Everything You Need to Know About the PhilSys National ID
Published: June 18, 2021 | Updated: July 23, 2021 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Government Services
Before the Philippine Identification System Act (Republic Act 11055) was signed into law by President Duterte in 2018, the Philippines was just one of the few countries that didn’t have a national ID system in place. And while the country’s national ID system hasn’t fully materialized yet, the government has been persuading people to enroll since the registration is already open to the public.
The National ID System or PhilSys is still in its infancy. But we can expect great things from it when it is successfully rolled out. If you’re planning to get one, let this article give you a quick walkthrough of the national ID registration process and some important things you should know.
Table of Contents
- What is PhilSys?
- What is a National ID?
- Is National ID Registration Mandatory?
- Who is Eligible for a PhilSys ID?
- PhilSys ID Features
- Benefits and Uses of a National ID
- Is the National ID Available Now in the Philippines?
- National ID Registration Process: How to Get a National ID Card in the Philippines
- Final Thoughts
What is PhilSys?
The Philippine Identification System (PhilSys), also called the national ID system, is the central identification platform of the government for all citizens and foreign residents in the Philippines. It’s established under the Philippine Identification System Act or Republic Act 11055.
The concept behind PhilSys is simple: “It will only answer ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Are you who you really say you are?'” This is according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the national ID system’s chief implementor.
What is a National ID?
The Philippine Identification Card or the PhilID is a nontransferable identification card that serves as a valid proof of identity for people registered under the PhilSys.
While the national ID is considered an official government-issued ID in the Philippines, the PhilID is not meant to replace other existing valid IDs used for a purpose other than identity verification. These government IDs include passports (for travel), UMID (for SSS/GSIS transactions), PRC ID (for practicing a profession), and driver’s license (for driving).
Is National ID Registration Mandatory?
As stated in the law, national ID registration is not mandatory for everyone. If you refuse to get a PhilID, you won’t be penalized under the Philippine Identification System Act.
But PhilSys strongly recommends that you register, since the PhilSys platform will eventually be used for the issuance of government services.
Who is Eligible for a PhilSys ID?
You should register in PhilSys and get a national ID if you’re one of the following:
- Filipino citizens, including those with dual or multiple citizenships
- OFWs and other citizens living abroad
- Foreign nationals living in the Philippines for over six months
Is There a Minimum Age Requirement for National ID Registration?
According to PhilSys, registration is open to all ages, including newborn children. For kids below five years old, only their demographic information and front-facing photograph will be collected. Their PhilSys Number (more on it later) will be linked to their parent or legal guardian.
However, when the kid turns 15, they’ll have to update their information and have their biometrics recaptured.
PhilSys ID Features
The PhilID contains a 12-digit number called the PhilSys Number (PSN). This unique and lifetime identification number is assigned to each eligible cardholder either upon birth or registration in the PhilSys.
In addition to the printed PhilSys Number, the national ID also features a QR code that also contains the cardholder’s PSN and two fingerprint data.
Personal Information Collected Under PhilSys
- Last name, first name, and middle name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Blood type
- Citizenship (Filipino or Resident Alien)
- Marital status
- Mobile number
- Email address
Biometric Data Captured Under PhilSys
- Front-facing photo
- Full set of fingerprints
- Iris scan
When the PhilSys Act was signed into law in 2018, the main concern was the privacy and security breaches that might arise when sensitive information is collected and stored in a database.
The PSA has assured the public that it would adopt the latest technologies and innovations to ensure the security and privacy of the PhilSys.
All transactions and data recorded under the national ID system are encrypted and digitally signed. Another notable PhilSys security feature is the use of multiple databases that store only specific information from an individual. This will prevent hackers from gaining access to the cardholder’s entire profile.
PhilSys also adopts a process called tokenization. Through this, sensitive data, such as your PSN, is replaced with a non-sensitive equivalent (which is the token) to make sure that your important data will not be revealed and compromised.
For your peace of mind, PhilSys doesn’t collect data that is not necessary for identifying individuals. You won’t be required to provide information about your socio-economic status, political leaning, religious affiliation, educational qualifications, and criminal records, among others.
PhilSys ID Validity
The PhilID has no expiry date. However, newborns (who are automatically issued a PhilSys identification card without fingerprint and iris scan) will be given a new ID card when they turn five to register their complete biometrics.
PhilSys ID Fee
For Filipino citizens, the first-time PhilID application and renewal (replacement of ID card for recapturing or updating biometric info) are free of charge.
Foreigners living in the Philippines will have to pay a standard fee for the initial PhilID application, renewal, or replacement due to a lost or damaged card.
Benefits and Uses of a National ID
Why Should You Get a PhilSys ID?
While there are a lot of people who have countered the national ID system, having a national ID system actually comes with a lot of benefits. Other countries have been using it in countless ways.
