Applying and Downloading a Voter Identity Card in India


31 Jul 2019 | 8 min read

India sustains its democracy on free and fair elections. Indians are taught the process of the election right from the time they are in school.  Interestingly, when they attain the age of 18 years, they have a right to vote. In order to qualify for voting in Indian legislative and parliamentary elections, there is a requirement of a Voter Identity Card (ID). Here, we will help you how to get this national identity card. 

Applying for a new Voter ID card is simple and easy. And if you ask us the same question about downloading it online, we will say yes.

We will tell you how downloading is easy for an election card.

  1. Visit National Voters’ Service Portal
  2. On the portal, you will find the link for Form 6. You can download Form 6 here also
  3.  You can fill the form in both Hindi and English language, as per your convenience
  4. Enter the basic required details
  5. Just mention the details of two people who will affirm in your favor
  6. Upload the supporting documents like Identity Proof and Address Proof
  7. Next, an application number will be sent to your mobile number and registered email ID
  8. With this application number, you can check the status of your new Voter ID card.
  9. Once, it is uploaded on the website, click on the download button, and get a copy of the new election card in minutes. 

Can You Download the Soft Copy of the Voter ID Card?

Voter ID Card is a very significant identity document, and there is a hologram in it. As a result, a person can download the Voter ID Card Soft copy online but cannot make it use on the polling booth.

Can You Check the Information mentioned in the Voter ID Card?

Click here and you can easily check all the information mentioned in your Voter ID Card. You need to enter the basic details like your gender, residing state, birth date, and EPIC number.

How to Apply for a Voter ID Card Offline and Online?

The Government of India offers two ways in which you can apply for a voter identity card. Let’s find out the same -

Applying Offline -

The first method is to apply offline in case if you don't have internet or a computer connection

  1. Visit the state election office and request for the Form 6
  2. Fill the form carefully ensuring that no column or box is left unfilled or incomplete. Ensure that all the information entered on the form 6 matches with the supporting documents
  3. The form must be filled clearly and legibly. There must be no cutting off of words and figures. Whitener should also be avoided
  4. Next, attach your passport size photograph
  5. Submit the duly filled in form to the election office
  6. The documents will be verified and then the card will be issued within few days

Applying Semi Online

If in case, you are not comfortable applying for a voter identity card online. You may go for semi-online method.

  1. With some help, get a copy of the form 6 downloaded and printed.
  2. The forms are available on the website of the National Voter’s Service Portal. This is also known as NSVP. The government has made a provision for submitting the completed form in the nearest election commission’s office.
  3. You can submit the form either in person or by post. This is known as the semi online application.
  4. The process of verifying the documents and releasing the Voter identity card will take the same route as applying for it offline does.

Applying Online

To apply online, you must access the website of the National Voter’s Service Portal. There are many options available there.

  1. Study the options carefully and click on the correct option meant for registering for new voter identity cards.
  2. This will open form 6.
  3. Fill in all the details that are asked for.
  4. Ensure to fill all the columns and check that all the information matches with the supporting documents.
  5. If there is a disparity, your application is likely to be rejected.
  6. The next step is to upload a recent passport size photograph of yours. 
  7. Along with the photograph, upload all the documents that are asked for on the website.
  8. Your hardwork ends! Now, wait for the card to be delivered on the address mentioned in the form.

What is the validity of the Voter ID Card?

The Voter Identity Card is valid for other purposes, but if you move away from the constituency where you are registered, you have to register once again with the election commission. The card becomes invalid for the purpose of voting in any election. 

Voter ID card eligibility 

You must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible for a voter’s ID card in India:

  • Indian citizen
  • 18 years or above of age
  • Must have a permanent address

What if I not receive my Voter ID Card?

Sometimes the process takes so long that applicants get impatient.

  1. In this case, you can make enquiries at the nearest election commission’s office.
  2. Take out the receipt which has the application number.
  3. This receipt would have been generated when the form was submitted in the election office.
  4. The reference number will enable the election commission to track the status of  your application.
  5. Alternately, you can visit the official website. After accessing the site, enter the reference number that was generated when you submitted the application on form 6 online.
  6. The next step is to click on “track status”. When this action is completed, the status of your application will be displayed on the screen.
  7. In case if there are errors like the wrong address, then the applicant must go to the Election Commission office and meet the respective person, and set right the discrepancies.

How to Verify the Voter Identity Card?

If you suspect your Voter ID Card is not genuine, you are free to verify the authenticity of the card. This can be done by visiting the election office or by going online also

If you go to the office of the election commissioner, present the card and ask him to verify its authenticity

In case if you are searching online, visit the official website that is the National Voters Service Portal or NVSP.

