The ID card’s electronic identification (eID) function, which is recognised throughout Europe, already allows holders to identify and authenticate themselves online.
Group of users to be extended
This eID function is not, however, currently available to all. EU citizens and German citizens living outside Germany do not currently have access. The German government is now to change this. The eID card is to be introduced on a voluntary basis. The eID is not an identity card in its own right. It is simply a smartcard on which the most important identification data are stored (name, date of birth and address).
No need to visit government offices
This will allow people to use major German e-government services, using a card they can trust. The system also works with a smartphone. The eID function allows holders to provide proof of identity online, simply and securely. That is important, for instance, when applying for a police certificate or submitting a tax return online. People will no longer have to physically visit government offices.