Important Information about the new electronic German ID cards

09.11.2017 - Article

General information

The new German ID card containing a contactless electronic chip is a multi-function card the size of a credit card. The applicant’s photo is saved on the chip. If the applicant so desires, his/her fingerprints can also be stored on the chip as an extra security feature only possible from the age of 6).

This biometric data may only be read by official agencies (e.g. border officials, police). The cardholder may also activate the electronic ID function and thus use the qualified electronic signature function.

When applying for an ID card, you must state whether:

  • your fingerprints should be stored on the ID card chip as an extra biometric security feature or not. Rejecting this feature has no negative consequences for you.
  • you would like the card’s online ID function to be activated or not. The online ID function enables cardholders to identify themselves online on certain internet applications and machines (those displaying the ID card logo), e.g. for online shopping and online booking services. Please read the brochure on the online ID function before applying for your card: It can be downloaded at: personalausweisportal.de

You must confirm that you have read this brochure when making your application. The online ID function can be activated or deactivated at any time during your ID card’s validity at the passport/identity card office at the Embassy, the Consulate General, or any other identity card agency.

The most up-to-date information about the qualified electronic signature function is available online on the Bundesnetzagentur’s website:


You must also come in person if you are applying for changes to an existing ID card which require your PIN code to be entered. These include applications for a new PIN (including the replacement of the initial “transport PIN”), activating the online ID function and unlocking an ID card.

Your PIN

All applicants aged over 15 years and 9 months at the time of application will receive a letter from the Bundesdruckerei containing their personal identification number (PIN), personal unlocking key (PUK) and the password to be used to lock or unlock the card. You will receive this letter even if you do not want to use the online ID function, and should keep it in a safe place.

If you are no longer registered in Germany and live in the UK you can ask to have your PIN letter sent directly to your UK address.

Collecting your ID card

Our staff may only give you/send you your new ID card

  • if you assure the passport/ID card office at the German Mission that you have received the PIN letter described above. Please use the following declaration:
    Declaration of receipt of PIN letter PDF / 13 KB
  • if you have not received the PIN letter but decide to take the ID card without the online ID function being activated (you can have it activated later).

If you have not received a PIN letter, you are entitled to insist that a new ID card is issued.

Embassy in London





Consulate General Edinburgh

Monday– Friday


You may also give someone else written authorization to collect your ID card for you. Please use the following form:

Authorisation to collect electronic ID card PDF / 14 KB

Alternatively, you can ask the Embassy to send your ID card by special delivery to your address. If you choose this option, please bring a self addressed and pre-paid envelope with you when submitting your application.

Additional content

Please note that the fees when applying abroad are higher than stated in this brochure.

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