  1. Select your name in the electoral roll. 
  2. Feed in reference number, and other details as asked for, to find out whether your voter identity card is genuine or a counterfeit one.
  3. If the card has been sourced from the office of the chief electoral officer, then there is no chance of it being a fake.
  4. If it has been sourced from elsewhere, it is better to verify whether it is genuine.

It is better to apply to the chief electoral officer, rather than to private players.

Explaining the Voter Identity Card

What your Voter Identity Card does for you?

Your voter identification card is a photo-identity card. It is issued by the Election Commission of India.  It is issued to all citizens of India only.

  1. The condition attached to this is the person applying for the card must be above 18 years of age, and be of sound mind. The applicant should not have any criminal history.
  2. All Indian citizens who have a voter identity card are eligible to vote.
  3. The purpose of voter identity card is to serve as an identity proof for voters.
  4. Though it is meant to primarily identify people during polling, it serves as a photo identity at all times.
  5. It is valid everywhere because it has a photograph and it has been issued by the government of India after a thorough check into your antecedents.

How your voter identity card helps the government?

Not only your voter identity card helps you, but it also helps the government. With the help of this card, the government is able to conduct all kinds of elections, whether they are at the state level, the town level municipal elections, or at the village level for the gram panchayats, all the elections are held efficiently and fairly. This is particularly true of the general elections, which are held once in five years on a pan India level.

By checking the voters’ identity against this card, the government functionaries are able to stop bogus voters from voting and thus preventing impersonation and fraud. This enables the state to hold free and fair democratic elections.  This card is also commonly known as an Election Card, Voter’s Card, or Voter ID Card.

Decoding the Voter Identity Card

A voter identity card contains information about the holder. All the information has been cross checked and authenticated by the Government of India. This is the reason why it is a widely accepted proof of identity. It also serves as proof of nationality. The holder’s date of birth is displayed on this card, so it is accepted as age proof also. Since it showcases the address; it serves as proof of residence as well.

This is how a Voter Identity Card Looks Like

  1. The topmost print is the national symbol. Below the symbol “Satyamev Jayate” is printed.
  2. Then, there is “Election Commission of India” printed in bold upper case or capital letters.
  3. This is followed by the words “IDENTITY CARD” in a smaller font in upper case letters.
  4. The same legend is repeated in translation in Hindi, which is the official language of the country.
  5. Right below the legend, there is a photograph of the card holder.
  6. A hologram is slightly superimposed on the photograph.
  7. The hologram in no way covers the face of the holder. The hologram is there to ensure that no one can meddle with or change the photograph.
  8. The primary aim of this identity card is to serve as a photographic proof. So, the superimposed hologram is a necessary precautionary measure.
  9. Above the photograph of the holder is a unique serial number. This number is allotted to only one person.
  10. The photograph and hologram are followed by the card holder’s name first in Hindi and then in English.
  11. The menu is printed on the left and the variables are printed after a colon and space. There is enough space for even long names to fit in.
  12. The name of the card holder’s father follows his own name (this is also written both in Hindi and English).
  13. The next line mentions, first in Hindi and then in English, the gender of the cardholder.
  14. The last line on this face of the voter identity card mentions the holder’s date of birth and age as on the date it was issued.
  15. When the voter identity card is turned over, the first item is the card holder’s address in Hindi followed by the same in English.
  16. Below this is the facsimile signature of the Electoral Registration Officer of the constituency, where the card holder resides or votes. This is in Hindi followed by the same in English. 
  17. The place and date where and when the card was issued to the card holder is mentioned below the name of the constituency.
  18. Last of all, there is a grey band which announces that the card can be used as an identity card for different government schemes.

The Voter ID Cards which have been issued in the recent past, also have the “part number” printed on them. This is an addition to the card, which makes it more user-friendly. The election officers and the voter can find their names on the electoral roster without much difficulty by using this number.

Cards which are issued in the southern India do not carry the legend in Hindi. South Indian languages are used for the convenience of the local population.

What is EPIC?

The Voter Identity Card is also known by its short form, EPIC. It stands for Elector’s Photo Identity Card. It is the same as a voter identity card, and serves the same purposes. It is also obtained in the same manner, following the same procedure.

Uses of the Voter Identity Card

The voter identity card is a very important document in the context of the country’s democratic structure.

Establishes Indian Nationality

It serves the purpose of establishing your nationality as an Indian citizen.

The voter identity card gives to the Indian citizen the right to exercise his most basic duty towards the nation, the right to vote. The right to vote is what moulds the future of India. What path the Indian democracy takes in terms of foreign policy, financial policy and welfare schemes is all decided by the choice every Indian make while casting the much-prized vote in every election.

