List of national identity card policies by country

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  Compulsory ID cards
  Non-compulsory ID cards

This is a list of identity document policies by country.

A national identity document ("ID" or "identity card") is defined as an identity card with photo, usable as an identity card at least inside the country, and which is issued by an official authority.

Regional government issued driver's licenses and other cards indicating certain permissions are not counted here as national identity cards. So for example, by this criterion, the United States drivers license is excluded, as these are local (state) government issued (although these or the state ID are all-but required as nationwide identification).

Identity card policies by country[edit]

Countries with compulsory identity cards[edit]

According to a 1996 publication by Privacy International, around 100 countries had enacted laws making identity cards compulsory.[1] In these countries, the card must be shown on demand by authorised personnel under specified circumstances. In some countries alternative proof of identity, such as a driving licence is acceptable. Privacy International said that "virtually no common law country has a card".[1]

The term "compulsory" may have different meanings and implications in different countries. Possession of a card may only become compulsory at a certain age. There may be a penalty for not carrying a card or similar official identification such as a passport. In some cases a person may be detained until identity is proven. This facilitates police identification of fugitives. In some countries, police need a reason, such as suspicion of a crime or security risk. In other countries, police can ask for official identification without stating a reason. Random checks are rare, except in police states. Normally there is an age limit, such as 18, after which possession is mandatory, even if minors aged 15–17 may need a card in order to prove that they are under 18.

In the European Union, a citizen's national identity card – if it complies with certain technical standards and states citizenship – can in most cases be used to travel (within the EU) in lieu of a passport.[2]

Country Name Description
 Afghanistan Tazkira
(Afghan identity card)
The Tazkira is an electronic ID card.
 Albania Letërnjoftimi
(Albanian Identity Card)
The Letërnjoftimi is an electronic biometric ID card, compulsory upon 16 years old and costs 1200 lekë (10).
 Algeria بطاقة الهوية الوطنية/ carte nationale d’identité (Algerian National Identity card) The Algerian national identity card is an electronic biometric ID card, compulsory for all Algerian nationals and costs 2500 Algerian Dinar.
 Antigua and Barbuda Electoral National Identification card The Antiguan and Barbudan national identity card is compulsory for voting as well as for different government transactions.
 Argentina Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI)
(National Identity Card)
The Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI) is issued at a person's birth, and updated at 8 and 14 years of age, and thereafter renewed every fifteen years.[3] For many years, the DNI was issued as a small booklet (libreta). In 2009, the DNI was revamped and digitalized; and booklets were issued along with a card (tarjeta) simultaneously. Since 2012, DNIs are issued only in card format, and starting in 2015, they'll have a chip with information of the holder and NFC payment. The new DNI card is required to obtain a new Argentine Passport and there are penalties if they aren't renewed in time.
 Azerbaijan Şəxsiyyət vəsiqəsi
(Azerbaijan Identity Card)
The Şəxsiyyət vəsiqəsi is an ID card, compulsory upon 16 years old and costs 5 manats (2,5). It is not compulsory to carry it at all time.
 Bangladesh National identity card (NID-Card)
জাতীয় পরিচয়পত্র
National ID card is compulsory for all citizens at the age of 18.[4] 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.
 Belarus N/A Belarus has combined the international passport and the internal passport into one document. It follows the international passport convention but has extra pages for domestic use. The Belarusian passport is compulsory at 14. Reissued every 10 years. Could be issued before 14 for travelling purposes.
 Belgium Identiteitskaart / Carte d’Identité / Personalausweis (Identity Card) The card is first issued at age 12, compulsory by 15. Since the beginning of 2005 the eID (electronic IDentity card) has been issued to Belgian citizens who apply for a new identity card. Apart from being a form of identification, the card also is used for authentication purposes. Future usages include using the eID as a library card, keycard for restricted areas or chatrooms and the digital signing of documents. It is expected that in 2009 all Belgians will have an eID card.[5][6] They have to be carried at all times.
 Bhutan Bhutan national identity card The Bhutanese national identity card is an electronic ID card, compulsory for all Bhutanese nationals and costs 100 Bhutanese ngultrum.
 Bolivia Cédula de Identidad (Identity Card) Compulsory at 18, but rarely required by police.
 Botswana Omang (National Identity Card) It is compulsory for all citizens at age 16, and there are penalties for not obtaining it within one month of turning 16 or obtaining citizenship, whichever comes last. Includes the image of the individual (no headgear or eyewear), their particulars, and their right thumbprint. Valid for 10 years, whereupon it must be renewed and a new photograph taken. Must be presented upon request by any agent of the state, and the state requires all non-state institutions to use the National ID card as the only acceptable means of identification for citizens - passports and driver's licences should not be used, even though they contain most of the information on the ID card, including the ID card number. There are penalties for being issued a replacement card when it has been lost, however, if it is changed to update information on it only the application fee must be paid (e.g., upon expiry, and legal name changes as when a woman gets married and assumes her husband's surname). Every time a new one is issued for whatever reason, a new photograph must be taken. The individual keeps their National ID card number for life, and in recent years it has been linked to the birth certificate number of newborn infants (it is the same number). The National ID card must be surrendered to the government upon the demise of the individual, at which time it will be exchanged for an official death certificate.
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Lična Karta / Osobna iskaznica (Identity Card) Compulsory at 16 and is to be carried at all times after turning 18.
 Brazil Cédula de Identidade (Identity Card) Compulsory to be issued since the age of 18 (though it can be substituted by a series of equivalent documents, see below). It is usually issued, for civilians, by the secretariat of public security of each unit of the federation, but other departments – including the Armed Forces, the Police and some professional councils – can issue alternate identity cards, too. All must meet certain specifications – they are all coloured green – but each unit of the federation can include minor differences such as the numbering scheme, font, printed seal, and background pattern.

