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Aadhaar Card - What Is It, Benefits, Process, How to Update & Retrieve Lost UID

Updated on: 20 Mar, 2024 02:22 PM

The Aadhaar card was first introduced in 2016 when the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was established. This organization issues all Aadhaar cards after collecting the cardholder’s biometric and demographic data to ensure a transparent and streamlined process of allocating and passing on the subsidies and benefits to the citizens. In this article, we understand what is Aadhaar card, how to download an Aadhaar card, its benefits, and the process for linking with PAN.

What is Aadhaar Card?

The Aadhaar Card is a unique identification number issued by the Indian government to residents of India. It is a 12-digit number that serves as proof of identity and address. Aadhaar is issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), a statutory authority established in January 2009 under the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is the main agency that operates under the Government of India and is tasked with issuing Aadhaar Cards to individuals. UIDAI collects the biometric and demographic data of the applicants and stores it in a centralized database. After the data is collected and verified, a unique Aadhaar number is issued and printed on the Aadhaar Card. The Aadhaar card contains the following information:

  • Full name of the individual
  • Unique 12-digit Aadhaar number
  • Address
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Photograph
  • Biometric data (fingerprints and iris scan)

Moreover, there is a QR code on the card which can be scanned to access the details of the cardholder easily.

What is Baal Aadhaar?

"Aadhaar for kids" or "Aadhaar for children." This is a blue-colored Aadhaar card and is known as the "Baal Aadhaar".

  • Baal Aadhaar does not contain the biometric information of the child.
  • When a child attains the age of five, it is mandatory to get Baal Aadhaar updated with biometric information
  • For authentication, one of the parent's Aadhaar is mandatory.
  • A picture of the child is also required for enrollment in the Aadhaar.
  • The Baal Aadhaar card is useful as it serves as a valid proof of identity and address for children. It can be used for availing government schemes and services, such as immunization and education, and can also be used as proof of identity for travel purposes.
  • If the child is over five years of age, biometric authentication is mandatory for the new updation of the child’s Aadhaar card. Also, when the child attains the age of 15 years, another biometric updation is required for the Aadhaar Card. Fingerprints of your child, a digital photograph, and an iris scan will be taken during the enrollment process.
  • Later on, biometric data and fingerprints have to match. In case it does not match, the child will have to get this data updated. At the age of 15, this biometric process should be updated for the Aadhaar card.

What is a masked Aadhaar Card?

A masked Aadhaar Card conceals the first 8 digits of the Aadhaar number, making only the last 4 digits visible to others. Despite this concealment, when you download the Aadhaar Card online, essential details such as the picture, name, date of birth, and UIDAI signature remain unchanged. Therefore, both the masked and the printed versions of the Aadhaar Card are equally legitimate for serving as identity proof.

Regardless of the variant of the Aadhaar Card you hold, understanding the eligibility criteria for obtaining an Aadhaar Card is of utmost importance.

Features of the Aadhaar Card

Here are some of the salient features of the Aadhaar Card –

  • The card contains the biometric details of the cardholder, like fingerprints, iris scans, photographs, etc. These details help identify the cardholder
  • Applying for an Aadhaar Card is voluntary. However, in some cases, having an Aadhaar Card becomes compulsory
  • Aadhaar number is a 12-digit number contained in Aadhaar Card.
  • The Aadhaar Card can be linked to all your financial accounts and investments like PAN cards, Ration cards, bank accounts, mutual fund investments, life insurance policies, etc.
  • The card serves as proof of identity, address, date of birth, etc.

The details on the card can be changed if there are any changes for the cardholder, for instance, in case of a name change or address change.

Benefits of having an Aadhaar Card

Though having an Aadhaar Card has been voluntary till now, there are various benefits you can avail of if you have an Aadhaar Card. These benefits include the following.

