Development of Hong Kong Identity Cards
(1) Paper Identity Card
The earliest identity cards issued were made of stiff paper in yellow, pink and light blue colours.
(2) Laminated Identity Card
Laminated identity card was introduced in June 1960. It bore the photograph and the left thumbprint of the card holder on the front while the reverse side contained the name and other personal particulars.
(3) New Laminated Identity Card
A revised laminated identity card was introduced in November 1973. Changes included textual modification, removal of thumbprint impression and addition of place of birth.
(4) First Generation Computerised Hong Kong Identity Card
The first generation computerised identity card was introduced in March 1983 and the territory-wide identity card replacement exercise was commenced in phases.
(5) Second Generation Computerised Hong Kong Identity Card
From July 1987, a revised computerised identity card was issued in phases for use beyond July 1, 1997. The second generation computerised identity card was introduced in two types: Hong Kong permanent identity card and Hong Kong identity card. The Hong Kong permanent identity card contained a statement that the holder has the right of abode in Hong Kong.
(6) Smart Identity Card
The Immigration Department started issuing smart identity cards from June 23, 2003. Featuring state-of-art technologies, the smart identity card stores in its microchip the template of the holder's thumbprints, which serves as a very effective deterrent against counterfeits.
(7) New Smart Identity Card
Coupling with the implementation of the Next Generation Smart Identity Card System, the new smart identity card has been issued starting from 26 November 2018 to replace the existing ones. There is enhancement in security features, card durability as well as chip technology and personal data protection of the new smart identity cards.