The card's front has the bearer's picture (with an electronic stamp on it) and right thumb print. It also includes either the bearer's signature or – if the bearer is illiterate – the phrase "cannot sign" (não assina) The verso has the unique number assigned the bearer (registro geral or RG), the card's expiration date, the bearer's full name, parents' names, birthplace (locality and federation unit), birth date, and CPF number. It may include some additional information. It is officially 102 × 68 mm,[7] but lamination tends to make it slightly larger than the ISO/IEC 7810 ID-2 standard of 105 × 74 mm, so it is a tight fit in most wallets. A driver's licence has only recently been given the same legal status as the national identity card. In most situations, only a few other documents can be substituted for a national identity card: for example, identification documents issued by national councils of doctors, accountants, dentists, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals.

 Bulgaria Лична карта (Identity Card) First issued and is compulsory after turning the age of 14. The new Bulgarian ID cards were introduced in 1999. They follow the general pattern in the EU and replaced the old, Soviet-style "internal passports", also known as "green passports". Since 2007, the Bulgarian identity card can be used to travel within the European Union. Since 29 March 2010[8] new Bulgarian identity cards were introduced with embedded chip with personal data.
 Cape Verde Cartão único de Identificação (Cape Verde Citizen Card) The Cape Verdian national identity card (referred as “Citizen Card”) is an electronic biometric ID card, compulsory for all Cape Verdian nationals. The card format is identical to the Portuguese Citizen card, with information displayed in both Portuguese and English and is made by the same the company, also in Portugal. New biometric identity cards are being issued since 2018, replacing the format paper (similar to the old Portuguese identity card) which was issued since 1957.
 Chile Cédula de Identidad (Identity card) Normally this is first issued at age 2 or 3, but it can be issued whenever the parents request its issue. It is compulsory at 18, when it has to be carried at all times.
 China Resident Identity Card (居民身份证) Normally this is first issued at school age, but it can be issued whenever the parents request its issue.
 Colombia Cédula de Ciudadanía (Identity card) Registro Civil de Nacimiento (Birth record) issued when the parents register the newborn.[9] Tarjeta de identidad is issued at age of 7. From 26 June 2013, is available the new format (coloured blue) with biometric features. The previous format (coloured pink) is still valid until the minor reaches 14, when he or she has to request the new blue format.[10] Cédula de Ciudadanía is compulsory at the age of 18, and from 31 July 2010, the only valid format is the yellow one. It has to be carried at all times and must be presented to police or the military upon their request.
 Comoros Carte nationale d’identité (Comoros national identity card) The Comorian national identity card is an ID card, compulsory for all Comorian nationals. Biometric since January 2018.
 Costa Rica Cédula de identidad (Costa Rica) Every citizen immediately must carry an ID card after turning 18.
 Croatia Osobna iskaznica (Personal card) The Croatian identity card is compulsory for citizens of Croatia who have a permanent residence in Croatia and are at least 16 years old. By law, it must to be carried at all times.
 Cuba Carnet de identidad (Identity card) N/A
 Cyprus Greek: Δελτίο Ταυτότητας
Turkish: Kimlik Kartı (Identity card)
Compulsory at 12.
 Czech Republic Občanský Průkaz (Civil card) Compulsory at 15.
 Dominican Republic Cédula de Identidad y Electoral (CIE)(Personality Verification Card) If needed, an underage ID card may be obtained at the age of 16, yet the official ID (which will allow the individual to vote) is obtained at 18.
 Egypt بطاقة تحقيق الشخصية (Personality Verification Card) The Personality Verification Card is compulsory at the age of 16. Issued by the Civil Registry Office which is subordinate to the Ministry of Interior. Not carrying the ID card is only penalised by fine not exceeding 200 EGP.
 El Salvador Documento Único de Identidad (Unique Identity Document) Every citizen 18 years or older must carry this ID card.
 Estonia Isikutunnistus (Identity card) Compulsory by law, but there is no penalty for not having one. Many electronic services are available (legally binding digital signatures, internet banking, internet voting, strong authentication to government and private websites). Citizens carrying ID cards are not required to carry drivers licence and registration.
 Gambia Gambian National Identity Card All Gambian citizens 18 years or older are required to hold a Gambian National ID Card.
 Germany Personalausweis (Identity Card) Compulsory for all German citizens aged 16 or older to possess either a "Personalausweis" (identity card) or a passport, but not to carry it. 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. Fines may only be applied if an identity card or passport is not possessed at all, if the document is expired or if one explicitly refuses to show ID to the police. If one is unable to produce an ID card or passport (or any other form of credible identification) during a police control, one can (in theory) be brought to the next police post and detained for a maximum of 12 hours, or until positive identification is possible. However, this measure is only applied if the police have reasonable grounds to believe the person detained has committed an offence.
As driving licences are not legally accepted forms of identification in Germany, most persons actually carry their "Personalausweis" with them.[11] more
 Ghana Ghana Card Compulsory for Ghanaian citizens above 16.
 Greece Αστυνομική Ταυτότητα (Police Identity Card) In Greece, the biggest change in Identity Documents Law happened in 2000, when some fields of the Police Identity Card (as Greeks call it) were rejected. These fields included religion, addresses, biometric characteristics and fingerprint. Oppositely, some fields were added. These are Latin transliterations of name and surname, blood type and Rhesus of the owner. Under this law, all Greeks over 12 years old must go to a police office to ask for an Identity Card. In Greece, there are many everyday things you cannot do without an ID. In fact, according to an older law, the Police ID is the only legal identity document and no one has a right to ask for more identity documents. Since the 1980s all legal services in Greece must be done with this ID. Also, you can travel within the EU with a Greek National ID card, but it is not advisable since travelling with ID without machine readable zone often causes delay at border controls. Carrying the ID is not compulsory; however during routine police checks, if you are found without an ID, the police officer may take you to the nearest police station for further investigation.
 Guatemala Documento Personal de Identificación (National Identity Document) Identity cards are issued to any Guatemalan and legal residents. For children between 0 and 12 years the document is golden shaded; between 13 and 17 years the document is silvered.[12] Documents for Guatemalan citizens are blue[13] and for legal residents are red.[14]