  • If you want to claim a subsidy on your LPG, you must provide your Aadhaar number to the LPG agency. The agency then links your Aadhaar number with the LPG consumer number and the subsidy is directly transferred to your bank account. You can, therefore, save on your LPG connection.
  • Accounts under Jan Dhan Yojana can be opened easily by submitting only a copy of your Aadhaar Card. No other documents would be required. This account would give you banking facilities, a RuPay debit card, life insurance, accident insurance, a zero balance savings account, etc.
  • To get a passport, you would need to submit a copy of your Aadhaar Card.
  • You can avail yourself of the facility of DigiLocker by providing your Aadhaar Card number at the time of registration. DigiLocker helps you store your important documents online and access them easily.
  • By linking the Aadhaar Card number to your voter ID, the possibility of bogus voters is eliminated, and elections become fair and transparent.
  • To avoid fraudulent pension payments, pensioners are required to link their Aadhaar number with their pension account, after which they would be able to receive pensions.
  • Opening a bank account has become easy through the Aadhaar Card as the card acts as all the required KYC documents needed at the time of account opening.
  • If pensioners want to avail of the facility of Jeevan Praman Pensioners wherein they do not have to be physically present at the pension disbursing agency to renew their life certificates, they would have to provide their Aadhaar details, after which renewal would be done digitally.
  • Aadhaar acts as proof of address and identity by the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India).
  • New mobile connections require Aadhaar Card details.
  • Moreover, when the Aadhaar card is linked with a mobile number, instant updates can be received by cardholders Driving licenses might also be linked to the Aadhaar card in the future, making the card a necessity.
  • PAN card is to be linked to the Aadhaar card so that money laundering activities can be curbed and the prevalence of black money reduced.
  • Linking Aadhaar with your investments has also become necessary in recent times
  • IRCTC users can book up to 12 train tickets in a month if they verify their transactions using their Aadhaar card numbers.
  • For business incorporation like GST registration, Food license, Import and Export registration, etc.
  • Ration cards are also being linked with Aadhaar card numbers so that the beneficiaries receiving the ration card benefits can be easily identified and duplicitous transactions can be curbed

How to Apply for Aadhaar Card?

The process to apply for Aadhaar Card is as follows –

  • Locate the nearest Aadhaar enrolment center authorized to accept applications for Aadhaar cards. The list of centers can be found on the UIDAI website (You can also find the enrolment centers of popular cities here – Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur, and Delhi)
  • After finding the center, book an online appointment.
  • When visiting the center, you should carry all the relevant documents required for enrolling for an Aadhaar Card. These documents include the following –
    • Identity proof
    • Proof of address
    • Date of birth proof
    (Find out the relevant documents here)
  • An enrolment form is available at the enrolment center, which you should fill out and submit. You can also download the form online at Download Enrolment Form, fill it out, and submit it at the center.
  • When submitting the enrolment form, you would have to submit the relevant documents and your biometric data like your fingerprints, eye scan, and photograph.
  • After submitting the enrolment form, you will receive an acknowledgment receipt containing a 14-digit unique identification number. This number acts as a reference to your Aadhaar Card application and can be used to track the status of your application.
  • Once the UIDAI verifies your details, you will be allotted an Aadhaar number. The Aadhaar Card will be sent to the address you mentioned when filling up the enrolment form.

Who can apply for Aadhaar Card?

Aadhaar cards can be availed by Indian citizens, non-resident Indians, foreigners who live in India, and minor children. However, if the applicant is a child below the age of 5, the Aadhaar Card number of one of the child's parents would have to be provided when applying for the Aadhaar Card. The parent’s Aadhaar Card details would be recorded in the enrolment form, and the child would not have to submit any biometric data. Only a photograph of the child is taken to be attached to the Aadhaar Card. The birth certificate of the child would be the only accepted age proof.

Moreover, after the child turns 15, the Aadhaar Card will be updated with the child’s latest photograph and biometric details.

Checking Aadhaar Card status online

After you apply for an Aadhaar Card, it takes some time for the UIDAI to allot the Aadhaar number.

Moreover, additional time is taken for the actual Aadhaar Card to reach your home.

Meanwhile, you can check the status of your Aadhaar Card application online. The process of checking the status is as follows –

  • Visit the UIDAI website at
  • On the home page, select the option ‘My Aadhaar’
  • Under this option, select ‘Check Aadhaar Status
  • A new window opens wherein you have to provide your enrolment ID (EID), which is the 14-digit acknowledgment number mentioned in the acknowledgment slip. Besides the EID, you would also have to enter the date and time of enrolment, which is also mentioned in the acknowledgment slip. A security code would also be mentioned on the site, which you should enter in the box.
  • When all the details are entered, select ‘Check Status,’ Your Aadhaar application status will be displayed

What is e-Aadhaar, m-Aadhaar, and virtual ID?

