National identity cards in the European Economic Area

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Germany German national ID card EPassport logo.svg
The EEA area as of 2010
  EFTA member countries excluding Switzerland
  European Union member-states excluding Croatia
  EU member state provisionally applying the agreement (Croatia)
  EFTA signatory state that did not ratify (Switzerland)
Members

National identity cards are issued by most European Economic Area member states (the area is the European Union, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) to their citizens. EEA member states' citizens holding a national identity card, which state citizenship, can not only use it as an identity document within their home country, but also as a travel document to exercise the right of free movement in the EEA and Switzerland.[citation needed] Other identity cards, not stating an EEA citizenship, including national identity cards issued to residents who are non-EEA citizens, are only valid as an identity document within the issuing country and are not valid as a travel document for the rest of the EEA and Switzerland.[citation needed]

At present, five EEA member states (Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Norway and United Kingdom) do not issue national identity cards to their citizens. Therefore, EEA member states' citizens from these five countries can only use a passport as a travel document when visiting other countries in the EEA or Switzerland, unless travelling within the Nordic Passport Union or within the Common Travel Area.

Use[edit]

Travel document[edit]

As an alternative to presenting a passport, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens are entitled to use a valid national identity card as a travel document to exercise their right of free movement in the European Economic Area and Switzerland without a visa.

Strictly speaking, it is not necessary for an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen to possess a valid national identity card or passport to enjoy the right of free movement. In theory, if an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen can prove his/her nationality by any other means (e.g. by presenting an expired national identity card or passport, or a citizenship certificate), he/she must be permitted to enter and reside in the EEA and Switzerland without a visa. An EU/EEA/Swiss citizen who is unable to demonstrate his/her nationality satisfactorily must nonetheless be given 'every reasonable opportunity' to obtain the necessary documents or to have them delivered within a reasonable period of time.[1][2][3]

Additionally, EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can travel to a number of countries and territories outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland on the strength of their national identity cards alone, without the need to present a passport to the border authorities:

1. Unlike the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, the British overseas territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and the British Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey are not part of the European Union. Nonetheless, EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are able to use their national identity cards as travel documents to enter these territories.
2. Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City are de facto part of the Schengen Area. Although the Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union and the Schengen Area, they are part of the Nordic Passport Union, and so there are no border checks when travelling between the Faroe Islands and the Schengen Area.
3. EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can use their national identity cards when travelling directly between metropolitan France and French overseas territories.[10][11][12][13][14][15] In practice, the only French overseas departments/collectivities which can be reached directly by plane from metropolitan France are French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion. In addition, EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can use their national identity cards when travelling within/between French overseas territories (e.g. when flying directly between Guadeloupe and Saint Martin.

 Turkey allows citizens of Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland to travel using a national identity card.[16]  Egypt allows citizens of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal to travel using a national identity card with a minimum remaining period of validity of 6 months.[17][18]

Although, as a matter of European law, holders of a Swedish national identity card are entitled to use it as a travel document to any European Union member state (regardless of whether it is belongs to the Schengen Area or not), Swedish national law does not recognise the card as a valid travel document outside the Schengen Area[according to whom?] in direct violation of European law.