Guatemalan constitution requires personal identification via documentation, person rooting or the government. If the person cannot be identified may be sent to a judge until identification is provided.[15]

 Guyana Guyana national identity card The Guyanese national identity card is an electronic ID card, compulsory for all Guyanese nationals.
 Hong Kong Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID) Identity cards have been used since 1949, and been compulsory since 1980. Children are required to obtain their first identity card at age 11, and must change to an adult identity card at age 18.

Police officers have an absolute right to require every person aged 15 or above on public premises to produce their HKID or valid passport for inspection; failure to produce such photo ID constitutes an offence in law.

 Hungary Személyi igazolvány (Identity card) See[16] (in Hungarian) It is compulsory to possess an ID or passport from the age of 14. A driving license can be also used for identification from the age of 17. Private entities however, are legally required to accept passport or driver's licence for proof, but often do not accept them, only the ID card, thus in effect almost all citizens have the ID card. Police has the legal power to stop people on streets at random and ask for ID paper only if they have any proof that the person was involved in a crime, or is a witness. If the person has no proof for identification he/she can be detained for maximum 24 hours. It is a common misconception in Hungary that the Police can ask for your ID at any time, but since 1990 this is not the case.
 India Aadhaar (Identity card) Proof of identity such as a passport, Aadhaar, ration card, PAN card, or driving license is mandatory for issuing essentials such as electricity, water, cell-phone SIM cards, etc. Those without proof of identity can often not obtain such basics.[17] Aadhaar is envisioned to be the only necessary and sufficient ID for obtaining a wide range of services. While Aadhaar is practically mandatory for the aforementioned services, its legal status is uncertain as the matter is sub-judice under the Supreme Court of India.[18]
 Indonesia Kartu Tanda Penduduk - KTP (Resident Identification Card) The card is issued to Indonesian citizens and foreign nationals with permanent residence in the Republic of Indonesia. Possession of KTP is compulsory for residents whose age is 17 or older, and residents who is married before the age of 17. The electronic version (e-KTP) is valid indefinitely, unless the data recorded on the card has changed (e.g. address, marital status, etc.).
 Iran کارت شناسائی ملی (National Identity card) The Iranian national identity card is compulsory for citizens and permanent residents, aged 15 and over.
 Iraq Iraq National Card
البطاقة الوطنية (Arabic)
كارتى نيشتيمانى (Kurdish)


