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Identity Documents

Volume 987: debated on Thursday 3 July 1980

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements exist in other European Economic Community countries with regard to the possession and presentation of identity documents by the nationals of each country in their home country.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 June 1980, c. 285]: Like the United Kingdom, the following countries do not have an official system of identity cards: Denmark, the Irish Republic and (contrary to the provisional list given in my earlier reply of 26 June) the Netherlands.The position in each of the other European Community countries is as follows:

Belgium

All Belgian citizens over 15 have to carry identity cards permanently. The cards bear a photograph of the individual together with his full name, address, age, place of birth, marital status and profession, and are issued by the local commune in which the individual resides.
Belgian law makes specific provision for the communal police and the gendarmerie to ask to see identity documents if they suspect that the law is being broken. Certain other categories of people with civil authority (such as burgomasters, aldermen, plain-clothes investigative and judicial police and forest guards) are also entitled to demand to see identity cards in suspicious circumstances.

France

Possession of identity cards is compulsory for all French nationals living in France. They are issued on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior by the Prefecture of the Department in which the individual resides.
Police officers are entitled to demand proof of identity of persons suspected of engaging in, or intending to engage in, illegal activity, but not to carry out spot checks.
It is not compulsory at present to carry identity cards. The National Assembly, however adopted on 21 June an amendment to a Bill on security and liberty which, if passed in its present form in the autumn, will make the carrying of identity cards compulsory and also legalise spot checks.

Federal Republic of Germany

Possession of an identity card with photograph is, under Federal law, compulsory for all German citizens over 16. Cards are issued by town or district authorities, who are also responsible for the issue of passports. They are issued for five years in the first instance and can be renewed twice for the same period.
Formally, identity cards are required to be carried at all times and must be produced on demand by the police or other official authorities. A fine can be imposed if an individual is not in possession of an identity card.

Italy

All Italians are required to identify themselves on demand to the police or other State officials, either for immigration purposes, when investigating crimes or accidents, or during police spot checks which may have no stated purpose.
Any document (identity card, driving licence, Government Department security pass etc) that bears a photograph of the bearer will suffice.

Luxembourg

All Luxembourg nationals must possess identity cards and carry them (or their passports) at all times as a means of identification.
Identity cards are issued by the police in Luxembourg City and by town hall officials in the rest of the Grand Duchy.
Only members of the police (in towns) or gendarmerie (in rural areas) have the right to demand proof of identity. They may do so for any reason with no need to justify their demand.