Acceptable Documents

Table of Contents

The starting point for all Assurers for all purposes is:


This present page is a discussion of which presented documents are acceptable and valid. We distinguish between primary and secondary documents. A primary document is government issued document with a photograph, a Name and a date of Birth. It is consided a strong evidence of the person's identity, and has at least some restistance against simple forgeries like colour copiers. Typically, these are identity cards or passports (but see below). Secondary documents may be other documents which are suitable to add further evidence to an identity. If you are shown at least one primary document and one secondary document, the current guidelines in AssuranceHandbook2 are satisfied.

are they?

They are. It's a bit more than absolutely necessary, just on the safe side. Absolute minimum is a single "Government issued Photo ID". BernhardFröhlich

Identity Documents

There is a wikipedia article about which countries use identity cards (which are generally considered primary documents), that shows several images of id cards and may be used as a starting point for further research:

Identity Documents with "electronic identification"

A list of countries that offer electronic identification on their identity documents (WIP).


Every nation on earth issues passports, at least to some of its citizens. The problem with passports is that there is no international standard on what a passport must contain or how exactly it has to look like. So countries with a low per capita income often issue cheaper and considerably less secure passports. I have even heard of passports which do not even contain a photo...

As above, at least one of the presented documents should be a "government issued photo ID." It should have a name, photo, birthdate. So if someone should present you a passport without a photo (or without a birthdate, or btw, with a birthdate different to that entered in the CAcert database) you should not accept this as a primary document. If a country does not issue IDs with photos, a citizen of that country may not be able to be assured by CAcert. Seek help on such a case. There are plans to install specific policies for such countries in the future on how to proceed in such cases.

If you have doubts do not assure the person if no other primary document is presented. For a bit more reading about passports in general try

Dual Citizenship

Note that someone can have more than one passport from different countries. Many countries accept dual (or even multiple) citizenships.

Camouflage passports and fantasy passports

You should be very careful if someone presents you a passport of an unusual country.

Camouflage passports are "passports" issued in the name of a non-existent country and sold by commercial companies. A typical reason why someone buys such passport is, that s/he is afraid of being singled out as a crime victim because of her or his nationality, for example in event of a terrorist hijacking or riot. So camouflage passports are explicitly designed to look realistic, at least to the untrained.

Fantasy passports are more or less something like "club cards", but are also designed to resemble a passport, though for different reasons.

Such imitation "passports" are NOT considered acceptable documents for a CACert assurance, since they are not government issued. See Wikipedia on Camouflage Passports if your are curious about the topic.

Lesson to learn: You should have a very close look at the document if someone wants to get assured based on a passport issued by an unusual country.

Detailed descriptions for specific countries

More reading PRADO database about security features of european travel documents has a huge list of passport cover pages. provides a commercial database with details about documents, and how to check them. Android-App for checking US drivers licenses

AcceptableDocuments (last edited 2015-09-04 04:56:56 by AlesKastner)