What is Aadhaar?
The Aadhaar is a unique one-time government-issued identity card that is assigned to all Indian residents. It is a 12-digit random number that records the individual’s biometric and demographic data. Applying for an Aadhaar is voluntary and free of cost.
The Aadhaar program was constituted in 2016 when the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was set up. All Aadhaar cards are issued through this body, which collects the cardholder’s demographic and biometric data to enable a more streamlined and transparent method of allocating certain government benefits and subsidies to citizens.
Being a government-issued document, it can be used as proof of identity as well as proof of address for the purpose of opening a bank account, applying for loans and government subsidies.
An Aadhaar card carries the following information:
- Demographic information
- Date of birth/age
- EID- the enrolment number
- Biometric information
- Iris scan (both eyes)
- Fingerprints (all ten)
How to Enrol for Aadhaar?
The Aadhaar application process can be done from any authorised Aadhaar Enrolment Centre/ Permanent Enrolment Centre. You can find an updated list of existing Aadhaar Enrolment Centres on the UIDAI website.
In an effort to simplify the enrolment process, the UIDAI has also authorised over 10,000 post offices and bank branches to operate as Permanent Enrol Centres. Applicants can follow the 3 simple steps listed below to complete the enrolment process.
- Step 1: Locate the nearest Aadhaar enrolment centre.
- Step 2: Fill in the application form and submit required documents.
- Step 3: Complete biometrics and collect acknowledgement.
In the case of applicants who do not have the required documents, UIDAI has made arrangement for the following modes of enrolment:
- Head of Family (HoF) based application: Under this enrolment process, the Head of Family (with a valid Aadhaar) can submit documents proving his/her relationship to the applicant. The applicant’s enrolment will then be processed after successful verification of these details.
- Introducer-based application: In cases where the applicant has no valid proof of identity or address documents, an Introducer appointed by a Registrar can assist in the enrolment process. The Introducer can be contacted through the Aadhaar Enrolment Centre.
In case of minor applicants below the age of 5, the process is listed below:
- The parents’ biometric details will be captured at the time of enrolment. When the child turns 15 years, he/she will have to visit a centre to update his/her biometric data.
- Parent’s Aadhaar is to be provided when submitting the application form and documents at the Enrolment Centre.
How to Download/Print Aadhaar Card
In an effort to make the Aadhaar more accessible, the UIDAI has made arrangement for the electronic storage and retrieval of Aadhaar details. Known as the e-Aadhaar, this card is available in a PDF format and can be downloaded from the UIDAI website.
The e-Aadhaar can be accessed through the official UIDAI website by using any of the following:
- With Aadhaar number.
- With VID (Virtual ID).
- With EID (Enrolment ID).
Find A detailed guide on how to download/print your e-Aadhaar card from the UIDAI Website.
Aadhaar Card Eligibility
The eligibility criteria for an Aadhaar card is as follows:
- All Indian citizens are eligible to apply for an Aadhaar card.
- NRIs (Non Resident Indians) who have lived in the country for a continuous period of 182 days are permitted to apply.
To make the Aadhaar process more transparent and streamlined, the UIDAI has made available various services relating to Aadhaar processes and features. A brief summary of each is provided below:
- Verify Aadhaar Number
Applicants can verify if their Aadhaar card is active or has been deactivated as follows:
- Visit the UIDAI website and click on the ‘My Aadhaar’ tab.
- Click on the ‘Verify Aadhaar Number’ tab and enter your Aadhaar number along with the security CAPTCHA.
- The current status of your Aadhaar card will appear on screen.
Find a comprehensive guide to Verify Aadhaar Number
- Verify mobile number or email registered with Aadhaar:
Providing an email address and mobile number when applying for an Aadhaar card is advisable as it makes getting updates on services easier. As an applicant, you can also receive notifications on additional features or information pertaining to your Aadhaar remotely. Follow the steps listed here to verify the mobile number or email address registered with your Aadhaar.
- Retrieve your Aadhaar number:
If you have misplaced or lost your Aadhaar card, UIDAI has simplified the retrieval process. You can retrieve your Aadhaar card, VID or EID electronically by following the steps listed here.
It is important to note that retrieval of Aadhaar information requires you to have a registered mobile number.
- Check status of Aadhaar linking:
To avail most government subsidies and schemes, applicants have to link their Aadhaar card to their bank account for disbursement of the subsidy. You can check the current status of the linking process as listed below:
- On the official UIDAI website, navigate to the ‘My Aadhaar’ tab and select the ‘Aadhaar Services’ tab.
- Enter your Aadhaar/ VID number and the security code.
- An OTP will be generated and sent to your registered mobile number, and the current linking status will be displayed on screen.
Find a detailed guide on Link Aadhaar with Bank Account
- Generate Virtual ID (VID):
To ensure data protection and safeguard the information provided under Aadhaar, the UIDAI initiated the VID. This offers limited KYC (Know Your Customer) access to vendors/merchants seeking Aadhaar information for various services.
- Lock/Unlock your biometrics:
Your Aadhaar card contains both demographic as well as biometric data, which is used to authenticate your identity when availing various services. When sharing your Aadhaar information with a vendor/merchant for verification, there is a chance of misuse. In order to maintain the security of this data, the UIDAI permits Aadhaar card holders to lock access to their biometric information. This can be unlocked at the card holder’s discretion.