While, by law, EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are entitled to use their valid national identity cards as travel documents to enter the UK, in practice UK Border Force officials have been known to place extra scrutiny on and to spend longer processing identity cards issued by certain member states which are deemed to have limited security features and hence more susceptible to tampering/forgery. Unlike their counterparts in the Schengen Area (who, by law, must only perform a 'rapid' and 'straightforward' visual check for signs of falsification and tampering and are not obliged to use technical devices (such as document scanners, UV light and magnifiers) when EU/EEA/Swiss citizens present their passports and/or national identity cards at external border checkpoints),[19] as a matter of policy UKBF officials are required to examine physically all passports and national identity cards presented by EU/EEA/Swiss citizens for signs of forgery and tampering.[20] In addition, unlike their counterparts in the Schengen Area (who, when presented with a passport or national identity card by an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, are not legally obliged to check it against a database of lost/stolen/invalidated travel documents (and, if they do so, must only perform a 'rapid' and 'straightward' database check) and may only check to see if the traveller is on a database containing persons of interest on a strictly 'non-systematic' basis where such a threat is 'genuine', 'present' and 'sufficiently serious'),[19] as a matter of policy UKBF officials are required to check every EU/EEA/Swiss citizen and their passport/national identity card against the Warnings Index (WI) database.[20] For this reason, when presented with a non-machine readable identity card, it can take up to four times longer for a UKBF official to process the card as the official has to enter the biographical details of the holder manually into the computer to check against the WI database and, if a large number of possible matches is returned, a different configuration has to be entered to reduce the number of possible matches.[21] For example, at Stansted Airport UKBF officials have been known to take longer to process Italian paper identity cards because they often need to be taken out of plastic wallets,[22] because they are particularly susceptible to forgery/tampering[23] and because, as non-machine readable documents, the holders' biographical details have to be entered manually into the computer.[22]

Identification document[edit]

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens exercising their right to free movement in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland are entitled to use their national identity card as an identification document when dealing not just with government authorities, but also with private sector service providers. For example, where a supermarket in the UK refuses to accept a German national identity card as proof of age when a German citizen attempts to purchase an age-restricted product and insists on the production of a UK-issued passport or driving licence or other identity document, the supermarket would, in effect, be discriminating against this individual on this basis of his/her nationality in the provision of a service, thereby contravening the prohibition in Art 20(2) of Directive 2006/123/EC of discriminatory treatment relating to the nationality of a service recipient in the conditions of access to a service which are made available to the public at large by a service provider.[24]

On 11 June 2014, The Guardian published leaked internal documents from HM Passport Office in the UK which revealed that government officials who dealt with British passport applications sent from overseas treated EU citizen countersignatories differently depending on their nationality. The leaked internal documents showed that for citizens of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden who acted as a countersignatory to support the application for a British passport made by someone whom they knew, HM Passport Office would be willing to accept a copy of the countersignatory's passport or the national identity card.[25] HM Passport Office considered that national identity cards issued to citizens of these member states were acceptable taking into account the 'quality of the identity card design, the rigour of their issuing process, the relatively low level of documented abuse of such documents at UK/Schengen borders and our ability to access samples of such identity cards for comparison purposes'. In contrast, citizens of other EU member states (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Romania and Spain) acting as countersignatories could only submit a copy of their passport and not their national identity card to prove their identity as national identity cards issued by these member states were deemed by HM Passport Office to be less secure and more susceptible to fraud/forgery. The day following the revelations, on 12 June 2014, the Home Office and HM Passport Office withdrew the leaked internal guidance relating to EU citizen countersignatories submitting a copy of their national identity card instead of their passport as proof of identity, and all EU citizen countersignatories are now able only to submit a copy of their passport and not of their national identity card.[26][27]

Common design and security features[edit]

On 13 July 2005, the Justice and Home Affairs Council called on all European Union member states to adopt common designs and security features for national identity cards by December 2005, with detailed standards being laid out as soon as possible thereafter.[28]

On 4 December 2006, all European Union member states agreed to adopt the following common designs and minimum security standards for national identity cards that were in the draft resolution of 15 November 2006:[29][30]

Material

The card can be made with paper core that is laminated on both sides or made entirely of a synthetic substrate.

Biographical data

The biographical data on the card is to be machine readable. (However, note that three European Union member states — Cyprus, Greece and Italy — as well as Gibraltar continue to issue non-machine readable national identity cards.)

