Applying for an identity card for the first time

Once you are 16 years old, you must have a valid identity document that can be used to establish your identity. As a rule, this is an identity card or a passport.

German citizens aged 16 and over are obliged to have a valid identity card or passport.
The validity period depends on your age at the time of application:

  • Application under 24 years: Identity card is valid for 6 years.
  • Application from 24 years: Identity card is valid for 10 years.

A temporary identity card is valid for a maximum of three months. You can apply for your identity card at your citizens' office at your main residence. Applications to any other citizens' office are possible if you explain an important reason. In this case, a non-jurisdiction surcharge ensers.

  • Biometric passport photo: The photo must
    • be up-to-date and
    • Meet the photo requirements for electronic passports.
  • if available and not yet devalued: old passport or children's passport (valid or already expired)
  • if no valid passport or children's passport is available: birth certificate or marriage certificate
  • in the case of children under the age of 16: if applicable, declaration of consent from the parent with custody who is not present
    • in the case of only one legal guardian, additional proof of custody


The obligation to apply for an identity card applies to you if you

  • have German nationality,
  • have reached the age of 16,
  • are registered in Germany,
  • do not have a valid passport.

For applications outside your main residence:

  • You must be able to explain an important reason why you do not apply for the identity card to the identity card authority responsible at your main residence.
  • Exception: The temporary identity card cannot be applied for abroad.

Related Links

  • § 9 Identity Card Act (PAuswG)

You must apply for your identity card in person at the Bürgeramt. If you do not apply for your identity card at your main residence, you will need an important reason and there will be a surcharge for the fee. If you contact the Bürgeramt you have selected in advance, you can find out whether and to what extent the Bürgeramt acknowledges your reason.

  • Young people aged 16 and over can apply for their identity card themselves.
    • If young people from the age of 16 do not comply with their duty, persons with legal power of representation must submit the application together with the young person up to the age of 18. A parent with custody may be represented at the time of application by proxy of the other parent.
  • For children and adolescents under the age of 16, all parents with custody submit the application together. The children and young people must always appear in person, as the Bürgeramt checks their identity. They must also sign if they are 10 years of age or older at the time of application.
  • When applying, you must explain whether your fingerprints should be stored on the ID chip. From 2 August 2021, the declaration for the submission of fingerprints will no longer apply, as fingerprints will be taken for storage in the document with every identity card application.
    Exception: No fingerprints are taken from children under the age of 6.
  • The identity card is produced centrally by Bundesdruckerei GmbH in Berlin.
  • At many citizens' offices, you can arrange a pick-up appointment online, by e-mail or by telephone. You can find out what options your Citizens' Office offers, for example, on its website.

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport

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