  • e-Aadhaar e-Aadhaar is a soft copy of your Aadhaar card. The soft copy can be downloaded from the UIDAI website using a specified form. In other words, it is an electronic copy of Aadhaar that is digitally signed by a competent authority of UIDAI and can be downloaded from the official website or the mobile application. A pdf file would be downloaded, which is password protected. The password for accessing your e-Aadhaar would be the first four letters of your name in capital letters followed by your year of birth in YYYY format.
  • M-Aadhaar m-Aadhaar is a mobile application developed by UIDAI to access Aadhaar-related services through your mobile phone. This mobile application provides an interface for the Aadhaar number holders to store their demographic information like their date of birth, name, address, and gender along with the photograph which is linked with their Aadhaar number in smartphones.
  • Virtual ID (VID) Virtual ID is a 16-digit unique code that can be availed by each Aadhaar card holder for Aadhaar authentication. The code is generated at the UIDAI website and is valid for 24 hours. It is mapped with the Aadhaar card and can be used as an alternative to your Aadhhaar card. VID can be used to furnish Aadhaar-related authentications to different agencies in place of your actual Aadhaar number. This protects your Aadhaar number and also fulfills the requirement of Aadhaar authentication.
    The VID can also be used to download an e-Aadhaar.

How to update Aadhaar card details?

Every individual having an Aadhaar card can change the details in the Aadhaar card like date of birth, address, gender, minor changes in name and contact number, etc. Given below are the steps that you need to follow to update your Aadhaar card details -

  • Step 1. Login to the Aadhaar portal through your Aadhaar number and the OTP received on your registered mobile number.
  • Step 2. Click on the option “Date of birth/Name/Gender/Address Update.”
  • Step 3. Choose the online Aadhaar update category, specifying whether you wish to update your online information such as name, date of birth, gender, or address, or opt for a Head of Family (HOF) based address update.
  • Step 4. Choose the demographic field that you want to update and enter the required data.
  • Step 5. Upload the scanned copies of original documents supporting the correction in name, address and date of birth.
  • Step 6. Pay an online fee of Rs.50 to update via netbanking or a debit/credit card.
  • Step 7. Obtain the Service Request Number for tracking your update request or for future communication with the UIDAI helpdesk.
  • Step 8. Upon completion of the UIDAI's internal quality check, where your demographic data is cross-verified with the supporting documents, an SMS notification containing the Enrolment ID will be sent to you.
  • Step 9. Following additional validations by the backend software, the processing of your request will be finalized, and you will receive an SMS notification detailing the outcome.

How many times the Aadhaar can be updated?

  • Name: The name of the user on the Aadhaar card can be changed twice.
  • Date of birth: The date of birth can never be changed. It is only possible in case of an error during the data entry process.
  • Address change: As of now, you can change your address on the Aadhaar card an infinite number of times.
  • Gender: Gender can only be changed once on the Aadhaar card

Changes to Aadhaar's name, gender, or date of birth beyond a certain limit are possible by visiting a UIDAI regional office.

Aadhaar Card Linking Process

Linking Aadhaar cards has become necessary in many instances, like in the case of a bank account, PAN card, insurance policies, investments, etc. Aadhaar card linking is an easy process that can be done online using your Aadhaar card number and registered mobile number. You must enter your Aadhaar card number, and an OTP will be sent to your registered mobile number. Once you enter the OTP, the linking process will be completed.

Here are the different processes of linking Aadhaar to various avenues –

  • Linking Aadhaar with bank account
    There are various ways to link your Aadhaar card with your bank account. You can link through the net banking facility available with your bank account, by visiting the bank branches, through the bank’s ATM, by sending an SMS, through a phone banking facility, or by using your bank's mobile application.
    (To know more, click here)
    (To know the linking process of different banks, click on the relevant bank names – SBI, ICICI, HDFC, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank)
  • Linking Aadhaar with PAN Card
    Aadhaar with a PAN card can be linked using any of the three ways.
    • Through the income tax department’s website without logging into your account.
    • Through income tax department’s website by logging into your account.
    • By sending an SMS to UIDAI to link your Aadhaar and PAN.
    (To know more, click click here)
  • Linking Aadhaar with Ration Card
    To link your Aadhaar card with your ration card, visit a PDS center or a ration office and link offline. You can also link online by visiting the Aadhaar seeding application portal and furnishing your Aadhaar and ration card numbers. Lastly, linking can also be done by sending an SMS to UIDAI.
    (To know more, click here)

How to Retrieve Lost or Forgotten EID/UID?

It often happens that we forget or lose our EID or UID. But there is nothing to worry, you can still retrieve a lost EID or UID by following some simple steps:

Online Retrieval

An Aadhaar cardholder has the option to visit the official UIDAI website for the retrieval of a lost or forgotten Aadhaar number. The following straightforward steps outline the process for retrieving UID/EID:

  • Step 1: Go to the UIDAI official website at and select 'Retrieve Lost or Forgotten EID/UID' under the 'My Aadhaar' tab.
  • Step 2: Choose whether you want to recover the EID or Aadhaar number.
  • Step 3: Provide your Full Name, Mobile Number/Email Address, and complete the Captcha Verification.
  • Step 4: Click on 'Send OTP' to receive a one-time password (OTP) on your registered mobile number.
  • Step 5: Enter the received OTP. Upon verification, the Aadhaar Number/Enrolment ID will be sent to your registered mobile number/email ID.

