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ID card image unveiled

30 July 2009

Take a first look at the new ID card for British citizens.

Just like a current passport, identity cards will include your photograph, name, date of birth and signature. They will also include your gender, place of birth, nationality, and issue and expiry dates.

But the biometric identity cards will also include a secure electronic chip that will store your facial image and two fingerprint images – linking the owner of the card to their unique biometric identity.

See an example of how the ID will look:

Latest security features

The cards will feature the latest physical security features, which will help protect you from identity fraud and forgery. The personal information contained in the chip will be protected to prevent your data being cloned, copied, altered or accessed by those who are not authorised to read the information.

A range of benefits

The cards offer a range of benefits, including:

  • creating one simple form of ID – bringing an end to the disorganised use of photocopied bank statements, phone bills and birth certificates
  • enabling foreign nationals who are legally living, working and studying here to prove their identity
  • offering a handy, wallet-sized travel document for use within Europe

The card will be useful for young people, who have to prove their age, on average, more than twice as often as adults. It will also help pubs, shops and supermarkets ensure they aren’t selling restricted goods to underage people.


The cards will be available, on a voluntary basis, to citizens living in Greater Manchester later this year, becoming available to a wider population in the North West by early 2010. We will make the cards available to the full population from 2012.

How much will they cost?

The card will cost £30 for 2009-10.

‘Simple and secure’

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said that the cards will allow people to prove and protect their identity in a ‘quick, simple and secure way.’

He said, ‘Given the growing problem of identity fraud and the inconvenience of having to carry passports, coupled with gas bills or six months worth of bank statements to prove identity, I believe the ID card will be welcomed as an important addition to the many plastic cards that most people already carry.’
‘The fact that it can be used as a passport when travelling in Europe will be an added advantage.’

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