ID cards will be available to buy in a couple of weeks, the Home Office has announced.
People in the Greater Manchester area can make an appointment any time from 30 November to register for the card.
The cards will cost £30 and will contain a photograph and two fingerprints encoded on a chip. This information links the card to the National Identity Register.
Identity minister Meg Hillier said, "Identity cards will prove themselves extremely useful in daily life, from opening a bank account to entering a nightclub, and for travel to Europe."
But Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary Chris Huhne said, "Where once we were told ID cards would fight terrorism, crime and illegal immigration, they are now being touted as a billion pound way of helping students get into bars.