Retrieval Through mAadhaar App

To recover a lost UID/EID using the mAadhaar app, follow the steps outlined below:

  • Step 1: Log in to the mAadhaar app and choose 'Retrieve EID/UID.'
  • Step 2: Specify whether you wish to recover your Aadhaar number (UID) or Enrolment Number (EID).
  • Step 3: Provide your full name, mobile number/email ID, the 4-digit captcha code, and select the 'Request OTP' button.
  • Step 4: Input the OTP received on your registered mobile number to receive the Aadhaar Number/Enrolment ID after verification on your registered mobile number/email ID.

Offline Retrieval

Discover the straightforward process for retrieving your lost or forgotten Aadhaar UID/EID by personally visiting the nearest Permanent Enrolment Centre:

  • Step 1: Head to your closest Permanent Enrolment Centre or Aadhaar Seva Kendra.
  • Step 2: Provide the necessary demographic and biometric details.
  • Step 3: Following the verification of details from the UIDAI database, you can obtain your UID/EID. Additionally, you have the option to download your Aadhaar card and obtain a printout at the Aadhaar Seva Kendra, subject to a nominal fee of Rs. 30.

Aadhaar Reprint

You can order a reprint of your Aadhaar card if you have lost your Aadhaar. Just visit then, click “My Aadhaar,” choose” Order Aadhaar Reprint” from the dropdown, then fill in the required details, and it's done.

Virtual ID

Virtual ID is a temporary 16-digit no. aligned with your Aadhaar Card. It can be used in lieu of aadhaar whenever e-KYC is required. You can get your Virtual ID by surfing on >My Aadhaar> Aadhaar services>Generate VID> it's done.


e-KYC is a shareable document for verification, and any Aadhaar card holder can use it. To generate e-KYC, all you have to do is generate digitally signed UIDAI details of the user. This should contain mobile no., name, address, DOB, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q- Can a foreign citizen apply for and avail of an Aadhaar card?

Yes, a foreign citizen can avail of an Aadhaar card if he/she has lived in India for 182 days in a financial year. The Aadhaar card would, however, not serve as proof of citizenship for foreigners.

Q- What is the cost of Aadhaar card enrolment?

Aadhaar card enrolment is free of cost. No fee is charged to applicants applying for an Aadhaar card for the first time. However, if any update is made to the card, a fee of INR 50 would be applicable.

Q- Can a citizen of India apply for Aadhaar card when residing in a foreign country?

NRIs can apply for an Aadhaar card even when they live in foreign countries. However, to apply for the card, the NRI should be physically present in India to submit his biometric details.

Q- Is Aadhaar linking mandatory?

In many cases it has been made mandatory to link Aadhaar. The instances include mandatory linking of Aadhaar and PAN by the due date of30th June 2023

Q- When is a blue-colored Aadhaar card issued?

A blue-colored Aadhaar card is issued when the applicant is a minor child aged 0 to 5 years. Once the child attains 5 years, the Aadhaar card becomes invalid. The child would again have to apply for a new Aadhaar card similar to other Aadhaar cards issued by the UIDAI.

Q- How to update my address in my Aadhaar?

An applicant can get his address updated in his Aadhaar when he relocates to another place. The address can be updated as many times as the person changes his residence address. Here’s how to change the address in Aadhaar online:

  • Visit the Aadhaar Self-Service Update Portal on UIDAI’s website.
  • Enter your Aadhaar number and click on Send OTP
  • Enter the OTP and security code to proceed
  • Now select the address option for updating it
  • Enter your current residential address and confirm it
  • Now select the relevant proof of address
  • Select your BPO for authentication
  • Your request will be submitted, and an Update Request Number (URN) will be generated.

Q- How to Change/update Mobile Number in Aadhaar Card

There are instances where people lose their mobile number or deactivate it due to some reason or the other. In case you have switched to a new mobile number, you can get it updated in UIDAI’s database. Follow these simple steps to know how to link mobile number with Aadhaar card:

Step 1: Go to a nearby Aadhaar Enrolment Center

Step 2: Fill the Aadhaar Update/Correction Form

Step 3: Submit the form to the Aadhaar executive

Step 4: Pay a fee of Rs. 50 for the service

Step 5: You will be given an acknowledgement slip that contains the Update Request Number (URN). The URN can be used to check the status of your update request

Step 6: Your mobile number will be updated in Aadhaar’s database within 30 days

Q- What will happen if I don’t update my address?

