Every Polish citizen 18 years of age or older residing permanently in Poland is required to have an Identity Card (Dowód osobisty) issued by the local Office of Civic Affairs. Children as well as Polish citizens living permanently abroad are entitled, but not required, to have one. Identity cards are valid for a period of 10 years (5 years for children under the age of 5 on the date of issue).
The front bears a photo of the holder, surname, forenames, date of birth, nationality, card number, gender and expiry date. It also contains the coat of arms of Poland and a security hologram partially covering the photo (which makes forgery harder). In the bottom right corner a special security element can be found – the photo of the person and the year of expiration, but only one of them can be seen at a time, depending on the angle of view. Below the CAN (Card Access Number) number can be found. That number is necessary to connect with an embedded microchip (when using e-signature for instance).
On the back can be found the holder’s place of birth (city in Poland or foreign country’s name), date of issue, repeated card number, issuing authority, parents’ names and personal number (PESEL – Powszechny Elektroniczny System Ewidencji Ludności – Universal Electronic Population Database). Below the card number the bearer’s photo is repeated and some of the personal data in machine-readable form. On the top of the back side, special barcode can be found – it’s a CAN number in the barcode form.
Dowód osobisty _ Identity card
POL – Poland • RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA •
B – Identity card
O – ordinary document
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Identity card issued to nationals of: POL – Poland • RZECZPOSPOLITA POLSKA • Travel document valid in the European Union and in Schengen associated countries.
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