ID Cards


German law states that all residents and visitors over the age of 16 must carry legal identification with them at all times.

Suitable ID is either the German or European National ID card, your passport or the eAT (see below).

ID for non-EU-Residents (e-Aufenthaltstitlel or eAT)

New non-EU residents (effective September 1, 2011) in Germany are issued electronic identification cards which show their immigration status. This ID is the size of a credit card and is an official form of identification. This card does not replace your passport, so remember your passport (& ID card) when crossing  European or other international borders.

The card contains a digital photo along with a chip, which also contains a digital photo and 2 fingerprints, along with your legal status and ability to work. If you like, this card can also be used as an online-ID for use in communicating electronically with government bureaus and contains a digital signature for online communication - if you choose this option, you will also receive a 6-digit PIN number for use in combination with the card. This can be used, for example, to open up an online bank account or sign up for mobile phone service on-line. Be aware that not all online companies are equipped to use this card as ID.

For those non-EU foreigners who already have a residence permit in their passports, the new ID card is currently optional and is not required until August 31, 2021. You can take care of this at your next German visa or next passport renewal appointment.

Long time expats should know that when it's time to renew your passport, you also need to renew your eAT card.