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Applying for an identity card for the first time

German citizens aged 16 and over are required 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' registration office at your main residence. Applications to any other Bürgeramt are possible if you present an important reason. In this case, a lack of jurisdiction surcharge applies.

Process flow

You must apply for the 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 a supplement will be added to the fee. If you contact the Bürgeramt you have selected beforehand, you can find out whether and to what extent the Bürgeramt recognises your reason.

  • Young people aged 16 and over can apply for the identity card themselves.
    • If young people from the age of 16 do not comply with their obligation, the persons with legal power of representation must submit the application together with the young person until the age of 18. A parent with custody may be represented by the authorization of the other parent when submitting the application.
  • For children and adolescents under the age of 16, all parents with custody submit the application jointly. 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 declare whether your fingerprints should be stored on the ID chip. From 2 August 2021, the declaration on the submission of fingerprints will no longer apply, as fingerprints will be taken for storage in the document with every application for an identity card.
    Exception: Children under 6 years of age will not be fingerprinted.
  • 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 Bürgeramt offers, for example, on its website.


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

  • have German citizenship,
  • 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 at the identity card authority responsible for your main residence.
  • Exception: The temporary identity card cannot be applied for abroad.

Which documents are required?

  • Biometrics-compatible passport photo: The photo must
    • be up-to-date and
    • meet the photo requirements for electronic passports.
  • if available and not yet validated: 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
  • for children under 16 years of age: if applicable, consent of the parent with custody who is not present
    • in the case of only one legal guardian, the additional proof of custody

What are the fees?

  • EUR 37.00 for applicants aged 24 and over
  • EUR 22.80 for applicants under 24 years of age
  • EUR 10.00 for the temporary identity card
  • EUR 13.00 surcharge for applications outside working hours or not at the main residence
  • EUR 30.00 surcharge for application at any Bürgeramt by Germans residing abroad

Fee reduction or exemption is possible for those in need. This is at the discretion of the identity card authority.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

If you have just turned 16, have German citizenship and are registered in Germany, the application must be made immediately if you do not have a valid passport document, i.e. passport or temporary passport.

Processing duration

It usually takes at least 2 weeks from the date of application until you can pick up your identity card at the Bürgeramt.

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)