Opinions on National identity card (France)

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The French national identity card (French: Carte nationale d’identité sécurisée or CNIS) is an official non-compulsory identity document consisting of a laminated plastic card bearing a photograph, name and address.

Identity cards, valid for a period of 15 years (extended from initially 10 years as of the 1st of January 2014), are issued by the local préfecture, sous-préfecture, mairie (in France) or in French consulates (abroad) free of charge. A fingerprint of the holder is taken, which is stored in paper files and which can only be accessed by a judge in closely defined circumstances. A central database duplicates the information on the card, but strict laws limit access to the information and prevent it being linked to other databases or records.

The cards may be used to verify identity and nationality and may also be used as a travel document within the European Union and certain other countries (such as Macedonia) instead of a French passport. The cards are widely used for other purposes — for example, when opening a bank account, or when making a payment by cheque.

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