The National Card is an electronic biometric ID card, compulsory for all Iraqi citizens starting in 2016 and costs 5,000 dinars.
 Israel Hebrew: תעודת זהות, Arabic: بطاقة هوية
(identity card)
The Teudat Zehut is first issued at age 16 and is compulsory by 18.
 Jordan بطاقة شخصية (Personal card) First issued at age 16 and is compulsory by 18.
 Kenya Kitambulisho All citizens (and permanent residents) are issued a national identification card at age 18. ID cards are the most common forms of identification, although passports can also be used interchangeably in most instances.
 Kuwait بطاقة المدنية (Loosely translated to civil card) All residents of Kuwait must have a Civil ID card. The parents of newborns should apply for registration of the child within 60 days after birth. An expatriate must apply for a civil ID card within 30 days of getting his residency.[19][20][21]
 Latvia Personas apliecība (identity card) An identity card or passport is the mandatory personal identification document for a citizen of Latvia or a non-citizen who lives in Latvia and has reached 18.[22]
 Lebanon بطاقة هوية (identity card) There is a compulsory identity document issued in Lebanon. The document is issued by the police on behalf of the Ministry of Interior and is the main form of identification on the territory of the Republic of Lebanon. All Lebanese are obliged by law to carry their identity cards with them at all times and are subject to fines should they not. As of 30 June 2006, all Lebanese nationals must hold the new magnetic Identification Card.
 Lesotho National ID card Compulsory for all national citizens. ID cards were implemented in 2013.
 Luxembourg Carte nationale d'identité (national identity card) First issued at age 15 and only issued to Luxembourg citizens, who are required by law to carry it at all times.
 Macau Bilhete de Identidade de Residente (Resident Identity Card) It is compulsory for all Macau residents at the age of 5.[23]
 Macedonia Лична карта (Identity card) Issued by the ministry of interior to citizens with permanent residence in Macedonia. It is compulsory at the age of 18.
 Madagascar Kara-panondrom-pirenena Kara-panondrom-pirenen'ny teratany malagasy (Carte nationale d'identité de citoyen malagasy). Possession is compulsory for Malagasy citizens from age 18 (by decree 78-277 (3 Oct 1978)).
 Malaysia MyKad Issued at age 12, and updated at 18. MyPR for Permanent Resident. MyKas for temporary residents. Non-compulsory MyKid before age of 12. MyKad and MyPR must be carried at all times. Cards are differentiated by colour. MyKad is blue, MyPr is red and MyKas is green.
 Malawi National Identification card Biometric. Distribution of national ID cards started in 2017 and the card is compulsory for all national citizens.
 Malta Karta tal-Identità (Identity card) Issued at 14, updated at 16, compulsory at 18.
 Mauritania بطاقة الهوية الوطنية / Carte nationale d’identité (National Identity card) Compulsory at 15. Biometric since 2013, with information displayed in Arabic, French and English[24]
 Mauritius National ID card Every Mauritian citizen who has reached 18 years old has to apply for a National ID card, which is one of the few accepted forms of identification, including a passport.
 Moldova Buletin de identitate (Identity card) Compulsory at 16.
 Morocco بطاقة التعريف الوطنية (National identification card) The national identity card is the ID of the citizens of Morocco (in Arabic : بطاقة التعريف الوطنية). This is an official document which allows any citizen to prove his identity and therefore it is valid, his Moroccan nationality. It is compulsory for all citizens aged over 18 years, but it can be obtained from the age of 16. A new version of the card is out, it has the form of a credit card. The Directorate General of National Security of Morocco announced it will issue a new electronic national identity card (NIEC) on 1 April 2008. The current national maps will be gradually replaced in four years. The NIEC is biometric and provides citizens of a birth certificate, residence certificate, extract of birth and citizenship certificates.
 Monaco Monégasque identity card Compulsory for all Monégasque citizens.
 Montenegro Lična karta (Лична карта, Identity card) Compulsory at the age of 16, but can be issued at 14 and has to be carried at all times after turning 18. It is issued only to Montenegrin citizens with permanent residence in Montenegro. While it is the most often used official identification document, three other hold the same status — Passport, Driver's licence and Refugee ID card. Old style IDs, that refer to the no longer existing states of SFRY or FRY, are not valid since 2011.
 Mozambique Bilhete de identidade (Identity card) N/A
 Myanmar National Registration Card (Identity Card) Myanmar citizens are required to have a National Registration Card (NRC), while non-citizens are given a Foreign Registration Card.
 Namibia National ID card Compulsory for all Namibia citizens. New identity cards replaced previous “SWA” IDs in 2016
 Netherlands Identiteitskaart (Identity card) Although it is not compulsory to carry a proof of identity at all times, since 1 January 2005 it is compulsory to show identification, when an authorized officer asks for it, from the age of 14. An authorized officer can only do so under certain circumstances. Such circumstances include suspicious behaviour, committing any offence, or if a person is interviewed as a witness of a crime. Identity checks at events where the public order may be in danger are also allowed. Otherwise random identity checks by the police are not allowed in principle but can happen in certain areas such as a train station or suspicious areas such as where prostitution is rife, and a fine for not showing proof of identity may be successfully challenged in such cases. The fine for not being able to show proof of identity when legally required is €60 (16 and over) or €30 (if 14 or 15). Proof of identity is also required when opening a bank account and when entering an employment contract.[25]
 North Korea "Identity Card", "Travel Pass" (with specified destination of travel and written permission) Photos

North Korea is probably the country which imposes the strongest fines for citizens not carrying ID cards. To travel North Koreans need not only an identity card, but also a "travel pass", with specified destination and written permission. Sometimes citizens may be punished with time in a labour camp for not carrying their cards, however this is often only a short sentence and people are usually released upon presentation of the card at a later date. Although much is not known about the properties of the card, it is probably plastic and similar in size to most European ID cards. Between 2004 and 2008, all records were transferred to an electronic Korean-language central database. Obtaining a driving license in North Korea is not usual – except in the case of professional drivers, mechanics, and assistants – since few citizens own cars. Only government officials are issued passports because the state restricts citizens travel. North Koreans working abroad are issued contracts between North Korea and the host country to allow for travel, and government officers often accompany and supervise workers.

