Iceland's New ID Cards Double as EEA Travel Documents Skip to content

Iceland’s New ID Cards Double as EEA Travel Documents

By Ragnar Tómas

Registers Iceland's new ID card
Photo: Registers Iceland.

Registers Iceland has introduced new ID cards as valid personal identification for all Icelandic citizens, featuring options for standard ID or travel documents within the EEA. Cards issued before January 1, 2013, expired on December 1, 2023, while those issued up to March 1, 2024, will expire by December 31, 2025.

Valid passports within the EEA

Registers Iceland has begun issuing new ID cards, available as standard personal identification or travel documents valid within the European Economic Area (EEA) serving as an alternative to passports.

Standard ID cards, which do not display the holder’s nationality, are not valid as travel documents. ID cards as travel documents can be used within the European Economic Area (EEA) instead of a passport and “contain a chip like passports and comply with international standards and EU regulation,” a press release on Registers Iceland’s website reads.

As noted on the website, the difference between ID cards as travel documents and passports is that passports are valid as travel documents to all countries worldwide. In contrast, ID cards are valid within the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Upgraded security features

The latest rollout of ID cards also introduces upgraded security features to address growing requirements for personal identification documents. These cards, now available in a user-friendly size, sport a refreshed design that is based on a new standard from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“Iceland is the first country in the world to issue documents according to this new standard. The main change is that the facial image is much larger, facilitating easier comparison with the cardholder,” Registers Iceland’s website notes.

The changes align with European Union regulations aimed at bolstering the security of personal and travel documents across the EU and EEA: “With the new issuance of ID cards, their security is being increased to meet the heightened demands made on personal identification documents, while also being conveniently sized and updated in design.”

The new rollout also addresses society’s increased demands for individuals to identify themselves with valid personal identification documents, which makes it necessary to accommodate groups that cannot present, for example, a driver’s licence.

“With the new ID cards, young people and other groups can prove their identity by presenting them, especially domestically.”

Must apply in person

Applying for the new ID cards requires a specific application process. Applications are submitted to District Commissioners along with embassies and consulates abroad, similar to passports.

“Even if an applicant has a valid passport with a photo, they must still appear in person at the application site, both domestically and abroad, to specifically apply for an ID card. The same photo as in the passport cannot be used,” Registers Iceland’s website notes.

According to Registers Iceland’s website, the new ID cards are valid personal identification documents that all Icelandic citizens can apply for regardless of age and use for identification. Older ID cards issued before January 1, 2013, expired on December 1, 2023, and cards issued from that time until March 1, 2024, will expire on December 31, 2025.

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