Anyone with a home or work address in the Greater Manchester region can now make an appointment to register for their identity card, with the first appointments taking place at the end of this month.
The 30 cards will provide a secure and convenient way for people to prove their identity when they are undertaking individual transactions or buying age-restricted goods. The cards can also be used in place of a passport for travel throughout Europe.
Identity Minister Meg Hillier said:
This is an exciting time. Todays announcement is the final step towards issuing secure identity cards to the residents of Greater Manchester.
Identity cards will prove themselves extremely useful in daily life, from opening a bank account to entering a nightclub, and for travel to Europe.
Earlier today Home Office Minister and Minister for the North West of England, Phil Woolas, enrolled for his identity card at the Identity and Passport Service office in central Manchester.
Phil Woolas said:
Today marks a major milestone for the launch of identity cards.
From today, the people of Greater Manchester can book their identity card appointments.
Having been through the enrolment process this morning, I can vouch for the fact it is simple, secure and only takes around 15 minutes.
Notes to Editors
1.Identity Minister Meg Hillier today signed the commencement order allowing the Identity and Passport Service to begin issuing identity cards to those living or working in Greater Manchester from 30 November.
2.The National Identity Service will deliver recognisable benefits to residents, businesses and local authorities. They include:
a universal and simple proof of identity that brings convenience for organisations and individuals and means an end to the use of photocopied bank statements, phone bills and birth certificates;
ensuring that foreign nationals living, working and studying here legally are able to easily prove their identity and prevent those here illegally from benefiting from the privileges of Britain; and
travel in Europe, using the identity card which fits in a wallet or purse.
3.Individuals can get more information or make an appointment for an identity card by calling 0300 330 0000.
5.Since 20 October, staff and contractors at the Identity and Passport Service, as well as Home Office staff and ministers have been able to apply for an identity card. It is under these provisions that Phil Woolas enrolled today.