 Panama Cedula de Identidad (identity card) Cedula de Identidad. Required at 18. Panamanian citizens must carry their Cedula at all times.[26]
 Pakistan Computerised National Identity Card Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC). First made at the age of 18, not compulsory to carry all the time. The card is mandatory for opening bank accounts, for passport and almost all substantial monetary transactions from car, land to high-value assets.
 Palestinian National Authority بطاقة هوية (identity card) Identification Card. First made on the age of 16, The fields in it are identical to those in ID cards issued by Israeli civil administration prior to the Oslo accords, fields include Full name (four names), Mother name, date of birth, birthplace, Gender, Religion, place of issuance, and issue date. in addition to an appendix that includes address, marital status, name and ID number of and listing of partner, and previous name(s), in addition to a listing of children names. The document "validity" is incubated until the Israeli authorities approve it.
 Paraguay Cédula de identidad civil (Civil National Identity card) The Paraguayan national identity card is issued by the National Police and is compulsory for all citizens; with a cost of 8500 Paraguayan guaraní.
 Peru Documento Nacional de Identidad. National Document of Identification or Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI). Citizens can have a minor DNI but at the age of 17 they are encouraged to renew their DNI to get an Adult DNI. At 18, it is compulsory.
 Philippines Pambansang Pagkakakilanlan (Philippine Identification Card) The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) ID also known as the Philippine identity card is issued to all Filipino citizens and resident alien in the Philippines. The pilot implementation will start in selected regions in 2018 and full implementation starting 2019.[27] The national ID card is compulsory and will harmonize existing government-initiated identification cards issued including the Unified Multi-Purpose ID issued to members of the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund).[28]
 Poland Dowód osobisty (Identity card) Possession of a Polish National Identity Card is compulsory at 18. Those who do not comply with the relevant law are subject to restriction of freedom for up to one month or a fine.[29] Compulsory ID cards were introduced during the German occupation after 1939 and remained in effect after the end of the war. As of 2016 each citizen aged 18 and older was still required to possess an ID card. However, other documents may be used for identification in certain situations such as passports or driving licences. — Passport, Driver's licence and Refugee ID card. Old style IDs, that refer to the no longer existing states of SFRY or FRY, are not valid since 2011.
 Portugal Cartão de Cidadão (Citizen card) As of 2006 the government has issued the Cartão do Cidadão (Citizen Card). The older Bilhete de identidade which has been compulsory at 10, is still in limited use. All citizens starting at the age of 6 are required to obtain an identity card, but are not required to carry them. According to other sources it is required to carry them.[30]
 Qatar Qatari ID Card As of 2014 the government has issued a Qatari ID Card to every Qatari citizen and resident over the age of 15. There are currently two types of cards in use, the smart card can be used to identify in government websites as well as for easier access to the country.
 Romania Carte de identitate (identity card) The Carte de identitate is compulsory at 14.
 Russia Identity card A Russian identity document is issued to any citizen on request at the age of 14 and reissued at ages 20 and 45. Starting in 2018, they will be replaced with identity cards valid for 10 years[citation needed]. People may use other documents for identity as well (e.g., driver's license, passport).
 Rwanda Rwandan National Identity Cars Compulsory for all Rwandan citizens living in the country, with a price of 500 RWF. Valid for international travel to Kenya and Uganda.[31][32]
 San Marino Carta di identità (National Identity Card) Compulsory for all Sanmarinese citizens.[33] Biometric and valid for international travel since 2016.
 Saudi Arabia بطاقة الأحوال المدنية (Bitaqat Al-Ahwal Al-Madaniya, civil identity card) Compulsory for men 17 and older and optional for teenage men aged 15–16. Optional for women but issued to women 18 and older.
 Serbia Lična karta (Лична карта) (Identity card) Compulsory for citizens 16 and older permanently residing in Serbia, and compulsory for non-citizens residing in Serbia. Optional for minors 10–15. Must be carried whenever in public. Although the identity card is the most commonly used identification document, three others will suffice: a passport, driver's licence, or refugee ID card. Cards referring to the former states SFRY and FRY were eliminated by the end of 2016.
 Singapore National Registration Identity Card Compulsory for citizens and permanent residents 15 and older and must be renewed upon turning 30 and upon turning 55 if born after January 1962. The NRIC does not need to be carried at all times, and it need not be produced to police officers who are merely screening passers-by while on patrol. But it is sometimes necessary to produce one's NRIC: for example, when renewing one's passport, voting, and applying for public services. Notably, the NRIC includes the bearer's race, among typical demographic information.[34]
 Slovakia Občiansky preukaz (citizen card) Compulsory for citizens 15 and older and is used to identify the bearer in daily interaction with authorities.[35] The citizen card includes the bearer's photograph, birth date, address, and unique number.
 Slovenia Osebna izkaznica (identity card) Compulsory for citizens 18 and older who have a permanent residence in Slovenia but who do not have a passport.[36] Citizens younger than 18 may obtain an identity card with their parent's permission. It must be carried at all times.
 South Africa South African identity card Compulsory for citizens 16 and older, and compulsory for all non-citizen permanent residents. The older form of Identity Document, in the form of a green booklet, began being phased out in 2013.[37] Although passports and driver's licences are also acceptable forms of identification, banks only accept a national identity card. Your ID has a barcode, a photo, and a unique number. Demographic information including age and gender − but not race – is included, as is the bearer's criminal record, voting history, licence to drive, right to possess a firearm, and the like. A national identity card is necessary to obtain a passport, bank account, and driver's licence, and is also necessary to register to vote. Employers will typically photocopy a visitor's identity card to process her appointment. Because it is frequently necessary to produce a national identity card, many South African permanent resident carry their card at all times.
 South Korea 주민등록증 (Identity card) Compulsory for citizens 17 and older. This card contains the citizen's unique resident registration number, which is required for government and private business, for example, opening bank accounts and creating online accounts with web sites and gaming networks.
 Spain Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI; National identification document) Compulsory for anyone 14 and older and must be carried at all times. Minors younger than 14 can obtain a DNI, for example, to travel to other European countries. It is routinely used for identification and is often necessary to conduct public and private business. Many companies and government offices photocopy a bearer's DNI. Beginning in 2006, the DNI has been replaced by the DNI electrónico (electronic DNI).[38]
 Sri Lanka National Identity Card
ජාතික හැඳුනුම්පත
தேசிய அடையாள அட்டை
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., 88xxxxxxxx for someone born in 1988). 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, but they too are required to carry some form of photo identification (such as a photocopy of their passport or foreign driving license) at all times.[39] In addition the Department of Post may issue an identity card with a validity of five years, this may be gained in lieu of an NIC if the latter is unable to be issued.

