better have it anyway).
For tax and employment purposes, all Canadian residents (citizens or immigrants) need a Social Insurance Number card, but that one does not have a photo and cannot be used for identification.
To prove citizenship, one would use a Citizenship Card (naturalized immigrants have it too) or a Canadian birth certificate (if born in Canada, that is).
Immigrants need a Permanent Resident Card ("maple leaf card") that is obtained a few weeks after immigration (in the interim they need their passport from the original country with the immigration visa in it, as well as the immigration papers (usually IMM-1000)).
Immigrants can obtain most of the above documents, except for the citizenship card an passport which are only available for citizens (born or naturalized).
For identification at a post office, one needs official documents to prove the name and address. If one does not possess a driver's license, in provinces where other documents don't bear the address, one can use a medicare card (without an address) TOGETHER with a hospital card showing the same name and data and the address.
Banks have the strict 2 pieces of ID rule (especially for opening an account, cash advances, card or PIN replacements etc.) except for current banking operations where a bank card (from that bank, which is a Canadian debit card) and its PIN may suffice.
Merchants accepting credit card payments may require one or 2 pieces of ID with signature and a signature (even if the card is used with a PIN).
The People's Republic of China is now instituting biometric ID cards, beginning with the city of Shenzhen. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 6 hours or until the identity can be verified.
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.
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.
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. 
Hi-tech multi-purpose national identity cards, carrying 16 personal details and a unique identification number, were launched in Delhi on Saturday 26 May 2007.
The first 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 Nadu, West 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 (UID 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 (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.)
Every Iraqi citizen must have a personal/national card (البطاقة الشخصية) in Arabic. From April 2009, a new card called Iraqi National Identity Card with a National Identification Number 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 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, 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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 informantion.
The 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. It 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 No. 26,497.
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 format.
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 Philippine passport, Driver's license in the Philippines, Social Security ID, Postal ID, or School ID are commonly accepted identification documents for citizens.
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 16th birthday and do not reside outside Russia.
Internal passport is commonly considered the only acceptable id document in governmental offices, banks, while buying airline or railroad tickets, 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, although not in all cases.
Internal passport can also be used to travel to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Other documents, such as driver license or student ticket, can sometimes be accepted as id, but only in minor cases.
In Serbia every 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. Contact microchip on ID is optional.
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.
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 de facto required in daily life, it is necessary to show the document or a certified copy as proof of identity when:
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 (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 times.
The "Republic of China National Identification Card" (traditional 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 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 (traditional 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.
It is compulsory for all Turkish citizens to have the national ID card (Nüfus Cüzdanı in Turkish) from birth. The color of this card indicates the gender of the person. On the front side of the card are written the first name and last name of the holder, first names of his/her father and mother, birth date and place, and an ID number of 11 digits that is different for everyone. On the back side are found the holder's marital status, religious affiliation, the region of the country where he/she comes from, and the issue date of the card. In Turkey, police can ask any person for his/her ID, and refusing to comply may lead the arrest of the person.
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.
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 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.
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".