Identification required

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Identification requirement in a broader sense means the duty of a natural person to have valid identification . For example, only those with a membership card may participate in some club or group events, and some company premises may only be entered with an employee or visitor ID. Some professional groups, for example police officers , are only allowed to practice their profession with their ID card . In these cases there is often an obligation to carry the vehicle .


In a narrower sense, the civic duty is meant to have an official proof of identity and to present it to an authority authorized to establish identity ( court , police ) on request . It is common worldwide that identification is required when crossing borders ( border control ); a passport is usually used as proof of identity when entering and leaving the country . Usually, the ID documents must also be available during the stay in the respective foreign country, but they rarely have to be carried with you at all times.

In most countries there is no general identification requirement for your own citizens. These countries include Switzerland and Austria . Germany is one of the few exceptions , where ID is required for Germans aged 16 and over.

National regulations for citizens


According to Section 1 of the Personalausweisgesetz (PAuswG), Germans are required to provide ID from the age of 16. Anyone who violates this obligation, i.e. neither has a valid identity card nor a valid passport (as an alternative in accordance with Section 1, Paragraph 2, Clause 3 PAuswG) is acting improperly and can be fined up to EUR 3,000 under Section 32 of the Identity Card Act. However , there is only a legal obligation to carry them in exceptional cases , for example for employees in certain industries during their working hours to prevent illegal employment and for gun carriers.

Citizens of those states in which the EU Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons applies (i.e. the European Union including the European Economic Area as well as Switzerland) must have a passport or a recognized passport substitute during their stay in accordance with Section 8 of the Free Movement Act / EU and this must be in possession of this upon entry into the Carry the Federal Republic with you in order to be able to show it on request when crossing the border.

For all other foreigners entering or staying in the Federal Republic of Germany, a passport is required according to Section 3 of the Residence Act .

During the Nazi dictatorship , the requirement for identification in the form of ID cards was first introduced in 1938 for Jews and men fit for military service , and on September 10, 1939, shortly after the start of the war , it was extended to all German citizens over 15 years old.

According to Section 1 (3) of the Identity Card Act, the relevant identity card authority can exempt persons from the identification requirement who, for example, “cannot move around in public alone because of a permanent disability” or “are likely to be permanently housed in a hospital, a nursing home or a similar facility are". Prison inmates also do not need a valid ID according to Paragraph 2 of the Identity Card Act; an exemption is not required here.


In Austria, Austrian citizens are not required to provide identification. People who do not have Austrian citizenship need a valid passport for entry, during their stay and for exit, and citizens of the EEA countries need at least an identity card. If you are neither an EEA nor a Swiss citizen, you must always carry your ID with you and present it when your identity is verified. If you have to identify yourself for various reasons, such as with a notary , you can also use an identity witness without ID . However, individual substantive laws contain identification requirements: For example, anyone who drives a motor vehicle must have a photo ID with them, even if the vehicle does not require a driver's license.

Switzerland and USA

In Switzerland and the United States there is no compulsory identification, often on the grounds that the introduction of one is a step towards a surveillance state . In the United States, however, the social security number has the function of unique identification and the driver's license that of photo ID . Citizens who have not passed the driver's license test can purchase an identification (ID) card . This also fulfills the function of a photo ID. In some states of the United States, a liquor ID is also issued. It indicates that the owner is old enough to consume alcohol (for example, older than 21). In Switzerland, unambiguous identification using the AHV number is also possible. In addition to the passport, an identity card can also be used as identification, for example for crossing borders into and within the EEA / CEFTA area and several other countries.

Great Britain

In Great Britain there is no requirement for identification or to be carried, and there are no ID cards. An attempt by the Labor government in 2008 to introduce identity cards on a voluntary basis failed, and the liberal-conservative successor government abolished the identity cards, which were unpopular among the population, in May 2010.

In practice, however, the British have sufficient means of identifying themselves. Most Britons have a passport and driver's license, the latter of which did not contain a photo in Great Britain until 1998. These are used - sometimes in connection with a current electricity / telephone / gas bill as proof of address - for a large number of transactions such as bank account opening, registration in libraries or video stores and the like.

In addition, there are several voluntary Age Cards (Portman Group, Citizen Card, Connexions Card, Validate UK) with a uniform PASS hologram, which serve as proof of age for the purchase of age-restricted products.


In Ireland there is no ID or carry-on requirement. Most citizens, however, have a photo ID in the form of a passport and / or a driver's license. In addition, there are optional Age Cards issued by the Garda Síochána (police) for people over the age of 18 , which have a similar function to the American Liquor ID .


In the Netherlands, since the beginning of 2005, all persons over the age of 14 must present an identity document to an authorized authority upon request, immediately on site. In fact, the ID must be carried with you at all times. However, there is no express legal obligation to carry it, which is why an ID check may not be carried out solely for the purpose of checking whether a person is carrying their ID. For a long time, because of the memory of the German occupation , during which it was compulsory to carry passengers, such a regulation was considered unenforceable.


In Portugal, everyone over the age of 16 is required to have ID with them in public places. Security guards are allowed to check ID cards in justified cases of suspicion if the checked person has been informed beforehand about their rights and the reason for the identification.

See also

Web links

Wikibooks: Citizens' identification requirement  - learning and teaching materials
Wikibooks: Police identification requirement  - learning and teaching materials
  • § 1 of the Identity Card Act - identification requirement

Individual evidence

  1. See e.g. B. Articles 89 and 90 (PDF; 275 kB) of the Swiss Aliens Act (AuG) and Section 8 of the German Freedom of Movement Act (FreizügG / EU)
  2. ↑ Identification requirement for Swiss citizens?  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Answer from the Federal Office of Police in the FAQ portal 2Template: dead link /  
  3. Section 2a of the Anti-Illicit Work Act
  4. Section 38 of the Weapons Act
  5. DeutschlandRadio Berlin ( Memento of the original from February 24, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. : “In Germany, the compulsory identification will be introduced”, calendar sheet of 10 September 2004  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. decision 20.3-16 / 2011 . UVS Styria. June 4, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  7. No identification requirement for Austrians . October 11, 2017. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  8. ↑ Aliens Police Act, Section 32. Federal Chancellery Austria, January 1, 2014, accessed on April 19, 2018 .
  9. Rijksoverheid: Wat is de identificatieplicht? . Retrieved May 15, 2019.