New Sri Lankan Electronic National ID Card (with biometric features EPassport logo.svg) will be issued soon.[40]

 Swaziland National ID card Compulsory for all Swazi citizens.
 Taiwan National Identification Card

國民身份證

Compulsory for ROC nationals 14 and older whose household is registered in Taiwan.
 Thailand บัตรประจำตัวประชาชน (Thai national ID card) Compulsory for citizens who are 7 – 70 years of age.[41] People older than 70 years and exempted citizen can still apply for a card. A fee of ฿100 is payable in case of loss, damage or information alteration.
 Tunisia Tunisian National Identification Card Compulsory for citizens 18 and older. A minor can obtain a national identity card with a parent's approval.
 Turkey Nüfus Cüzdanı (Identity card) Compulsory from birth and must be carried at all times. A photograph is optional until the bearer turns 15. It is often photocopied at government offices, banks, and the like.[42]
 Uganda National Identity Card Compulsory for Ugandan citizens anywhere in the world, and compulsory for non-citizen permanent residents in Uganda.[43] In April–August 2014 the government registered sixteen out of eighteen million citizens.[44] In 2017 the government began a nationwide effort to register children.[44] An identity card or identity number is required for all government services, including voting, as well as many private services—for example, opening bank accounts, buying insurance policies, transferring interests in real property.[45]
 Ukraine Паспорт громадянина України (Passport of Ukrainian citizen) Compulsory for citizens 14 and older. Before 2016, the national identity card was a blue soft paper booklet like the typical international passport. In 2016, the government began issuing credit-card-sized biometric identity cards (a/k/a "internal passport" or "passport card") containing an RFID chip. The bearer's address is not printed on the card but is instead coded on the chip. The card is printed in Ukrainian and English except for patronymic information that may be in Russian. Cards last ten years before expiring, except that minors' identity cards must be renewed upon turning 18.
 United Arab Emirates National ID Card Compulsory for residents.
 Uruguay Cédula de Identidad (Identity card) Compulsory for citizens and residents except infants younger than 45 days.
 Venezuela Cédula de Identidad (Identity card) Compulsory for anyone 10 and older, and it must be renewed every 10 years.
 Vietnam Giấy chứng minh nhân dân (People's proof document) Compulsory for citizens 14 and older.
 Zimbabwe National Registration Card Compulsory for citizens 16 and older. It is plastic and must be carried at all times.

Countries with non-compulsory identity cards[edit]

These are countries where official authorities issue identity cards to those who request them, but where it is not illegal to be without an official identity document. For some services, identification is needed, but documents such as passports or identity cards issued by banks or driving licences can be used. In countries where national identity cards are fully voluntary, they are often not so commonly used, because many already have a passport or driving licence, so a third identity document is often considered superfluous.

Country Description
 Austria Austrian identity card
 Dominica The Dominica national multpurpose identitification card is optional for all Dominiquais nationals and is valid for international travel within OECS countries.
 Finland A national identity card exists, usable all over the EU and a number of other countries, but commonly people use their driving licences or national social security cards as ID.
 France

The country has had a national ID card since 1940, when it helped the Vichy authorities identify 76,000 for deportation as part of the Holocaust.

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. In addition to the face photograph, the card included the family name, first names, date and place of birth, and a unique national identity number relating to the national INSEE registry, which is also used as the national service registration number, and as the Social Security account number for health and retirement benefits.

