LONDON – Britain has begun a national identity card plan for some foreign nationals in an attempt to combat terrorism and identity fraud.
Opponents say it represents a costly erosion of civil liberties. The program has been debated heatedly for several years.
The cards are expected to store biometric data and information about the cardholder's nationality and work eligibility.
The first group to receive the new cards will be foreign students and permanent residents' spouses who apply for visa renewals.
Officials expect more than 50,000 cards to be issued in the next four months and that the program will be expanded in coming years.
Officials say the application process opened Tuesday morning .