Background > National identity card: Countries Compared

DEFINITION: Description.
Albania The Let\u00ebrnjoftimi is an electronic biometric ID card, compulsory upon 16 years old and costs 1200 lek ( \u20ac 10).
Argentina The Documento Nacional de Identidad is issued at a person's birth, and updated at 8 and 14 years of age, and thereafter renewed every fifteen years. For many years, the DNI was issued as a small booklet (called libreta ). In 2009, the DNI was revamped and digitalized; and booklets were issued along with a card (called tarjeta) simultaneously. Since 2012, DNIs are issued only in card format. The new DNI card is required to obtain a new Argentine Passport .
Belarus The Belarusian passport is compulsory at 16. Reissued at 25, 45 and 100. It is international, not an internal passport , and can be used to travel to other countries. Could be issued before 16 for travelling purposes.
Belgium The card is first issued at age 12, compulsory by 15. Since the beginning of 2005 the eID ( e lectronic ID entity-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. The identity cards for Belgians living abroad are not electronic cards like those issued in Belgium. They are, however, equally valid and are accepted and used in the same way as the electronic identity card.
Bolivia The card is compulsory at 18. Rarely required by police.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Compulsory at 16.
Botswana 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 with an official death certificate.
Brazil Compulsory to be issued and carried 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 each state's Public Safety Secretary, but other state departments \u2014 including the Armed Forces, the Police and some professional councils \u2014 can issue alternate identity cards too. There is a national standard, but each state can include minor differences (usually numbering scheme, font , printed seal and background pattern. The front has a picture (with an electronic stamp on it), right thumb print and signature (for illiterate people the phrase "n\u00e3o assina" \u2014 cannot sign \u2014 is printed in its place). The verse has the unique number (RG, registro geral ), expedition date, full name of the person, name of the parents, place (town, state) and date of birth, CPF number and other optional information. It is green and plastified, officially 102 \u00d7 68 mm, but lamination tends to make it slightly larger than the ISO/IEC 7810 ID-2 standard of 105 \u00d7 74 mm, resulting in a tight fit in most wallets. Only recently the driver's licence received the same legal status of an identity card in Brazil. There are also a few other documents, such as cards issued by the national councils of some professions (doctors, accountants, dentists, engineers, lawyers etc.), which are considered equivalent to the national identity card for most purposes.
Bulgaria 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". During the socialism period (1945\u20131989), to receive an " international passport ", especially one allowing to travel to a Western country, was considered an achievement. Not all Bulgarian citizens had the right to travel abroad, and those who travelled outside the Soviet bloc underwent strict investigation for possible links with political enemies of the regime. Since January 1, 2007, the Bulgarian identity card can be used to travel within the European Union . Since 29 March 2010 new Bulgarian identity cards were introduced with embedded chip with personal data.
Chile First issued at age 2 or 3, it is compulsory at 18.
China First issued at school age, the Resident Identity Card ( Chinese : \u5c45\u6c11\u8eab\u4efd\u8bc1, Pinyin : J\u016bm\u00edn Sh\u0113nf\u00e8nzh\u00e8ng) becomes compulsory at 16.
Colombia Tarjeta - First issued at age 2 or 3, then it's changed at 18 for another identity card called C\u00e9dula de Ciudadan\u00eda . It is only renewed afterwards if stolen or lost.
Croatia The Croatian identity card is compulsory at 16.
Cuba N/A
Cyprus All residents aged 12 and up are required to carry an official ID card.
Czech Republic Compulsory at 15.
Egypt 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.
Estonia 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.
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Greece 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. 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.
Hong Kong See main article Hong Kong Identity Card . 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.
Hungary See [1] (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.
Indonesia Kartu Tanda Penduduk for Indonesian citizens and the KITAP's or permanent residents card holder. The card is issued upon reaching the age of 17 or upon marriage.
Iran The Iranian national identity card is compulsory for citizens and permanent residents, aged 15 and over.
Israel The Teudat Zehut is first issued at age 16 and is compulsory by 18.
Jordan First issued at age 16 and is compulsory by 18.
Kenya N/A
Latvia See [1] (In English) 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 years of age.
Lebanon The 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 June 30, 2006, all Lebanese nationals must hold the new magnetic Identification Card (ID)
Lithuania Lithuanian Personal Identity Card , compulsory at 16.
