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Introduction of the Smart Identity Card (ID Card) and the Territory-Wide ID Card Replacement Exercise


The Immigration Department will start to implement the Multi-application Smart ID Card Scheme next month.

"Starting from Monday, 23 June 2003, if a person applies for an ID card at one of the five Registration of Persons (ROP) Offices, he will receive a smart ID card instead of a laminated paper-based ID card," an Immigration Department spokesman said today (May 16).

This covers ID card applications from new arrivals; children who need to apply for a juvenile ID card upon reaching the age of 11; young people who have to apply for an adult ID card upon reaching the age of 18; persons whose ID cards have been lost, destroyed, damaged or defaced; and persons who wish to amend the particulars printed on their ID cards.

"Applications received at the ROP offices before 23 June 2003 will, however, be processed under the old system, and paper-based ID cards will continue to be issued to the applicants."

The spokesman further announced that the territory-wide ID card replacement exercise would start on Monday, 18 August 2003. The existing 6.9 million ID card holders will be invited to attend one of the Smart ID Card Centres in groups, in accordance with their year of birth, to have their ID cards replaced within specified periods.

"Nine Smart ID Card Centres will be open for the exercise. These centres are situated in convenient locations and can be easily accessible by public transport. For the convenience of the working population, the working hours of these centres will be extended and they will open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 p.m." the spokesman said.

It is estimated that the ID card replacement exercise will last for four years. Secretary for Security has issued an Order to announce the details of the first cycle. Subject to normal negative vetting procedure of the Legislative Council, the arrangement will be as follows: -

Persons eligible to apply                 Period

Members of the Immigration August 18 2003

Service, police officers and - November 15 2003

labour inspectors

Holders of existing ID card September 15 2003

who were born in 1968 or 1969 - November 15 2003

Holders of existing ID card November 17 2003

who were born in 1966 or 1967 - January 10 2004

Holders of existing ID card January 12 2004

who were born in 1964 or 1965 - March 13 2004

In addition, the Order has provided an option to the Chief Executive, Members of the Executive Council (ExCo) and the Legislative Council (LegCo) and principal officials appointed under Article 48(5) of the Basic Law to join the first cycle of the exercise other than applying for ID cards within the specified periods which are applicable to their age groups.

According to the spokesman, the arrangement has taken into account various factors, e.g. the need for law-enforcement officers to familiarize themselves with the features of the new ID card as early as possible so as to facilitate them to fight crimes relating to illegal immigration and illegal employment; the need to ensure that frequent travellers are among the first to benefit from the Automated Passenger Clearance System and the Automated Vehicle Clearance System when the two systems are implemented at the end of 2004; and the need to facilitate the Chief Executive, Members of the ExCo and LegCo and upper echelon of the executive authorities to promote the use of information technology in the community and Hong Kong, both locally and overseas, as a leading digital city in the region.

"Publicity will be made as and when we roll out the replacement exercise by phases."

"Hong Kong residents who are presently overseas need not rush back to Hong Kong solely for replacement of their ID cards. They can do so within 30 days after their return to Hong Kong if they have missed their turn."

No fee will be charged for ID cards issued under the replacement exercise.

End/Friday, May 16, 2003


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