Government Schemes

This helps the card holder to avail of various government schemes. There schemes are in the field of health, which are available to Indians when they produce their voter identity card.

Having established their identity, the citizens of India can avail of medical aid either free or at subsidised rates. The monetary aspect depends on the income group of the person seeking medical aid.

Women Empowerment

For women of India, there are special schemes floated by the women and child welfare department. These schemes aim at a healthy women force and educate them about their rights.

There are also schemes that teaches women various skills to make them self-sufficient. These schemes can be availed by women who are registered voters in the country.

Being registered voters makes them bonafide citizens of the country. All the schemes of the Government of India are meant for Indian citizens, so the demand to see their voter identity cards as proof of their citizenship is justified.

Housing Schemes

The government has schemes which benefit the Indian citizen who has no house of his own. This is of great help to the economically backward sections of society.

When slums are cleared and the slum dwellers are relocated, they are given houses under Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (PMAY) if they have voter identity cards.


There are food subsidies available to the economically backward sections of society. Now a day, the voter identity card helps the population to establish their credentials, and get a ration card. Different categories of ration cards are issued to people in different economic strata of society. This is a very important use of the Voter ID Card.

The government also provides subsidies on LPG. But again, you have to prove yourself a citizen of India to avail of this subsidy. To prove your citizenship, the voter identity card is a necessity.

Verification of a Person

The voter identity card is as photo identity card. If the people need to prove they are the same person as mentioned in the legend, the photograph is available to compare the person and the government authenticated photograph.

This laminated piece of paper is of utmost importance in the life of every Indian. It gives him a nationality; an identity and it gives credence to his very life by displaying his photograph.

Documents required while applying for a Voter Identity Card

  1. It is not easy to get a voter identity card
  2. You can apply for your voter identity card when you attain 18 years of age. To get a voter identity card, you have to prove your credentials.
  3. You have to prove your identity by submitting an identity proof. In the case of Indians born in India, your birth certificate is one of the documents you can use.
  4. Your school leaving certificate will serve as proof of your age
  5. Your ration card can be used for proof of address
  6. You will also have to submit two passport sized photograph

If you are a foreigner you will need-

If you are a foreign national who wants to acquire a voter identity card, you first have to prove that you are a citizen of India.

Citizenship of India is granted to foreign nationals, if you are married to an Indian.

You can become a naturalized citizen if you have been living in India for a long period of time.

  1. Indian citizenship can be acquired if you have a financial standing.
  2. You have never been convicted in a criminal case.
  3. There is no international look out notice for you.
  4. There is a stiff police verification and background check done when you apply for citizenship.
  5. This verification and background check are done not only in India, but also in the country of your origin.
  6. Your behaviour during your sojourn in India is also verified.
  7. If you have indulged in any activities that are contrary to the interests of the state of India, your application will be rejected.
  8. But if it is accepted, then you will get the right to vote.
  9. You will have to provide certain documents to establish your claim.

When you apply for a voter’s identity card you will be required to submit the proof of your identity. You can submit your passport for this.

  • In fact, your passport will also establish your place of residence.
  • In case, if you are living in rented accommodation, your rental agreement can be used for this purpose.
  • Apart from all this, you must submit passport sized photographs.

 If you are a Non-resident Indian Voter

Non-resident Indians can exercise their right to vote, if they are in India when elections are taking place. To get a voter identity card, they can take the online or offline route that other Indians take. Their papers will be verified and they can get a voter identity card issued. They can vote in person only. They cannot vote if they are not physically present. The government is considering the possibility of allowing them to vote from wherever, they are. In fact, this provision is being considered for all Indians who cannot go to the place where they are registered as voters. Many thousand votes are lost because most people cannot leave their jobs and travel to cast their vote. 

NRI Voter ID

Non-resident Indians can still exercise their right to vote. NRIs can now apply online, or offline if they are in India and have their Voter IDs issued.  NRIs have to be present in the country and their constituency to cast their vote and cannot do it remotely as of now?

About Democracy and Elections –

Elections are deep-rooted in the culture of India. These are held every year for choosing the office bearers to the student council. The posts of the students’ council have little importance in the context of the nation. Yet these elections are very important because they teach young Indians the value of free and fair elections. Children as young as six years old know that there is an election to choose their school head boy, head girl, sports captain and captains for the different houses.

The school management also tries to create as many posts as is possible so that more and more seniors are given responsibilities and learn to discharge responsibility and how to handle power. Some schools allow campaigning so that students actually get a feel of elections.