Luxembourg First issued at age 15 and only issued to Luxembourg citizens, who are required by law to carry it at all times.
Madagascar Kara-panondrom-pirenen'ny teratany malagasy ( Carte nationale d'identit\u00e9 de citoyen malagasy ). Possession is compulsory for Malagasy citizens from age 18 (by decree 78-277, 1978-10-03).
Malaysia 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 color. MyKad is blue, MyPr is red and MyKas is green.
Malta Karta ta' l-Identit\u00e0 Issued at 14, updated at 16, compulsory at 18.
Moldova The Buletin de identitate is compulsory at 16.
Montenegro The Montenegrin identity card (Li\u010dna karta/\u041b\u0438\u0447\u043d\u0430 \u043a\u0430\u0440\u0442\u0430) is compulsory at the age of 16. 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 \u2014 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.
Morocco The national identity card is the ID of the citizens of Morocco (in Arabic : \u0628\u0637\u0627\u0642\u0629 \u0627\u0644\u062a\u0639\u0631\u064a\u0641 \u0627\u0644\u0648\u0637\u0646\u064a\u0629). 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 (DSMS) of Morocco announced Sunday, March 30, 2008 it will proceed on 1 April 2008 to issue new national identity card Electronic (NIEC). The current national maps will be gradually replaced in four years. The NIEC is biometric and provides citizens of the presentation of life certificate, residence certificate, extract of birth and citizenship certificates.
Mozambique N/A
Netherlands 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 offense, 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 doubtful areas i.e. redlight district, 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 \u20ac 60.- (16 and over) or \u20ac 30.- (14 or 15). Proof of identity is also required when opening a bank account and when entering an employment contract.
North Korea 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. North Koreans sometimes give false names on their cards because speaking to foreigners (except for in arranged official occasions) is a crime. Obtaining a driving license in North Korea is not usual - except in the case of professional drivers, mechanics and assistants - as number of cars owned by the public is very limited, making Pyongyang one of the only state cities without much traffic. Most people do not have passports because of restricted movement by the state, and usually only government officials are issued them. 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. See also North Korea passports
Pakistan 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.
Palestine 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.
Panama Cedula de Identidad. Required at 18. Panamaninan citizens must carry their Cedula at all times.
Peru N/A
Poland Polish National Identity Card The card is compulsory at 18. Those who do not comply with the relevant law are subject to restriction of freedom for up to 1 month or fine penalty. Until 1939 there were no compulsory id cards in Poland. However with German and Russian occupation they arrived, and after 1945 were hold by communist government. Today it is still obligatory to have ID card for Polish citizen, No exceptions, even if somebody possesses a valid passport, however there are other documents treated as useful for identification in some legal/govt. purposes(e.g. elections and "sailor book"). Also there is no law requiring Polish citizen to have any ID card in public space/during driving with driving license(so for e.g. police say "Please show me Your ID with driving license, if You have). But if You have with You the ID card and not show during control, on ask/question(even with only "Please show me"), You can be fined if the police after searching You personally found it. Foreigners(not citizens with issued ID card ) are obligated by law to have ID in public space/private.
Portugal As of 2006 the government has issued the Cart\u00e3o de Cidad\u00e3o (Citizen Card). The older Bilhete de identidade which has been compulsory at 10, is still in limited use.
Republic of Macedonia Issued by the ministry of interior to citizens with permanent residence in Macedonia. It is compulsory at the age of 18.
Romania The Carte de identitate is compulsory at 14.
Russia Internal passport is compulsory at 14 (but there is no penalty for not having one until the age of 16) and reissued with a new photograph at 20, 45. Although there are no laws in Russia requiring to carry a proof of identity, in certain places, such as Moscow, it is sensible to carry a passport at all times as lack of an ID during ad-hoc police checks is sufficient grounds for detention. A passport is also required for travel by long-range trains and airlines. There are a couple of operations that require an internal passport, (e.g. all notarial operations, land to high value assets).
Saudi Arabia The National ID Card "Bitaqat Al-Ahwal Al-Madaniya" ( Arabic : \u0628\u0637\u0627\u0642\u0629 \u0627\u0644\u0623\u062d\u0648\u0627\u0644 \u0627\u0644\u0645\u062f\u0646\u064a\u0629 ‎) Issued at 15 for males, compulsory at 17. Non-compulsory for females but issued at 18.
