Elan Entries

The Elan Awards presentation will take place in November. Check back soon for more information.

Card Manufacturer Judging Criteria

Cards submitted by card manufacturers will be judged on graphical design, printing, complexity, technology, innovation, uniqueness, practicality and security (if applicable).

PLEASE NOTE – NEW IN 2021: There is a new Feature Cards category to include Biometric, Environmentally Friendly and Metal Cards from any of the non-secure or secure card categories. There will be an award winner for each Feature Cards segment – Biometric, Environmentally Friendly and Metal Cards.

Personalization, Fulfillment and Supplier Judging Criteria

Entrants will be judged on the application of science, engineering, knowledge, tools and methods used in the development and creation of a new product, service or innovation.

2021 Entry Rules

  • Entries are due by September 1, 2021.
  • ICMA reserves the right to re-categorize entries and review submissions to ensure they meet eligibility requirements.
  • The same card can be entered into multiple categories, however each entry is considered a separate stand-alone entry.
  • Eligible cards and Personalization & Fulfillment products must have been manufactured and issued after March 6, 2020 and before June 30, 2021. Issued cards are branded and being utilized in the marketplace. Only cards and Personalization & Fulfillment products that are manufactured for an issuer customer and issued into the marketplace are eligible (i.e. cards or Personalization & Fulfillment products used as product samples or prototypes are not eligible). However, If you have manufactured and issued a card that showcases new and unique designs and/or capabilities but cannot enter it with customer identification or branding due to their restrictions, it may be entered into the appropriate category and identified as a concept card.
  • Entrants must be current 2021 ICMA members.
  • Eligible cards must have been manufactured by the entrant and eligible Personalization & Fulfillment services performed by the entrant. It is the responsibility of the entrant to obtain all necessary permissions to participate.
  • There is an entry fee of $125 (USD) per entry.
  • All cards and Personalization & Fulfillment products become the property of ICMA unless security rules require them to be returned to the entrant. If so, please write on the back of the entry “return to entrant” and include a self addressed envelope for return. Note that card manufacturers and Personalization & Fulfillment service providers are responsible for return shipping costs.
  • Customer/issuer authorization for submitting the cards is the responsibility of the ICMA member entrant. Please use the sample letter below and type it onto your own letterhead with the card-specific information to obtain any necessary customer approval. ICMA is not responsible for any action relating to any unauthorized duplication, copyright infringement, etc. that may arise from the award contest.

Entry Instructions

All entries must be filled out and payments submitted via this online form.

Step one: Fill out the necessary information on the Entry Form for each individual entry and make payment. Entries for multiple cards can be done in one step.

Step two: Prepare your cards and Personalization & Fulfillment products to ship and arrive at ICMA by the September 1, 2021 deadline.

Once you have filled out the online form, each entry will be assigned an Entry ID number by ICMA Headquarters, which will be e-mailed to you. Please allow 12-24 hours for the entry number due to time zone differences. This number should be clearly labeled on the back of each card being sent in. Please do not use clear labels. Cards that are not labeled will be disqualified.

For each card entry, submit three identical cards or Personalization & Fulfillment products, with the three cards or P&F products per entry in their own individual plastic sleeve.
Send to ICMA Élan Awards, 191 Clarksville Road, Princeton Junction, NJ 08550 USA.

Include with the cards or Personalization & Fulfillment products, on company letterhead, a list of the cards or Personalization & Fulfillment products being entered using the following format:

  • Card/Personalization & Fulfillment Name / Customer / Entry number assigned by ICMA
  • Card/Personalization & Fulfillment Name / Customer / Entry number assigned by ICMA
  • Card/Personalization & Fulfillment Name / Customer / Entry number assigned by ICMA


Credit card payments via the online Entry Form are preferred. If you must submit payment by wire transfer, please contact ICMA Headquarters at info@icma.com. A $50 processing fee will be added for paying by bank wire. If payments are not received by September 8, 2021, your entry will be disqualified.

Entry form and cards must be received at the ICMA office by September 1, 2021.

Sample Letter To Issuers

Dear (Customer),

Each year, the International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA) hosts the Élan Awards for Card Manufacturing Excellence. These prestigious global awards represent the pinnacle of card manufacturing achievement in seven different areas, and will be presented at an awards dinner at the Annual ICMA EXPO on Tuesday night, November 9 in Orlando, Florida.

I am requesting that you authorize us to enter your card (insert name of card here) in the (insert award category here) category.

What are the benefits to entering the Élan Awards?

  • Both the issuer and the manufacturer of each winning card receive their own engraved award for permanent display to showcase your achievement of excellence
  • The finalists also receive personalized awards suitable for display
  • All winners and finalists receive substantial worldwide publicity through various industry media outlets
  • Article in ICMA’s official publications, Card Manufacturing and Inside ICMA, the ICMA weekly InBrief e-newsletter, and the ICMA website (www.icma.com).

Please sign the letter below authorizing me to enter your card, and mail or fax it back to me at (insert fax number here).

If you need further information, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you.

Best regards,
(Your name)

I authorize the entry of my card in the 2021 ICMA Élan Awards.



Print Name