Overview of national identity cards[edit]

Member states issue a variety of national identity cards with differing technical specifications and according to differing issuing procedures:[31]

Member state Front Reverse Compulsory/optional Cost Validity Issuing authority Latest version
Austria
Austria
Austrian ID card.jpg Austrian identity card back.png Optional (if a form of ID is required in daily life, passports and driving licences are also universally accepted)
  • €61.50 (applicants aged 16 or over)
  • €26.30 (children aged 2–15)
  • Free of charge (children under 2)
  • 10 years (applicants aged 12 or over)
  • 5 years (children aged 2–11)
  • 2 years (children under 2)
1 January 2005
Belgium
Belgium
EPassport logo.svg
Belgium ID 2010 (dutch).jpg Belgium ID 2010 (dutch, verso).jpg Compulsory for Belgian citizens aged 15 or over
  • €17 (urgent: €123 or more)
  • equivalent of €11 or €17 in local currency (citizens registered abroad)
  • 5 years
  • 10 years for old style ID cards issued by Belgian consulates
  • City administration
  • Consulate (citizens registered abroad)
1 March 2010
Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgarian identity card.png Bulgarian identity card back.png Compulsory for Bulgarian citizens aged 14 or over to have an ID card
  • 10 years (adults aged 18 or over)
  • 4 years (children aged 14–17)
29 March 2010
Croatia
Croatia
Osobna iskaznica 2013 - prednja strana.jpg Osobna iskaznica 2013 - poleđina 01.jpg Compulsory for all citizens over the age of 16 HRK 48.50[32]
  • 10 years for adults
  • 5 years for minors
The police on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior.[33] 10 June 2013
Cyprus
Cyprus
€20.00 10 years 1 July 2008
Czech Republic
Czech Republic
EPassport logo.svg
ID-card CZ 2012.jpg ID-card CZ 2012 b chip.jpg Compulsory for Czech citizens aged 15 or over who are permanently resident in the Czech Republic
  • 10 years (applicants aged 15 or over)
  • 5 years (children aged under 15)
1 January 2012
Denmark
Denmark
No national identity card (See Identity document#Denmark).
Estonia
Estonia
EPassport logo.svg
Estonian identity card front.png Estonian identity card reverse.png Compulsory for all Estonian citizens and permanent residents aged 15 or over.
  • €24.28 (applicants aged 15 or over) or €50 (in embassies)
  • €6.39 (children under 15, retirees, persons with disabilities) or €10 (in embassies)
  • €44.73 (urgent)
5 years Police and Border Guard Board 1 January 2011
Finland
Finland
EPassport logo.svg
Finnish identity card.png Finnish identity card back.png Optional
  • €53 (applicants aged 18 or over)[34]
  • €36 (children under 18)
5 years Police 31 May 2011
France
France
French identity card back.png Optional
  • Free of charge
  • €25 (if the previous one cannot be presented, e.g. it was lost or stolen)
  • 10 years for minors
  • 15 years for adults.
  • Police (Paris)
  • police department (préfecture de police) in the town of residence (France, except Paris)
  • French consulate (overseas)
1 October 1994
Germany
Germany
EPassport logo.svg
Mustermann nPA.jpg Mustermann nPA RS.jpg Compulsory for German citizens aged 16 or over to have either an ID card or a passport
  • €28.80 (adults aged 24 or over)
  • €22.80 (applicants aged under 24)
  • 10 years (adults aged 24 or over)
  • 6 years (applicants aged under 24)
City or town of residence 1 November 2010
Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Compulsory if you want to work Free of charge
  • 10 years (adults aged 16 or over)
  • 5 years (children under 16)
Civil Status and Registration Office, Gibraltar 8 December 2000
Greece
Greece
Greek ID Card-Front.jpg Greek ID Card-Back.jpg Compulsory for Greek citizens aged 12 or over
  • Free of charge for first issue
  • €9 for reissue if lost or destroyed (free if reported stolen)
15 years Police 1 July 2010
Hungary
Hungary
HunIDfront.jpg HunIDback.jpg Compulsory for Hungarian citizens aged 14 or over (unless they already possess a passport or driving licence) 9 April 2001
Iceland
Iceland
The Icelandic state-issued identity cards do not state nationality and are not usable as national identity cards outside Nordic countries.
Republic of Ireland
Ireland
No identity card
Italy
Italy
EPassport logo.svg
Carta identita italiana.jpg Compulsory for Italian citizens aged 15 or over €25.42 (duplicate €30.58) 10 years 2001
Latvia
Latvia
EPassport logo.svg
Identity card or passport obligatory for citizens aged 15 or over
  • €14.23
  • €7.11 (citizens under age of 20, retirees)
5 years Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs 2012
Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
EPassport logo.svg
Optional
  • CHF80 (adults aged 15 or over)
  • CHF30 (children under 15)
  • 10 years (adults aged 15 or over)
  • 3 years (children under 15)
Immigration and Passport Office, Vaduz
Lithuania
Lithuania
EPassport logo.svg
Lithuanian identity card back.png
  • 10 years (adults aged 16 or over)
  • 5 years (children under 16)
1 January 2009
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
  • 10 years (applicants aged 15 or over)
  • 5 years (children aged 4–14)
  • 2 years (children under 4)
1 July 2014 [35]
Malta
Malta



