Increased homeland security concerns across the world have generated a strong demand for forgery-proof ID documents. Manufacturers currently employ a variety of high technology techniques to produce documents that are difficult to copy. However, production costs and lead times are still a concern when considering any possible manufacturing technology. Laser marking has already emerged as an important tool in the manufacturer's arsenal, and is currently being utilized to produce a variety of documents, such as plastic ID cards, drivers' licenses, health insurance cards and passports. The marks utilized can range from simple barcodes and text to high resolution, true grayscale images. The technical challenges posed by these marking tasks include delivering adequate mark legibility, minimizing substrate burning or charring, accurately reproducing grayscale data, and supporting the required process throughput. This article covers the advantages and basic requirements on laser marking of cards and reviews how laser output parameters affect marking quality, speed and overall process economics.