Every five years, states in India hold elections to choose representatives for the legislative bodies. Elections are held in gram panchayats for gram pradhans where the villagers choose their headman. The municipal councils of towns hold elections for councillors. The state legislative assemblies go to polls to choose the legislators and the whole country goes to polls to choose members who will represent them in the parliament.

In a country that has a population of 1.33 crores, which speaks twenty-five official languages (not to mention uncountable dialects) and follows nine recognized religions, it is difficult for the government keep track of citizens who are eligible to vote. 

India has very long and porous borders. It is not unusual to see and hear citizens of neighbouring countries who look and speak like Indians. The height, built, looks, and color of Indians vary drastically from the north to the south and east to the west. The citizens of neighbouring countries look very similar to Indians, who live along the border. They share a culture that is similar and speak a language that is perfectly understood by their neighbours from the next country. It is a common sight that is seen every day - foreigners ambling across the borders with impunity.

Seeing how difficult it is to keep track of foreigners who could cast a vote and walk back into their country, the government makes use of voter identification cards. Before the introduction of voter identification cards many people who were not bonafide citizens of India, but considered themselves Indians because they had lived in this country for many years would cast votes. These people were either refugees, who were escaping from some kind of persecution in their native countries or they were illegal immigrants. These people did not have the right to do so. They did not even have the right feelings of patriotism, so their votes were on sale for a few rupees.

The year 1993 marks a watershed in the electoral history of India. This was when the voter identity card was first introduced. At first there was a much confusion, as is usual, when the government introduces any new programme on such a massive scale that it must reach every Indian. Most Indians were confused about who was eligible candidate to acquire a voter identity card. This confusion was confounded by the fact that the government machinery itself was unsure of what to do. But slowly by the time the general elections came around, things had fallen into place, and Indians knew where to go and what to take and what to submit.

In spite of the fact that in about ten years a sizable chunk of the massive 1.33 crore population had acquired a voter identity card; the government was unable to extend its reach to the entire population. The result was that many Indians were left out of the voter lists.

The government had to face a lot of flak because a great number of people were not able to vote.

ger lasting and more user-friendly.

History of the Voter Identity Card

In the year 1950, the Government of India set up a permanent department to conduct, and supervise the parliamentary elections that would be conducted every five years, when the term of the parliament was completed. This department is known as the Election Commission.  The head office of this commission is in New Delhi. There was a great deal of dishonesty and even those who were not registered with the commission, voted in the name of other people.

Voters’ integrity was bought by political parties with vested interests, for as little as a bottle of country liquor. They smuggled the same voters into polling booths repeatedly and asked them to vote for a particular political party. The media highlighted this in bold headlines and there was much hue and cry.

There was a great deal of debate whether such unfair practices could be stopped. The general feeling was given our vast population that is scattered so far and wide, it would not be feasible to even undertake such an exercise. Though the political parties themselves were the source of unfair practices, there was political will to put an end to such activities.  The debate continued for many years and over a couple of general elections.

This was when the Chief Election Commissioner, T.R Seshan mooted the idea of a voter identity card. This was put into practice in the year 1997.

The idea behind the voter identity card was to ensure that only those who were bona fide citizens could vote. The voter identity card would help to weed out bogus voters.

With each parliamentary election, there are a number of young people who reach the age of eighteen years and become eligible to vote. The election commission updates its records and adds the names of these young voters who would be voting for the first time. The question then arises how the government is going to recognize that they are bonafide voters and not imposters.

They could be foreigners, who have crossed the porous borders of our country and are seeking to establish an Indian identity. It is for this reason that the Election Commission keeps updating the records of eligible voters. The electoral rolls are updated as a continuous process and voter identity cards are issued to the new entrants on the list.

It also takes note of the names of people who are no longer around to vote.  Their voter identity cards are cancelled so that nobody can misuse the voter identity card and vote instead of someone else. This card has so much value that if anyone wants to, he can steal your identity.

When they issued initially, voter identity cards were printed on normally used paper with black ink. They were then laminated. The size of the cards was not user friendly. These cards lost their shape and were easily destroyed. From 2015 onwards the new cards which were issued were printed on PVC. They are coloured unlike the earlier versions which were black and white. The new voter identity cards are ISO/IEC 7810 compliant. The size is now of the standard ATM cards. This has made the card longer lasting and more user-friendly.


SVEEP stands for Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation.

When the country gained freedom from the British, the election commission of India set up a programme. At that time, the common Indian did not know much about elections, never having participated in any election during the British rule. The percentage of educated people was also quite low. SVEEP undertook the task of educating Indians about voting rights and elections. SVEEP also told the people that it was important to vote and that it was their fundamental right as citizens of a democracy. It even showed Indians how to use ballot papers.

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