Jump to site navigation [j]

About us

See other news stories

ID card roll-out to be accelerated

30 June 2009

Identity cards will be rolled out more quickly under new government proposals.

Residents of Greater Manchester will be able to apply for an ID card before the end of this year, and residents in the northwest will be able to apply from early next year.

From 2011-12, ID cards will roll out to the wider population on an entirely voluntary basis.

This accelerated roll-out will benefit those people who need the cards the most. ID cards will be particularly helpful for young people who need to prove their age, and will empower businesses to ensure that they aren’t selling items such as alcohol and cigarettes to those who are underage.

The government is also exploring the option of allowing pensioners aged 75 and over to receive an ID card free of charge.

Voluntary for airside workers

Under the new proposals, ID cards will be voluntary for workers at Manchester and London City airports. Workers will continue to be encouraged to get an ID card, which they can do for free, as it makes it easier for employers to carry out background checks and issue passes.

ID cards for foreign nationals also to be accelerated

The Home Secretary has asked the UK Border Agency to review its successful roll-out of compulsory ID cards to foreign nationals to see how it can be sped up. The agency has already issued 50,000 ID cards to people who are legally living and working in the UK.

Under current plans, within three years all non-EEA foreign nationals coming to the UK for more than six months, or extending their stay here, will have a card.

‘Convenient, secure and affordable’

Home Secretary Alan Johnson, said that the cards would be the most ‘convenient, secure and affordable way of asserting identity in everyday life.’

He said, ‘The benefits are not just for individuals but also for communities where a reliable proof of age will be invaluable in the fight against underage drinking and young people trying to buy knives.’

He also pointed out the benefits to young people, who he said, ‘on average, have to prove their age more than twice as often as adults.’

Find out more

Find out more about ID cards. (new window)

back to top

Home Office websites