- Check authentication history:
Each time you provide your Aadhaar card for any purpose, the details of the Authorised User Agencies (AUA) accessing this information is logged in the Aadhaar system. You can check your authentication history which lists the AUA and the information they have accessed. This process enables you to verify who has accessed your Aadhaar data. This feature is especially helpful when it comes to managing the security of your information.
Find a guide on how to check your authentication history.
- Offline verification of Aadhaar:
Aadhar paperless e-KYC is a sharable and secure document that can be used for offline verification of Aadhar identification. As an Aadhaar cardholder, you can share proof of identity and address information in a secure, tamper-proof format to vendors/service providers.
Generating the Aadhaar Paperless Offline e-KYC can be done as follows:
- Visit the UIDAI website and click on the ‘My Services’ tab.
- Click on the ‘Aadhaar Paperless Offline e-KYC’ under the ‘Aadhaar Services’ tab.
- Enter your Aadhaar number and the security code, after which you will receive an OTP on your registered mobile number.
- After the OTP has been successfully verified, a downloadable XML file will be available.
- Find Information About Aadhaar Enrolment Centres
Applicants can find information on Aadhaar Enrolment Centres as well as Permanent Enrolment Centres on the UIDAI website, which lists current enrolment centres by state and city. A detailed guide on how to find existing Aadhaar Enrolment Centres can be found here.
- Check Status of Aadhaar Application Online
Applicants who wish to track the status of their Aadhaar application can do so through the official UIDAI website. You will need to mention your enrolment ID, which can be found on the acknowledgment slip issued after you submit your application.
Find a detailed guide to checking your Aadhaar status online.
- How to update Aadhaar details online?
If your Aadhaar details have errors or you wish to change information after you have submitted your application, you can update are correct this information online by visiting the UIDAI website. Both demographic data as well as biometric information can be updated.
Find a step-by-step guide on the process to update Aadhaar details online.
- How to Add Your Mobile Number To Aadhaar Card
Adding your mobile number to Aadhaar card is important as availing Aadhaar services and making changes/updating details in your Aadhaar card requires two-factor authorisation, with an OTP being sent to your registered mobile number.
In order to add your mobile number, you will have to visit a Permanent Aadhaar Centre and submit an application to add the same to your card.
Find a guide on how to update mobile number in Aadhaar.
The eAadhaar is an electronic copy of your Aadhaar card and can be used in lieu of a physical copy of the card. It is accepted universally and can be downloaded from the UIDAI website. The eAadhaar is saved in a PDF format and is password protected. You can also choose to download a masked copy of your Aadhaar, which will hide your Aadhaar number.
With a view to making the Aadhaar card and its allied services more universally available, the UIDAI has released mAadhaar which is a mobile application for Android devices. The app contains the user’s Aadhaar information in a digitised form and enables accessibility on the go.
Users can add up to 3 profiles on their app and perform a wide variety of services such as locking their biometrics and access their e-KYC for Aadhaar. Find a more comprehensive guide to the mAadhaar app, including linking your mobile number.
- Aadhaar Enrolment Centres
To facilitate seamless and efficient applications, the UIDAI has set up Aadhaar Enrolment Centres as well as Permanent Enrolment Centres across the country, with many located in major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai Hyderabad, Bangalore, etc. Applicants can find active centres close to their area of residence by visiting the UIDAI website.
- I have lost my Aadhaar letter. Can I get a reprint?
Yes, the UIDAI has launched a new service called the ‘Order Aadhaar Reprint’ service. You can apply for the same on the UIDAI website/through the mAadhaar app and get a reprint of your Aadhaar letter for a nominal fee of Rs.50.
- I do not have access to internet/mAadhaar app. How do I access online services?
You can sign up for the Aadhaar SMS service by sending an SMS to 1947 from your registered mobile number. You can access features and services available online/on the mAadhaar app such as locking/unlocking biometric, generating a Virtual ID etc.
- I do not have documentary proof for my current address. Can I still update it in my Aadhaar?
Yes, you can still update your address through Address Verifier by applying for an Address Verification Letter on the UIDAI website. This is to be submitted along with your application form.
- I would like to update my name on my Aadhaar. Can I update it online through the Self Service Update Portal (SSUP)?
No, only addresses can be updated through the SSUP. For updating name, date of birth, photograph, mobile number etc., you will have to visit a Permanent Enrolment Centre and update the details.
- How long is the Aadhaar card valid?
The Aadhaar card is valid for life.
- Are e-Aadhaar and the Aadhaar card the same thing?
Yes, Aadhaar card and e-Aadhaar are same. The only difference being the Aadhaar card is a document sent to the applicant through the post by UIDAI while the e-Aadhaar is a digital version that can be downloaded from the UIDAI website.
- What information is contained in the e-Aadhaar QR code?
The Aadhaar QR code contains the cardholder’s demographic details such as name, date of birth, photograph, gender (if provided) and the Masked Aadhaar number.
- Is it mandatory to link my PAN with Aadhaar in order to file my tax returns?
Yes, as per the new provisions of the Finance Act, it is mandatory for all taxpayers to link their PAN with Aadhaar.
- Do I need to carry originals when updating my details at an Enrolment Centre?
Yes, you are required to carry originals of all documents whose details you are updating at an Enrolment Centre.
- My first Aadhaar application was rejected, can I re-apply?
Usually an Aadhaar application is rejected due to technical/quality reasons. You are permitted to reapply for your Aadhaar.