Later,[when?] the laws were changed[citation needed] so that any official and certified document (even if expired and possibly unusable abroad) with a photograph and a name on it, issued by a public administration or enterprise (such as a rail transport card, student card, driving licence or passport) could be used as proof of identity.[citation needed] Also, law enforcement (gendarmerie) can now accept photocopies of these documents[citation needed] when performing identity checks, provided that the original document is presented within two weeks.[citation needed] For financial transactions, any of these documents must be equally accepted as proof of identity.[citation needed]

Identity cards are still issued, but are free of charge, and not compulsory. Legislation has been published for a proposed compulsory biometric card system, which has been widely criticised, among others by the "National commission for computing and liberties" (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés, CNIL), the national authority and regulator on computing systems and databases. Identity cards issued since 2004 include basic biometric information (a digitized fingerprint record, a printed digital photograph and a scanned signature) and various anti-fraud systems embedded within the laminated card.

The French health insurance card, a smart card named "Carte Vitale 2", includes a digital photograph and other personal medical information in addition to identity elements. The previous version included a chip and a magnetic stripe, but contained very little information.

 Gibraltar United Kingdom

The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar has a voluntary ID card system for citizens, valid in the UK and EU member countries.

 Iceland The National Register of Persons (Þjóðskrá) issues national identity cards (Nafnskírteini) to citizens aged 14 or over. They do not state citizenship and are not usable outside the Nordic passport union.[46] People in Iceland are required to present identification if asked by police,[citation needed] but driving licenses and various other ID cards are acceptable as well as the identity card.
 Ireland The Irish Passport Card is usable for a national identification and travel within most of Europe (including countries like Georgia and Moldova). Most people prefer the more traditional documents[citation needed], the driver's license since it is needed for driving, and the passport for travel. A Public Services Card was introduced in recent years to access public services.
 Italy Carta d'Identità (Italian Wikipedia) may be issued to anyone resident in Italy and to Italian citizens living abroad. A card issued to an Italian citizen is accepted in lieu of a passport in all Europe (except in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine) and in Turkey, Georgia, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. It is not compulsory to have it or to carry it, unless expressly ordered by public security authorities. The latest version is the Italian electronic identity card, but the main problem is that most municipalities in Italy still issue old form of ID without machine readable zones, which often cause delays at border controls.
 Japan There is an optional Juki Net (住基ネット, Jūki netto) card for Japanese citizens, corresponding to the compulsory Jūminhyō (住民票) record of residential address. The compulsory Certificate of Alien Registration (外国人登録証明書, Gaikokujin Tōroku Shōmeisho) that all resident foreigners were required to have is being replaced with a resident's ID card that is essentially the same as the Juki Net card, and resident foreigners are now registered in Jūminhyō, together with Japanese family (if any). Foreigners who enter the country on a visa that is valid for 3 months or less need only a passport with a valid landing permit. Driving licenses, National Health Insurance Cards (国民健康保険証, Kokumin Kenkō Hoken Shō), Certificates of Alien Registration (or the new resident's ID card that replaces it) and passports containing a registration for a Certificate for Alien Registration are accepted as IDs for most purposes. Health insurance cards do not have a photograph of their owner.
 Liechtenstein The Principality of Liechtenstein has a voluntary ID card system for citizens, the Identitätskarte.
 Lithuania Asmens tapatybės kortelė (Identity card). Passport or Identity card is compulsory at age 16.
 Maldives New biometric credit-sized passport cards are optional for Maldivian citizens. They also replaced both driving licenses and certain types of credit cards. They are compulsory for acquiring a passport.
 Mexico The National Electorate Institute (Instituto Nacional Electoral, INE) issues Voting cards (credencial para votar) to Mexican citizens over 18 years of age. This card is required to participate in Federal level elections and while it is the de facto ID for most legal transactions, it is not mandatory to have one. Mexican minors, between the ages of 4 and 17, were able to get a personal ID card named cédula de identidad personal, but the government stopped issuing it in 2013. Both documents can be used to demonstrate Mexican nationality and thus enter Mexico from abroad, be it by air, sea or land.
 Saint Lucia Passport or Identity card is compulsory for all Saint Lucian citizens.
 Sweden

Having an identity card in Sweden is not mandatory, but it is needed in several situations, e.g. for bank services or when picking up a package at a post office.
Sweden has since 2005 issued national identity cards, but they are not compulsory and only obtainable by Swedish citizens,[47] mostly intended to use for intra-Schengen area travel. The Swedish tax authority does since 2009 issue official identity cards for anyone resident in Sweden. Driver's licenses is the most commonly used identity document in Sweden. Between 2005 and 2009 it was almost impossible for immigrants to get a card because of tightened security to get a bank card, since a close family member having a Swedish identity document had to vouch the identity. Not having an ID card in combination with a crime giving a fine (e.g. riding public transport without a ticket), is a suspicion to escape it, which is a reason for detainment in Sweden.