For instance, Thailand’s national identity card or Smart ID is being used to determine the most suitable public health insurance for a citizen according to their age, civil status, and occupation.
MyKad, Malaysia’s national ID, also doubles as a reloadable cash purse, which the citizens can use at government agencies, toll booths, gas stations, and public transport systems.
Once the national ID system is fully implemented in the Philippines, Filipinos can use their IDs as sole proof of identity when opening an account. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has released a memorandum telling financial institutions to recognize the national ID card when carrying out their Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process. For citizens, opening an account will be much easier and more efficient.
Here are the other benefits of having a Philippine national ID:
- Simpler and faster access to government services
- Easier transactions—no need to present other IDs as proof of identity to the government and private institutions
- More efficient distribution of government financial assistance to poor and low-income households
What is the PhilID Used For?
The national ID is accepted in a wide range of transactions in the public and private sectors, including the following:
- Application for social welfare programs and benefits from the SSS, GSIS, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG Fund, and other government agencies
- Issuance of passport, driver’s license, and other government-issued IDs
- Bank account opening and other transactions with banks and other financial transactions
- Tax-related transactions
- COMELEC registration and voting
- Admission to schools or government hospitals
- Transactions for employment purposes
Is the National ID Available Now in the Philippines?
Yes, but the rollout has been quite slow, partly due to the pandemic. As of May 2021, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) has started issuing the PSN and the delivery of PhilIDs. The agency partnered with the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) to deliver about 40,000 ID cards to registrants who have successfully undergone the registration.
National ID Registration Process: How to Get a National ID Card in the Philippines
The PSA reported that as of March 2021, there are more than 15 million registrants based on the PSA Field Offices’ manual counts. As the online registration has begun, more than 800,000 have started signing up.
Those who wish to get a PhilID will have to follow three steps.
Step 1: Register Online
Log on to www.register.philsys.gov.ph. Then fill out the application form. You’ll also be prompted to book your preferred appointment schedule for Step 2. You’ll receive a copy of your Application Reference Number (ARN) or a QR code, which you’ll need to present at the registration center.
Step 2: Proceed to Your Designated Registration Center
Head to your assigned registration center on the day of your appointment. Visit the PhilSys website to see the list of provinces, cities, and municipalities open for online booking appointments. You may also get in touch with your local government unit to see if it has already established a registration center.
At this stage, your demographic data will be validated and your biometric information will be captured.
Philippine National ID Requirements
At the registration center, present your ARN or QR code. Also, make sure to bring the original copy of your supporting documents:
- PSA-issued Birth Certificate and one government-issued identification document that bears your full name, front-facing photograph, and signature or thumbmark.
- Philippine Passport or ePassport
- GSIS or SSS-issued Unified Multi-Purpose Identification Card (UMID)
- LTO Student Permit or Non-Professional/Professional Driver’s License
If you don’t have any of the documents mentioned above, you can bring the original copy of any of the secondary documents below:
- LCRO-issued Certificate of Live Birth
- PSA-issued Report of Birth
- PSA-issued Certificate of Foundling
- Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Identification Card
- Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) ID
- Seaman’s Book
- Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) ID
- Senior Citizen’s ID
- SSS ID
- Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) ID
- License to Own or Possess Firearms (LTOPF) ID
- NBI Clearance
- Police Clearance/ID
- Solo Parent’s ID
- PWD ID
- Voter’s ID
- Postal ID
- Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) ID
- PhilHealth ID
- Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA)-issued Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV)
- National ID from other countries
- Residence ID from other countries
The following documents will be accepted as secondary supporting documents as long as they bear a front-facing photograph, full name, permanent address, birthdate, and signature/thumbmark:
- Employee ID
- School ID
- Barangay Clearance/Certificate
- Barangay ID
- City/Municipal ID
Step 3: Wait for the Delivery of Your National ID Card
Once your national ID registration is done, all that’s left to do is to wait for your PSN and PhilID to be delivered to your address. Make sure to present your transaction slip or any valid ID to the courier.
Filipinos can only hope that the national ID system will remedy or at least simplify the bureaucratic procedures in different transactions in the government and the private sector. Nevertheless, looking at the way other countries are using their national ID system, it’s safe to say that the PhilID has so much potential.
We recommend that you follow the PSA Philippine Identification System page on Facebook to be updated on things concerning the national ID registration.
-  Republic Act 11055 (Official Gazette)
-  Nothing to be Afraid Of? Other Countries Use Their National IDs in Countless Ways (Rappler, 2018)
-  National ID to be Accepted by Banks as Sole Proof of Identity (BusinessWorld, 2021)
-  PSA Begins Issuance of PSN and PhilID to Successful Registrants
-  Nearly 1M Sign Up Online for National ID (Philippine News Agency, 2021)
-  National ID Registration Centers
Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with 15+ years of experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.