The first identity cards have been issued to foreign nationals in Sheffield.
On Wednesday, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith opened the first buildingwhere biometric enrolment will take place, which is in the Yorkshire city. Enrolment will involve recording digital photographs and fingerprints.
The first identity cards were issued to foreign nationals on November 25, with 40,000 expected to be in circulation by April 2009.From 2010, the cards will be issued on a voluntary basis to young people, and to the rest of the population from 2011/12.
Three suppliers have been short-listed for the contract for the application and enrolment processes. Two suppliers were short-listed for the contract to replace existing biometric storage and matching systems. These will both be awarded in the first quarter of 2009, Smith said.
The scheme is costing the taxpayer around £5bn.
Smith said, "ID cards will give employers a secure way of checking a migrant's right to work and study in the UK and help people prove they are who they say are."