UK ID Card or Passport Card: for it or against it?

For long time I was against the introduction of ID cards in the UK. Then, a couple of years ago, I had a second thought. CCTV cameras are watching us around the clock, GCHQ knows about you more than your partner does, your ISP knows about every single move you make online. Yet, a lot of Brits are scared about being asked the proverbial “Papers, please.”

Some time ago, I became the proud owner of an ID card from another EU state. Since then, life has become very convenient when I travel to The Continent. Bulky passport booklet, which in fact does not belong in the 21st century, stays at home. Instead, my new ID card lives in one of the slots of my wallet, next to the Hot Coral friend! Easy, peasy!

Why are Brits so terrified of ID cards? ID cards don’t need to be obligatory, as they are not in many European countries. They also don’t need to contain any more information that your passport does - great examples are American or Irish passport cards. They are in all truth voluntary ID cards with different names, probably to avoid backlash from privacy advocates and are linked to the same database containing your passport info…


I’m all for it. We don’t need paper based documents in the 21st century. Passports have biometrics now anyway so why not shrink it to a credit card size add the option to add other forms of ID to it like a driving licence and be done with it?

I think it should be the law that you have to carry ID at all times, with key information such as medical dependency and organ donation info, etc.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be written on the ID but there should be some sort of system in place to read a chip by the emergency services similar to the way an animal is microchipped.

Convenience is key.


I am with you on the stupidity of passport’s format. Paper booklet in 2018? I travel frequently to several countries in Asia and many of them stopped stamping your passport altogether. Instead, you are given tiny piece of paper with a reminder about when your visitor’s visa expires. It doesn’t matter if you lose it or not as it is purely for your own reference. This makes the agrument for going to credit card sized passport with a chip really gaining ground.

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The only time i’ve had a stamp in my passport since 2001 was anytime i’ve gone to USA.

It makes even less sense these days when a lot of countries have things like ESTA and other pre-travel authorisation systems.

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Any they don’t even do that if you’ve got global entry.

I don’t see the point in multiple-page passports. I’ve had a passport since I was about 12/13, and I’ve never had anything on any of the pages. Seems a bit of a waste of paper, really…

Granted, I haven’t really traveled abroad all that much, but still…



I was at Uni in Belgium. Had to carry a passport with me. Most of us carry a driving licence or anyway I do even though I don’t drive as I need it to collect just a parcel. A standard id card would help those who need id and don’t drive or maybe go abroad etc. It could contain essential medical info. Most of those who object probably carry stuff that gives away far more information. Loyalty cards, mobile phone etc.


They are issued free of charge in some European countries as well so if the same was the case in the UK, some people who don’t travel a lot, wouldn’t need to fork out close to £100 for a passport they won’t use for its real purpose…


I was one of those lucky few who opted into the UK’s National Identity Card when it launched in 2009 (before the Conservatives scrapped it in 2011). I actually thought it was useful and you could use it to travel in Europe without a passport etc. I have no issue with the government holding the data they took from me as they had most of it on my passport anyway except for the fingerprints that they took from me in my ID card interview (if I planned to become a master criminal I would have fooled the ID cards by using those sneak things called gloves). I still have it hanging around somewhere and show it to my class when I teach World War 2.

I posted images of it on these forums last September actually.


Well, it expires in 2019. Can you still use it for European travel or are they formally switched off?

It looks cool. I would like to see them back in the UK in the near future.

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It’s dead.

The Identity Cards Act 2006 was repealed on 21 January 2011 (making all the ID cards invalid) and the Identity Card register was officially destroyed on 10 February 2011.


Millions of taxpayers money were wasted once again then. There is nothing on it that you wouldn’t find on a British Passport. I don’t get it. What info did the chip contain?


Could it be used as a smartcard, with the chip?

Have you ever read the chip with one of those cheap USB smartcard readers?


Only a mere £4.5 billion :tired_face:.

I believe that the chip has the same biometric data that passports hold as well as my fingerprints and an image.

I haven’t tried actually. I would expect its readable as it would be scannable at borders. Never thought to try.

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Edit: Billions of taxpayers money were wasted once again :sob::sob::sob:

Politicians are …(insert whatever you wish).


I, personally, think this would have been a great idea. Especially, if it could be rolled out to those who might not otherwise have photo ID at no cost.
With AML/KYC regulations getting stronger, a “simple” thing like opening a bank account with any providor becomes more difficult if you don’t have the ID documents needed to meet regulations.


It would also have had the unexpected benefit of saving millions of pounds by not deporting British citizens to countries they knew little about and then having to compensate them.


Another for ID. Like @MeganV, I spent some time in Belgium, but I had to get a residence card (similar to national ID, but for foreigners). Everyone’s data was registered with the council anyway, so it’s just a card that makes life easier. I’m okay with being charged a small cost, it’s ~20€ nowadays in BE (cheaper than the £30 quoted on Wikipedia for the UK which is almost enough for a driving license).

I do think they went a bit headstrong with the biometrics and the integration with everything though.

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I have a Singapore ID card and pretty much every other country in Asia has an ID card? Unless the UK govt is notoriously bad at handling sensitive data I don’t really see the issue with having one. It would make things so convenient, I just carry it about in my wallet and it comes in handy for official stuff/ getting discounts/ logging in to a central account for citizens which is also linked to my bank account.


I’ve no objection to an ID card replacement for a paper passport but no way would I support having to carry ID.