If the address is not updated, then the details of your Aadhaar will not match with other IDs, and Aadhaar is the basic document. It can lead you to cost heavy.

Q- Can the mobile company store my biometrics taken during SIM verification and use them for other purposes later?

No one, including mobile phone companies, can store or use your biometrics taken during Aadhaar verification and linking. The biometrics are encrypted as soon as the Aadhaar holder places his finger on the fingerprint sensor, and this encrypted data is sent to UIDAI for verification. Aadhaar (Authentication) Regulations 2016, strictly prohibit any requesting entity which includes mobile phone companies, banks, etc from storing, sharing, or publishing the fingerprints for any reason whatsoever, and neither shall it retain any copy of such fingerprints. Any violation of this provision is a punishable offense under the Aadhaar Act 2016.

Q- What can I do if I don’t have any address proof accepted by UIDAI?

Yes, in the absence of any documentary Proof of Address (PoA) you can still update your current address in your Aadhaar with the help of an Address Verifier and by sending an online request for an Address Validation Letter. You can update the address where you are presently residing with the consent and authentication of the address verifier (a family member, relative, friend, landlord, etc.) willing to let you use their address as proof.

Q- How many days will it take for the address to get updated in Aadhaar?

It will take a maximum of 10-15 days to get the updated Aadhaar card. The Aadhaar letter with updates will be sent to your address when the update/correction in name, address, date of birth, and gender is processed. For an update of your mobile number, the notification for the update will be sent to the given mobile number.

Q- What documents can be submitted as address proof to get the address updated?

The following documents are accepted by the UIDAI as address proof for Aadhaar registration:

  • Passport.
  • Passbook or Bank Statement.
  • Account statement or passbook of the Post Office.
  • Ration Card.
  • Voter Identification card.
  • Driving license of the applicant.
  • Photo identification cards issued by the Government.
  • PSU issued a Service photo ID card with the address.
  • Previous 3 months’ electricity bill.
  • Water bill as long as it is not more than 3 months old.
  • The previous three months' landline bill was related to the telephone.
  • Receipt showing the Property Tax of the last 3 months.
  • Last three months’ Credit Card statement.Insurance policy.
  • Photo and a letter with an address signed by the bank on letterhead.
  • Signed letter with address and photo on the letterhead of the company issued by the registered office.
  • Photo and signed letter with address issued by a well-known educational enterprise on their letterhead.
  • Job card of NREGA.
  • Arms licence.
  • Pensioner card.
  • Freedom fighter card.
  • Kisan passbook.
  • CGHS card.
  • ECHS card.
  • Address certificate along with a photo on their letterhead that is issued either by an MP, MLA, Gazetted Officer, or Tehsildar.Address Certificate issued by the Village Panchayat head or any authority equivalent to them for rural areas.
  • Assessment order of the Income Tax.
  • Registration certificate of the vehicle.
  • Registered agreement for sale, lease, or rent of the applicant’s residential address.
  • Photo and address card by the Department of Posts.
  • Caste and Domicile certificate along with a photo that the State Government has issued.
  • Previous 3 month’s bill of gas connection.
  • Either a handicapped medical certificate or a disability Identification card that is issued by either a State Government, UT Government, or any Administrations Spouse’s or partner’s passport.
  • For minors, parents’ passport is required.

Q- The UIDAI has all my data, including biometrics, bank account, PAN, etc. Will it be used to track my activities

False. UIDAI database has only the following information -

  • Your name, address, DOB, gender, date of birth
  • Ten fingerprints, two IRIS scans, a facial photograph
  • mobile number and email ID.

Rest assured, UIDAI does not have your information about family, caste, religion, education, bank accounts, shares, mutual funds, financial and property details, health records, etc., and will never have this information in its database. Aadhaar Act 2016 specifically prohibits UIDAI from controlling, collecting, keeping, or maintaining any information about the purpose of authentication either by itself or through any entity.

Q- Why am I being asked to link all my bank accounts with Aadhaar?

The government has made it mandatory for financial institutions, including banks, to verify and link the Aadhaar of their customers with their accounts. After the Supreme Court's order, the deadline to link Aadhaar with bank accounts and other services has been extended indefinitely till it gives a final verdict.

CA Abhishek Soni
CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.