As part of the National Identity Service, UK identity cards are being introduced in the United Kingdom.
If you're living in the UK, you may be able to apply for a UK identity card. The UK identity card will include biometrics of your unique physical features (face and fingerprints), securing them to your biographic details (including your name, address, and date of birth).
How can you get an UK identity card?
From 2012, everyone over 16 will be able to apply for an identity card.
If you're 16 or over and decide you would like an identity card, you will soon be able to apply for one in a very similar way to how you would apply for a passport.
As the National Identity Service begins to roll out from 2009, enrolment will be possible in selected locations, beginning with Manchester. People who register their interest online will be sent updates on the development of ID cards.
From 2012, while every British citizen over 16 years of age will be able to apply for an identity card if they choose, they will not be compelled to have one.
What will your UK identity card cost?
When the identity card is launched, it will cost GBP 30.
How your UK identity card will be used
By locking one individual to one identity using their biometrics, the National Identity Service will make it much harder to create false identities.
Over the next few years, a number of different ways of verifying identity will gradually become available. Accredited organisations will be able to choose the verification method most suitable for the transaction, reflecting the importance of what it is you want to do.
The check may be as simple as looking at the image on the identity card to see if it matches the person presenting it, or may involve verifying the details on the card by phone or online with the Identity and Passport Service.
How checks will be made
At the most basic level, checks could be made:
- by looking at your photo on the card;
- using a card reader against your details held on the National Identity Register.
Initially, organisations will be able to use the card to check the holder's details visually. Over time, they will
also be able to use a card reader to check that the details held on the card are authentic and valid.
In addition, with your permission, an accredited organisation could check your details on the card against your details held on the National Identity Register. This will be done through the identity verification service that the Identity and Passport Service will facilitate.
Information from the National Identity Register can only be provided without your consent to a limited number of public bodies - as approved by Parliament - and only when it is in the public interest. A private sector company cannot be given any information without your consent.
What will the UK identity card look like?
No bigger than a credit card and easy to carry around, the identity card will be convenient and portable.
On the face of the card there will be:
- your photograph
- your full name
- your gender
- place and date of birth
- your nationality – applies to British citizens only
- an image of your signature
UK identity cards for foreign nationals
In November 2008, the first identity cards for foreign nationals began to be issued to people from outside the European Economic Area who had been granted an extension of their stay in the UK as a student, or on the basis of their marriage to, or partnership with, a UK citizen.
In March 2009 the scheme was extended to several other categories of visa applicants.
All new foreign nationals coming to the UK, and those who are extending their stay in the UK for more than six months, will have a card within three years.
It is estimated that by the end of 2015, about 90 per cent of all foreign nationals in the UK will have been issued with an ID card. As well as being an immigration document for foreign nationals, the card will allow them to prove their right to live in the UK, and to work, study or access public services here.
For more information, and to find out which categories of applicants are currently required to have ID cards, please follow this link.
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