The German Identity Card (German: Personalausweis) is issued to German citizens by the local registration offices and diplomatic missions abroad.
This large format identity card was issued between 1 April 1987 and 31 October 2010. The last issuance will be valid until 30 October 2020.
German citizens travelling inside Europe except for Belarus, Russia and Ukraine; or to Egypt, Georgia, Turkey and on organized tours to Jordan (through Aqaba airport) and Tunisia can use their ID card, which is a machine-readable travel document, instead of a passport.
Just like German passports, German identity cards are valid for ten years (six years if the holder is under 24 on the date of issue).
Size: A7 (105 × 74mm)
In 1938 the Nazis obliged men of military age and Jews (who had a J marked on their card) to carry identity cards. Shortly after the start of the war, this was extended to apply to all citizens over the age of 15.
In 1951 both the West German and the East German authorities began issuing booklet identity cards in the ID-2 format.
In West Germany an improved identity card was developed in the 1980s and issued from April 1987 on. The card consisted of a single laminated sheet of paper with a machine-readable zone. To prevent counterfeiting, it contained watermarks, guillochés, microprinting, fluorescent dyes, and multi-colour fluorescent fibres. In addition, the holder's name was laser engraved into the plastic film and the holder's picture was printed on the document, so it could not be removed and replaced by a different one (unlike the older ID cards, where the picture was just glued to the document).
When East Germany joined West Germany on 3 October 1990, the West German identity card was introduced in the former East German territory; unexpired East German identity cards could still be used until 31 December 1995.
In November 2001, the so-called Identigram feature was added - a number of holographic security elements, including a three-dimensional German Eagle on the right, a holographic copy of the holder's picture (the so-called Holographic Shadow Picture), a holographic copy of the machine-readable zone, holographic microprinting, and kinematic elements.