Features of Nadra Cards

What are some of the features of NADRA’s new CNIC and SNIC cards?

nadra online is an autonomous agency controlled by the Pakistani Ministry of Interior, regulating and managing sensitive registration and Government databases of the citizens of Pakistan. NADRA  is responsible for distributing National Identity Cards used by the people of Pakistan for all processes relating to regular life. They then created a new system of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC) allowing applicants to use their identity cards digitally and apply for various processes online.


How does the process of National Identity Cards work?

A 13-digit unique number is assigned to all Pakistani individuals at birth near the time that the parents are filling out the birth registration forms (Form RG-2, also called the B-form or Child Registration Certificate (CRC)). These children receive their National Identity Card associated with the same number when they turn 18.

Till 2001, NIC numbers were 11 digits long, however, with the addition of a few more security features in 2001-2002, the authorities started issuing 13-digit numbers with improved NIC cards that now had the applicants biometric information as well. Each number of the card had a specific purpose, the first five digits were based on the applicant’s locality, the next seven are random numbers, and the last digit is even for females and odd for males. All identity cards with 11 digit were marked invalid since 2004 and had to be updated to the new ones.

What information does the Government mention on the identification card?

  • Legal name
  • Gender
  • Father’s or husband’s name
  • Identification marks
  • Date of birth
  • NIC Number
  • Family tree ID Number
  • Address
  • Date of issue and expiry
  • Fingerprint (Thumbprint)
  • Photo
  • Signature

Nadra started holding information about an individual’s religions but did not mention it on the card. They completed the registration of more than 90% of Pakistan women and started adding English and Urdu to the card as well.

What are some of the changes Nadra made to their National Identity Cards?

What started as a simple identity card, soon turned into a computerised Identity Card, which eventually evolved into the Smart National Identity Card (SNIC) currently in play. This was Pakistan’s first national electronic identity card, containing a data chip and 36 different security features, making it one of the most secure cards in the world. It complies with the ICAO standard 9303 and ISO standard 7816-4 and can be used offline and online.

With all the features added to the card, it can be used to vote, distribute pension, apply for social and financial inclusion programmes and many other services. NADRA is looking to replace all

89.5 million CNICs with SNICs by 2020.

  • The card is printed in multiple layers and each layer has its security
  • The chip is encrypted following secure communication protocols have been determined for being read by remote
  • To enable remote verification of citizens a match-on-card applet has been designed by NADRA.
  • When citizens place their card in a card reader, the reader first authenticates itself and in return, the card verifies its authenticity to the


  • If both the verifications are successful, the device asks for a finger
  • This enables the verifications of individuals in the remotest parts of
  • A majority of the chip space is available for the private sector to use for their products and services.

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