The Home Office is set to start a 12-week consultation which will peer through the next phase of the National Identity Scheme in more details and eventually morph into a draft bill that will be presented to the UK parliament in 2009.
According to the Identity and Passport Service, biometric ID cards could be used to travel around the EU provided the destination countries have signed agreements with the UK; they could effectively replace paper passports.
The first identity cards are expected to be released tomorrow, November 25th, to non-EEA foreign nationals with the National Identity Scheme following a few days alter.
Up to 40,000 cards will be in circulation within the next six months according to the Home office sources.
The card is expected to play a crucial role in protecting the country against illegal immigration as well as making it harder for criminals to generate fake identities.
Commenting on the next phase, Home Office minister Meg Hillier said that : "The National Identity Scheme will bring real and recognisable benefits for British citizens by offering a more convenient way of proving identity and helping protect people from identity fraud."
However, critics like No2ID, have been vocal about the financial penalties that ID card holders could face while anyone who might be considered to "recklessly or deliberately" provide with fake information could be imprisoned for two years.
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