  • Compulsory at 18 years of age.
  • First time issuance of Identity Card: Free
  • Renewal of expired Identity Card (or containing any data that is no longer correct) which are not declared to be lost, stolen or defaced: Free
  • Applications for a new Identity Card in replacement of one which has been lost, stolen or destroyed: €20
  • Applications for a new Identity Card in replacement of one which has been defaced: €15
  • 10 years
  • Identity Management Office
  • 12 February 2014
Netherlands
Netherlands
EPassport logo.svg
Optional (however, everyone aged 14 or over is required to show a valid identification document to the police when asked in specific circumstances).
  • €31.85 (applicants aged 13 or younger[36])
  • €41.90 (applicants aged 14 or older[36])
  • €69.30 (applicants aged 13 or younger abroad[37])
  • €79.25 (applicants aged 14 or older abroad[37])
  • 5 years[38]
  • 10 years (planned change)[39]
  • Town hall in town of residence (European part of the Netherlands)
  • Consular section of Embassy abroad (only in countries in which the Dutch ID card is a valid travel document)
  • Dutch nationals, residing on the Dutch Caribbean islands, although all also EU citizens, can only apply for a specific ID card issued by the island's authorities. These cards are not valid for travel in the EU.
9 October 2011
Norway
Norway
No national or even any state-issued identity card . National identity cards are planned to be introduced in 2015.[40] The introduction will be postponed until 2016. [41]
Poland
Poland
Polish identity card.png Polish identity card back.png Compulsory for Polish citizens resident in Poland aged 18 or over and for Polish citizens resident in Poland aged 15 to 18 who are employed or who do not live with a parent/legal guardian or who are not subject to parental custody/guardianship. Free of charge
  • No expiry (adults aged 65 or over)
  • 10 years (adults aged 18–64)
  • 5 years (children under 18)
Wójt/Mayor/President of the City 7 February 2002
Portugal
Portugal
EPassport logo.svg
Cartão de Cidadão.jpg CDC4.png 5 years 1 June 2009
Romania
Romania
Romania ID 2009.jpg
  • No expiry (adults aged 55 or over)
  • 10 years (adults aged 25–54)
  • 7 years (adults aged 18–24)
  • 4 years (minors aged 14–17)
12 May 2009
Slovakia
Slovakia
EPassport logo.svg
Compulsory for Slovak citizens aged 15 or over Free of charge
  • No expiry (adults aged 60 or over)
  • 10 years
1 July 2008
Slovenia
Slovenia
Compulsory for Slovenian citizens aged 18 or over who are permanently resident in Slovenia and who do not have another form of ID with photo
  • €12.43 (children under the age of 3)
  • €14.25 (children aged 3–18)
  • €18.77 (applicants aged 18 and over)
  • 3 years (citizens under 3 years)
  • 5 years (citizens under 18 years)
  • 10 years (citizens over 18 years)
  • Administrative Unit
  • Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
20 June 1998
Spain
Spain
EPassport logo.svg
Dnie.jpg Compulsory from the age of 14 €10.50
  • No expiry (adults over 70)
  • 10 years (adults aged 30–70)
  • 5 years (applicants under 30)
Police 16 March 2006
Sweden
Sweden
EPassport logo.svg
Optional (few have them)
It is not valid if travelling from Sweden to a non-Schengen EEA country
State-issued cards or driver's licences without nationality information are usually used domestically, and passports for travel.
SEK 400 5 years Police 2 January 2012
EFTA member state Switzerland is not a formal part of the EEA, but is through a series agreements a part of the area in practical sense in many areas. The Swiss identity card is usable as travel document inside the EEA and the EEA cards are usable inside Switzerland.
Switzerland
Switzerland
Optional
  • CHF 70 (adults)
  • CHF 35 (children)
  • 10 years (adults)
  • 5 years (children)
2003 (planned change 2016)
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
No identity card (UK ID Cards abolished 2011 by UK Identity Documents Act 2010)

