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Asking for Identification (ID) and Information

  • May I see some photo ID?
  • Can I see your passport?
  • Driver's license, please.
  • Do you have your birth certificate?
  • How long have you been in the country?
  • Are you here for a holiday?
  • Do you have another piece of ID?

ID is different in every country

It is important to keep in mind that every country requires different documentation that proves someone's identification (ID). In many countries such as Greece and Spain a national ID card is compulsory. Citizens are expected to have these cards on them at all times. However, in other countries ID cards are not required. Police and officials in these countries often use another system to identify people, such as asking for two pieces of ID.

Types of ID

  • Passport
  • Government-issued Photo ID card
  • Driving licence/Driver's license
  • Birth certificate
  • Permanent residence card
  • Social security card
  • Medical/Health card
  • Voter registration card

Information/security items that may appear on documentation

bar codea series of thick and thin black lines that holds computerized information
Date of birth (DOB)date when the ID holder was born:
day/month/year: 23/05/1970 (23rd May 1970)
month/day/year: 05/23/1970 (23rd May 1970)
year/month/day: 1970/05/23 (23rd May 1970)
Date of Issuedate when documentation was created
Eye colourblue, brown, green, black, grey
markings of a person's thumb or finger tip
Heighthow tall a person is in centimetres or feet and inches
Holograma laser photograph which makes a picture or image look life-like
Magnetic stripea long black stripe found on the back of a card that can be swiped into a computer for information
Maiden namea woman's surname before marriage
Marital statussingle, married, divorced (no longer married), separated, common law wife, common law husband
National status
citizenship (native citizen, immigrant, landed immigrant, permanent resident, refugee)
recent picture of ID holder
Place of birthcity, country where ID holder was born
current job (doctor, teacher, retired)
Serial number or PIN (Personal Identification Number)number that can be entered into government systems to find information about a person
SexM (male), F (female)
Signaturehand-written name of ID holder
Valid until/expiry datethe last date when an ID document can be used

Reading Exercise: Identity Fraud

Read the vocabulary and then try to fill in the blanks.

ID fraudlying about one's identity
counterfeitfake, not real
illegal immigrantspeople who do not have government permission to live or work in a country
crack down onto put a real stop to
authenticreal, true
identity theftstealing someone else's identity for personal use (or sale)
undergroundnot publicly known, usually illegal
getting away withnot getting caught by police or the authorities
controversydisagreement surrounding an issue

Today, is a major concern for police around the world. Many young people use ID to access adult venues, such as concerts and nightclubs. As police find new ways to fake ID (e.g. searching the Internet for companies), new technology is created to help make fraudulent ID look . ID cards with security measures, such as magnetic strips and barcodes, help to prevent people from fake ID. However, an even greater problem for police is the concern of . Some thieves make a profession out of stealing wallets, purses, or personal mail in order to sell new identities to criminals or . There is great over whether or not all countries should opt for national ID cards. Some people do not think that the police should have access to such personal information, while others think it would help to prevent crime and illegal immigration.

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