Identity documents of India

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Identity documents of India are increasingly used to transact and obtain government benefits in India.

While there is no single mandatory document, the following documents are used in lieu of a national identity document:[1][2]

  • Aadhaar card, a biometric,eye ratina scan digital and physical identity system.
  • Indian passport
  • Overseas Passport
  • Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India
  • Overseas Citizenship of India document
  • Person of Indian Origin Card
  • Permanent account number (PAN) card (income tax)
  • Driving license in India issued by the states
  • Ration card issued by the Government of India
  • Identity Certificate for non-citizens or stateless people
  • A Birth certificate issued by the Registry of Births and Deaths (RBD) or from a Municipality within the provisions of the RBD Act
  • Transfer/School leaving/Matriculation Certificate
  • Service Identity Card issued by State/Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, local bodies or public Limited Companies
  • Copy of an extract of the service record of the applicant (only in respect of Government servants) or the Pay Pension Order (in respect of retired Government Servants), duly attested/certified by the officer/in-charge of the Administration of the concerned Ministry/Department of the holder
  • Policy Bond issued by Public Life Insurance Corporations/Companies
  • Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe/Other Backward Classes Certificates
  • Freedom Fighter Identity Cards
  • Arms Licenses
  • Property Documents such as Pattas, Registered Deeds etc.
  • Railway Identity Cards
  • Student Photo Identity Cards issued by Government Recognized Educational Institutions in respect of full time courses
  • Gas Connection Bill
  • Bank/ Kisan/ Post Office Passbooks
  • Photo Bank ATM Card
  • Photo Credit Card
  • Pensioner Photo Card
  • Certificate of Identify having photo issued by Gazetted Officer or Tehsildar on letterhead
  • Unique Disability ID (UDID) Card / Disability medical certificate issued by the respective State / UT
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Proof of Marriage document issued by the Registrar
  • Gazette Notification
  • Legal Name Change Certificate

Identity documents are used for multiple purposes:

  • For domestic and international travel
  • To obtain a mobile phone SIM card
  • To apply for a passport
  • To obtain government benefits
  • In certain cases when asked to do so by law-enforcement officers


A large number of people remain without identity documents - poor people especially. In order to include them, identity requirements for Aadhaar have been reduced, however biometric facilities have been provided to reduce or eliminated duplication, so while it may be possible to obtain the card under a false name, it is less likely to be able to obtain another Aadhaar card under a different (or real) name, though there have been cases where the biometrics has been circumvented.[citation needed] The Government has officially rejected the use of Aadhaar as an Identity card[3] however is often treated as such, despite being insecure (it is printed on paper).[4]

With the news floating about NRC and CAA that led to many protests by the end of 2019, the Home Ministry took it upon itself to clarify what documents are enough to prove citizenship in India. They also went ahead to say that Indians needn’t worry about proving their citizenship as they would not be ‘harassed or put to inconvenience'.[5] There is criticism that India has too many Identity systems, and they are not consistently accepted.[citation needed]

There have been many cases of identity theft in India, and identity fraud is a major issue.[6] With documents such as the new Aadhaar card subject to considerable fraud.[7]

One prominent case was Shyam Acharya in 2017 who fled Australia after being charged for allegedly stealing the identity of a foreign doctor, Dr Sarang Chitale since 2003, practicing in Australian hospitals. He obtained an Indian passport, was able to migrate, became a naturalised Australian, and practice medicine all under a stolen identity obtained in India.[8][9]


  1. ^ "Passport Seva Application form". Government of India. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  2. ^ "AADHAR Card Documents Required". Aadhaar Card Government of India. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  3. ^ "'Aadhaar' is a number, not an ID card: Ahluwalia". Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  4. ^ "The Dangers Of Aadhaar-Based Payments That No One Is Talking About". Bloomberg Quint. Retrieved 28 May 2017. There are five main components in an Aadhaar app transaction – the customer, the vendor, the app, the back-end validation software, and the Aadhaar system itself. There are also two main external concerns – the security of the data at rest on the phone and the security of the data in transit. At all seven points, the customer’s data is vulnerable to attack ... The app and validation software are insecure, the Aadhaar system itself is insecure, the network infrastructure is insecure, and the laws are inadequate.
  5. ^ "Common documents enough to prove citizenship". GovtSevaa.
  6. ^ "Identity theft: Fraud cases in auto, mortgage loans and credit cards segment rise". Firstpost. First Post. 10 February 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Jobless engineer made over 100 fake Aadhaar cards - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  8. ^ "'Fake doctor' Shyam Acharya reportedly tracked down in India by NSW Police". 14 March 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2017 – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
  9. ^ "7 News Sydney". Retrieved 18 April 2017.