  Switzerland The Swiss identity card is issued to any citizen. It is not mandatory to carry, but it or a passport is needed in some situations. Driver's licenses are not always valid as identity document as they don't expire and can be old.
 Tonga Tonga's National ID Card was first issued in 2010, and it is optional, along with the driver's licenses and passports. Either one of these are mandatory for to vote though. Applicants need to be 14 years of age or older to apply for a National ID Card.[48]
 Trinidad and Tobago The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) is responsible for the issuing of National Identification Cards. A National Identification (ID) Card is issued to a citizen or eligible resident when they register to vote. The National ID Card is an electoral document used as proof of identity when voting. It is also accepted as a primary form of identification within Trinidad and Tobago, and can be obtained before voting age. Eligible for the card are citizens of Trinidad and Tobago of 15 years of age or older, and Commonwealth citizens 15 years of age or older who have resided legally in Trinidad and Tobago for at least one year immediately preceding the application. The National ID Card is valid for 10 years.[49] It is not, however, mandatory when voting; other forms if ID, including passport or driver's permit, can be presented.
 United States The U.S. passport card is the de jure national identity card of the United States of America. The passport card is issued by the federal government via the Department of State upon voluntary request. The primary purpose of the passport card is used as a Federal issued Identity card and a limited travel document under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, similar to the usage of national identity cards in the Schengen Area. However, passport cards are also conclusive proof of U.S. citizenship under federal law, accepted for domestic airline travel under the REAL ID Act,[50] a List A document for Form I-9 purposes,[51] and generally proof of identity/citizenship both inside and outside the United States.[52] Despite this, the predominant and de facto method of identification remains the driver's license (or non-driver ID card) issued by each state, because driver's license is needed for driving, although these generally do not indicate citizenship or nationality.

In the past, compulsory ID cards or something compulsory resembling ID cards have existed, such as internal passports for freed African Americans before the abolition of slavery, and the draft cards for men (during times when men were conscripted into the army). In some states, there is a Stop and identify statute meaning that an identity card (or driver's license or other photo id) is mandatory in certain circumstances.

Countries with no identity cards[edit]

These are countries where official authorities do not issue any identity cards. When identification is needed, e.g. passports, identity cards issued by banks etc., or cards that are not mainly identity cards like driver's licenses can be used. Most countries that are not listed at all in this page have no National ID Card.

Country Description
 Andorra No National Identity Card in the Principality. Passports & driving licenses are most commonly used for identification.[53]
 Australia In 1985, there was a failed proposal to create an Australia Card. In 2006 the Australian Government announced the introduction of a non-compulsory Access Card that would act as a gateway to services administered by The Department of Human Services. This project, however, was terminated in November 2007. Class A identification documents in most Australian states include State government, Australian Passport (issued by the Federal government), foreign passport, or Residency/Citizenship documents (issued by the Federal government).
 Canada In the past, Canadian citizenship cards were issued to new Canadians upon naturalization and established Canadians (upon request). As of 2012 these cards have been discontinued, and there is no national identity card or equivalent. Driver's licenses issued by the provinces are the primary form of identification. All provinces and territories except Quebec also issue separate photo identification cards for non-drivers. Health cards (issued by the provinces) and passports (issued by the Canadian federal government) are used as supplemental or alternative identification.
 Denmark No national identity card. When needed, e.g. in banks, a passport or driver's license is used or, for age checks, a municipal identity card. Against authorities a health insurance card (without photo) can be used.
 Fiji There is no national ID Card, although, in 2010 and 2012,[54] there were proposals for a compulsory identity card ideas that did not progress.
 New Zealand No national identity card. Acceptable types of identification for proof of identification may include passports, firearms licences, driving licences, 18+ cards (issued by Hospitality NZ), a SuperGold (senior citizen's) card, birth certificates or a citizenship certificate.
 Norway No national identity card, but private identity cards exist which are needed in banks if not using a passport or driving licence. Bank issued debit cards have had a photo of the holder on the back since the 1980s. The banks have stated that they no longer intend to issue photos on their debit and credit cards, as they think ID-cards should be a public service. This requires people who do not have a driving licence to bring their passport in many situations. Norway decided in 2007 to introduce a voluntary national identity card, to be usable for travel to EEA countries, but they are delayed[55] and are planned to be introduced in 2019.[56][57] The reason for the delay is that the responsible authority requires absolute security on both the cards and the validation of the identity at issuance.
 United Kingdom Compulsory identity cards were to be introduced under the Identity Cards Act 2006. Initial cards, not yet compulsory, were introduced for those who wanted them in 2009, but the requirement and the cards were abolished by the Identity Documents Act 2010 without compensation to those who had paid for them after a change of government.[58] When a formal identity document is needed, a passport or a driving licence is needed. For those who do not have—or wish to carry—a passport or driving licence, the UK Government has instituted the PASS scheme, which allows private companies to issue proof of age cards to UK residents, primarily for young people to prove age in the purchase of age-restricted goods and services.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • As noted above, certain countries do not have national ID cards, but have other official documents that play the same role in practice (e.g. driver's license for the United States). While a country may not make it de jure compulsory to own or carry an identity document, it may be de facto strongly recommended to do so in order to facilitate certain procedures.
  • In most countries, non-resident foreign citizens have to be able to identify themselves through a passport. For residents with "foreign" characteristics (e.g. skin color, dialect) possession of an acceptable identity card might be useful to reduce the risk of harassment from the police and other authorities.
  • In many countries, people suspected of crime will be detained until their identity is proven even in countries not requiring an identity card.

References[edit]

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