The concept of issuing national Identity cards and Registration of persons came into being as a result of the agreement signed between India & Sri Lanka in 1954. Mrs.Sirimawo R.D.Bandaranayake’s government came into power in 1961 in looked into this matter and made the necessary legal provisions. But relevant Bill could not be passed during her government. Thereafter the same bill was presented to the Parliament by Sir. Dudley Senanayake in 1968. This Bill was passed as the Act of Registration of Persons 32 of 1968. In order to implement provision of act Department of Registration was established at Colombo 05 on keppetipola Mawatha in the present department Premises.
The Role of the Registration of Persons Department was registration and issuing of NICs Persons over 18 Years Citizens. Thus, issue of NICs commenced in 1972 and the First ever Identity card was issued to the then Hon. Prime Minister Mrs. Sirimawo Bandaranayake on 16th of October 1972.
This act has been amended by act Nos.28, 37 of 1971 & No.11 of 1981.In accordance with amendments made by 11th of 1981, eligibility of age limit was reduced to 16 years. Up to now, more than 24 million identity cards have been issued since its beginning.
At the beginning Black & white Photographers were used for NICs & From 1st of June 2005'coloured photos began to be used. Instead of hand written IDs issue of computerized IDS for the first time Applicants for those after 1st of January 1991 & Complete the age of 16 years began on 16th of December 2008.