Serbia The Li\u010dna karta (\u041b\u0438\u0447\u043d\u0430 \u043a\u0430\u0440\u0442\u0430) is compulsory at the age of 16, but it can be obtained when a person turns 10. It is issued only to Serbian citizens with permanent residence in Serbia as well as foreign citizens residing in Serbia. While it is the most often used official identification document, three other hold the same status \u2014 Passport, Driver's licence and Refugee ID card. Old style IDs, that refer to a the no longer existing states of SFRY or FRY , will be valid until their expire date and no longer than December 31, 2016.
Singapore It is compulsory for all citizens and permanent residents to apply for the NRIC from age 15 onwards, and to re-register their cards for a replacement at age 30. It is not compulsory for bearers to hold the card at all times, nor are they compelled by law to show their cards to police officers conducting regular screening while on patrol, for instance. The NRIC is also a required document for several places, such as renewal of the passports, voting for any election or national service, where if any failure will result in a denial to do so. In contrast to other countries, the NRIC also states the bearers' race. Immigration & Checkpoints Authority
Slovakia Ob\u010diansky preukaz ( Citizen card ) is compulsory at the age of 15. It serves the purpose of general identification towards the authorities. It features a photograph, date of birth and the address. Every card has a unique number.
Slovenia The Osebna izkaznica is compulsory for citizens of Slovenia who have a permanent residence in Slovenia, are at least 18 years old, and do not have a passport. It can be issued to citizens under 18 on request by their parent or legal guardian.
South Africa An Identity Document (ID) is issued at age 16 to all citizens; and permanent residents. Although passports and driver's licences are also acceptable forms of identification, banks only accept IDs. Your ID has a barcode, a photo, and your unique ID number. Information (including age and gender but excluding race) is referenced under your ID number: accounts, criminal record, voting history, driver's licence etc. You need an ID in order to apply for a passport, bank account, driver's licence or tertiary studies, as well as to register to vote. In most cases employers will also request a photocopy of your ID in order to process your appointment. Your voting history as well as any firearm licences are documented in your ID booklet. As one's ID may be required for some of the functions listed above, some SA permanent residents, may elect to keep their ID document on their person.
South Korea Korean citizens are issued a national ID card when reaching adulthood (typically when he/she reaches the age of 19 under East Asian age reckoning ). This card will have a unique "Citizen's Registration Number" ( jumin deungnok beonho ; Korean : \uc8fc\ubbfc\ub4f1\ub85d\ubc88\ud638 - see main article Resident registration number (South Korea) ). The first six numbers indicate the citizen's date of birth, while the last seven numbers includes information such as where the birth was registered. This number is used by Korean citizens for all forms of record-keeping, including online.
Spain The Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI) (Spanish Wikipedia) is compulsory at 14, can be issued before if necessary (to travel to other European countries, for example). By law, it has to be carried at all times, and it is routinely used for identification, and it is often photocopied by private and public bureaus. Many public and private transactions cannot be made without showing this ID. Since 2006, it is being replaced by the Electronic DNI .
Sri Lanka New Sri Lankan Electronic National ID Card (with biometric features ) will be issued soon.
Taiwan N/A
Thailand National ID card is compulsory for all citizens at the age of 7.
Turkey The N\u00fcfus C\u00fczdan\u0131 is compulsory right after birth without photograph, at the age of 15 a photograph must be sticked on. It has to be carried at all times and it is often photocopied by bureaus, banks, etc.
Ukraine Internal Ukrainian passport is compulsory (to possess but not to carry) at age of 16.
Venezuela In Venezuela it is called C\u00e9dula de Identidad, it is mandatory at the age of 10 and is renewed every 10 years
Vietnam Known as gi\u1ea5y ch\u1ee9ng minh nh\u00e2n d\u00e2n ("people's proof document"), it is compulsory for all Vietnamese citizens over 14.


"All countries compared for Background > National identity card", Wikipedia: List of national identity card policies by country (Countries with compulsory identity cards) (EU Directive 2004/38/EC). Aggregates compiled by NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Background/National-identity-card

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