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An identity document (also called a piece of identification or ID, or colloquially as papers) is any document which may be used to prove a person’s identity. If issued in a small, standard credit card size form, it is usually called an identity card (IC, ID card, Citizen Card or Passport Card). Some countries issue formal identity documents, while others may require identity verification using informal documents. When the identity document incorporates a person’s photograph, it may be called photo ID which is printed out.
The identity document is used to connect a person to information about the person, often in a database. The photo and the possession of it is used to connect the person with the document. The connection between the identity document and information database is based on personal information present on the document, such as the bearer’s full name, age, birth date, address, an identification number, card number, gender, citizenship and more. A unique national identification number is the most secure way, but some countries lack such numbers or don’t write them on identity documents.