The identity card offers a convenient way to prove your identity in everyday situations. It can even be used like a passport if you travel within the European Economic Area or Switzerland. Find out if you qualify for a card, and how to apply.
Who can apply for an identity card
If you lose your identity card, call the ID card advice line (0300 330 0000) to cancel it. To get a replacement card, visit ID Smart
To be eligible to apply for an identity card you must be a British citizen,at least 16 years old, live in the UKandhold a UK passport that was valid on or after1 January 2009.
You must also fit into one of the following groups:
- people who live or work in North West England
- 16 to 24-year-olds living in London
- airside workers at Manchester or London City airports
- people who have registered their interest in ID cards with the National Identity Service
From 2012, every British citizen who is at least 16 years old living in the UK will be able to apply for an identity card.
Call 0300 330 0901 (open seven days a week, 7 am to 11 pm) to get your application pack and book an appointment at one ofthe National Identity Service customer centres.The Identity and Passport Servicecurrently have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Blackburn.
Use the link below to find thecustomer centre nearest to you.
- Register your interest in identity cards and the National Identity Service
The price of an identity card
This year the identity card costs 30.
Using your identity card
By using biometric information (such as a photo) to prove your identity, an ID card makes it harder for peopleto create false identities.
Your identity card can be used to prove who you are in all kinds of situations, such as:
- ifyou want to open a bank account or apply for a loan or mortgage
- when you are signing a contract, like a mobile phone contract or a car hire agreement
- when you want to buy age-restricted items, like alcohol or cigarettes
- when you want to go to clubs or films with age restrictions
- when you start a new job - to prove that you have the right to work in the United Kingdom
- when you apply for other government services, such as housing benefits, National Insurance and healthcare
- when you go abroad -the card can be used just like a passport when you travel within the European Economic Area and Switzerland
- at the airports with automated gates - getting through passport control could be quicker with an identity card
The three types of identity card
There are three different types of identity card:
- the identity card for British citizens
- the identification card for European Economic Area citizens living in the UK
- the identity card for foreign nationals
This card is light purple and light pink in colour. The card holder's British nationality is listed clearly; this card can be used for travel within the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
The card is now available to British citizens who live or work in the North West of England.
This card is turquoise and green and does not list the card holder's nationality.
This card can only be used to prove who you are; it is not a travel document.
This card is printed on a pink and blue background.
It shows your immigration status and is also a residence permit, but it can't be used as a travel document.
- List of European Economic Area countries (on the Identity and Passport Service website) Opens new window
What your identity card says about you
No bigger than a credit card and easy to carry around, the identity card will be convenient and portable
Your card will carry the following information about you:
- your photograph
- your full name
- your gender
- the place and date of your birth
- an image of your signature
- if you are a British citizen, your nationality
Follow the link below to see some pictures of whatID cards look like.
The identity card's security features
Your card will have a number of security features to make it safer from fraudsters.
These features include:
- colour-changing ink
- a hologram
- a lens image
- elevated text
- a unique background design
More useful links
- Download 'Introducing the National Identity Service' (PDF, 381K)
- Download 'Introducing the National Identity Service - Welsh language version' (PDF, 279K)
- Help with PDF files
Provided by the Identity and Passport Service
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