Gallery of EEA national identity cards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Article 6.3.2 of the Practical Handbook for Border Guards (C (2006) 5186)
  2. ^ Judgement of the European Court of Justice of 17 February 2005, Case C 215/03, Salah Oulane vs. Minister voor Vreemdelingenzaken en Integratie ([1])
  3. ^ [2] Processing British and EEA Passengers without a valid Passport or Travel Document
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ http://www.mfa.gov.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=96
  6. ^ [4] EU residents will need only ID to enter Macedonia
  7. ^ [5] Montenegro: visa and passport requirements
  8. ^ EU citizens can enter Serbia without passport
  9. ^ Lov om utlendingers adgang til riket og deres opphold her (utlendingsloven) kap 2 § 15 (Norwegian)
  10. ^ http://www.guyane.cci.fr/fr/aeroport/informations_pratiques
  11. ^ http://www.guadeloupe.aeroport.fr/guide-du-voyageur/formalites-police-et-douanes.php#formalites-de-police
  12. ^ http://www.aeroport-mayotte.com/gp/Documents-et-Formalites/89
  13. ^ http://www.martinique.aeroport.fr/Formalites.asp
  14. ^ http://www.reunion.aeroport.fr/index.php?id=88
  15. ^ http://www.aeroport-mayotte.com/gp/Documents-et-Formalites/89
  16. ^ Countries whose citizens are allowed to enter Turkey with their national IDs
  17. ^ http://www.ibz.rrn.fgov.be/fileadmin/user_upload/CI/eID/fr/acces_etranger/voyager_avec_des_documents_d_identite_belges.pdf
  18. ^ http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/conseils-par-pays/egypte-12239/
  19. ^ a b Article 7(2) of the Schengen Borders Code (OJ L 105, 13 April 2006, p. 1).
  20. ^ a b Home Office WI Checking Policy and operational instructions issued in June 2007 (see [6], pg 21)
  21. ^ See [7], pg 12
  22. ^ a b See [8], pg 3
  23. ^ See [9], table of statistics at 4.13 on pg 12
  24. ^ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getAllAnswers.do?reference=E-2014-004933&language=EN
  25. ^ The Guardian: Passport Office briefing document (11 June 2014) Note that although the list included Switzerland, in practice Swiss citizens would not have been eligible to act as countersignatories as they are not EU citizens.
  26. ^ https://www.gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications
  27. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jun/12/ministers-intervene-to-prevent-relaxation-of-rules-in-passport-office
  28. ^ Council of the European Union: Draft Conclusions of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States on common minimum security standards for Member States' national identity cards
  29. ^ Council of the European Union: Draft Resolution of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council on common minimum security standards for Member States’ national identity cards
  30. ^ List of texts adopted by the Council in the JHA area – 2006
  31. ^ http://www.statewatch.org/news/2010/jun/eu-council-ID-cards-9949-10.pdf
  32. ^ http://www.mup.hr/42.aspx
  33. ^ Zakon o osobnoj iskaznici (Croatian)
  34. ^ https://www.poliisi.fi/poliisi/home.nsf/www/serviceprice
  35. ^ https://www.gouvernement.lu/3793755/18-kersch-carte-identite1
  36. ^ a b [10]
  37. ^ a b [11]
  38. ^ Paspoort en identiteitskaart
  39. ^ Identiteitskaart wordt 10 jaar geldig
  40. ^ Lover nasjonalt ID-kort i 2015 ([12])
  41. ^ IKT-satsingen i justissektoren trappes opp ([13])

External links[edit]