With over 1.123 billion members enrolled, Aadhaar is the world's largest biometric ID system.
The Indian government has proposed to make the Aadhaar card mandatory for the filing of income tax returns. Through an amendment in the Finance Bill, the government has tacked this rule on and hopes to put it in effect from July 1, 2017.
This rule could have a far-reaching impact on those who have perhaps yet to get an Aadhaar card.
In case you are among those who are considering getting yourself an Aadhaar number, here’s everything you need to know about the process of getting one of your very own.
Photo source: Wikimedia
What exactly is an Aadhaar number?
The Aadhaar number, issued by the Indian government to residents of the country, is a 12-digit identification number that is unique to the person it is issued to. The process of issuing Aadhaar number and the Aadhaar card as well as managing them is overseen by a body called the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It functions under the Planning Commission of India.
With over 1.123 billion members enrolled, Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric ID system. It is essentially something that can be used for a variety of purposes, including proof of identity and proof of address, making it easier to open bank accounts or obtain driver’s licences. Most recently, the government also announced that through the BHIM app, users can send and receive money with their Aadhaar number.
Who is eligible for an Aadhaar number?
One thing many don’t know is that you don’t actually have to be an Indian to get an Aadhaar card. This card is meant to establish identity and not citizenship. Here’s who can apply for this card:
- Every citizen of India irrespective of their gender, caste, creed or socio-economic background can apply for the Aadhaar card.
- All Non-Resident Indians who are currently living in another country can apply.
- Foreign nationals living in India can also apply.
In case of minors, Aadhaar can be applied for with the birth certificate as well as proof of identify and address of the parents of the child. Children below three years of age are not required to give their biometric information. Once they reach 15, their biometric card has to be once again updated.
How much do you pay?
Nothing. This is a service that is provided entirely free of cost to the residents and citizens of India. No centre should and can charge anyone to provide this card. If they do, then they are not a legitimate centre.
How does one apply for an Aadhaar card?
First the bad news – you cannot apply for an Aadhaar card online. Physical presence at any of the authorised Aadhaar enrolment centres across the country is a must in order to get a card.
But there is also good news – you can, as a citizen of India, book an appointment online by heading to the UIDAI website.
Image for representation. Photo source: Wikimedia
Here is a step-by-step breakdown on what you should do:
- Book an appointment in the UIDAI website for a centre that is most conveniently located for you. While booking you will be expected to provide details like your contact number, the date you want to visit and the number of people who will be coming along with you to apply for their Aadhaar cards. An enrolment centre can be located using this tool.
- On the day of the appointment, carry the relevant documentation to the centre. At the venue, once the documents are verified, your fingerprints and your iris will be scanned as biometric data.
- Once all the information has been submitted, authorities will verify everything once again and after that you will receive an SMS or an email notifying you that your application was successful and you will get an Aadhaar card.
- The Aadhaar number will then be generated and the physical card will be sent across shortly after that.
Apart from your physical presence, in order to be verified, you have to carry documentation that will serve as a proof of your age, identity and your address. In case you are married, then you will have to carry documentation that establishes proof of marriage as well.
Passports, driver’s licences, birth certificates, any ID cards issued by the government of India, PAN card, SSLC certificates, Voter ID cards are all accepted as valid documentation of proof.
In order to access the full list of documentation that is accepted, click here
Updating your Aadhaar card
Whether there is a mistake in your card or you need to update it in some form or the other, there is a provision. Right at the home page of UIDAI you will be given the option of updating the card either online, by post or through an enrolment centre. In case you have a registered mobile number, you will be able to update your card online and by post. If you have changed your mobile number or have lost it, you will have to go to an enrolment centre to update it personally.
Here are the detailed instructions on how one can proceed.
In case you need some extra help…
Once you have updated your card, you can track the update status here
In case you have lost your Aadhaar card, you can request for a new one here
In case you just want to talk to someone in order to have your queries addressed, the UIDAI has also provided a toll-free number for the residents of India. It is 1947.
The correction form can be downloaded here