Important Information on the new electronic German ID Card


Important information on the online ID function, PIN-letter and collection of the ID card. Please read the information before applying for an ID Card.

elektronischer Personalausweis
Elektronischer Personalausweis© Bundesministerium des Innern

General Information

Important Changes regarding the German ID Card

On July 8, 2017, the law to promote the electronic identity verification went into effect. The passport law has been changed so that from now on a German Identity Card will always be handed out with an electronic ID function (online function), unless the applicant is under 16 years of age when applying for the ID card (see § 10 Abs. 1 PAuswG).

Because of this new regulation, the possibility of choosing the German ID Card with activated or deactivated online function is no longer available. From now on, German ID Cards are manufactured and handed out with activated online function only. It is not possible anymore to receive a German ID Card with deactivated online function.

The German ID Card with activated eID can only be used if the initial temporary 5 digit PIN # is replaced by a personal 6 digit PIN #. This can be done at the passport office of a German Mission or with a card reading device using the personal computer at home (for more information click here). Information material, including the current information leaflet “The new German ID Card”, can be found here.

Important Information

German ID Cards with activated eID can only be handed out or sent out, if the applicant has confirmed in writing that he received the PIN letter. Therefore, the possibility of forgoing the confirmation of the receipt of the PIN letter before the German ID Card will be sent out abroad, becomes inapplicable for applicants over the age of 16. If the applicant cannot confirm the receipt of the PIN letter, the German ID Card can only be handed out if the PIN # is reset at the German Mission.

The German ID Card with the contactless, electronic chip is a multifunctional card the size of a driver’s license. If desired by the applicant, the finger prints can be stored on the chip as an additional security feature, in addition to the photo.

Only sovereign authorities (e.g. border patrol, police officers) are entitled to read these biometric security features. Furthermore, the German ID Card holder can have the electronic identification function activated and benefit from the signature function.

You need to make the following statements when applying:

  • whether your finger prints should be saved on the chip of our German ID Card as additional biometric security feature or not. You will have no disadvantages if you decide not to have your finger prints saved on the German ID Card.

For all change requests, where entering the PIN # is required, the applicant must appear in person. This includes in particular the resetting of the PIN # (including also the replacement of the first temporary PIN # through a new PIN #), as well as the retroactive activation or de-activation of the online identification function.

You can also reset/change the PIN # with your own reading device at home, if you have one.


Every applicant older than 15 years and 9 months at the time of the application will receive a PIN letter from the Federal Printing Office. The letter contains the secret PIN #, the unblocking # (PUK), as well as a block password.

If you are deregistered in Germany and live in the US, you can have the PIN letter sent directly to your address abroad.


The German ID Card can only be handed out,

  • if you confirm to the passport/ID section of the Embassy or a Consulate General that you received the afore-mentioned PIN letter
    Declaration of Receipt of PIN letter PDF / 16 KB
  • if you have not received any PIN letter and decide to accept the German ID Card with a de-activated online-identification function (with the possibility to have the online identification function retroactively enabled).

If you haven’t received a PIN letter, you can order a new German ID Card.

You can collect your German ID Card at the passport/ID section of the Embassy or a Consulate General in person. Please refer to the collection times on the websites of the individual German missions.

You don’t have to book an appointment for it. Please bring your old German ID Card (or passport if you don’t have an ID Card yet).

You can also authorize another person in writing to collect your German ID Card on your behalf.

Authorization to pick up electronic ID card PDF / 18 KB

Furthermore, you have the option to have your German ID Card sent via registered mail to your home address. You must bring a self-addressed stamped envelope to the appointment, or we will charge a shipping fee.

Please Note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with utmost care, we can not accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein.

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