The French national identity card (French: carte nationale d’identité or CNI) is an official identity document consisting of a laminated plastic card bearing a photograph, name and address. While the identity card is non-compulsory, all persons must possess some form of valid government-issued identity documentation. The French national identity card can be used as an identification document in France in situations such as opening a bank account, identifying yourself to government agencies, proving your identity and regular immigration status to a law enforcement official etc.
Similarly, French citizens exercising their right to free movement in another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland are entitled to use their French national identity card as an identification document when dealing not just with government authorities, but also with private sector service providers.
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