Last week, the government of the Buddhist-majority nation announced that the temporary identification, known as white cards, would be revoked on May 31.
The people who hold them are mostly Rohingya, a much resented minority in Myanmar, where many people consider them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
In Thae Chaung, a squalid fishing village in western Myanmar that has become a settlement for thousands of Rohingya, the decision was still to fully sink in, but was being met with a mixture of defiance, mistrust and resignation.
"If the government wants to take my white card, what can I do?" said Minara, 23, a housewife who gave only one name. "I'll just have to give it to them."
Mohammad Ayub, 28, said he would only surrender his white card if granted the same citizenship rights enjoyed by "all other ethnic minorities." He doubted this would ever happen.
"I don't trust the government," said Ayub, who like many men in Thae Chaung is jobless.
The village is a 15-minute drive from Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state, where most of the country's Rohingya live.
Violence between Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in 2012 killed at least 200 people and made 140,000 homeless, mostly Rohingya.
Experts warned the hostility to the government plan could result in renewed violence.
"It is unlikely that white card holders in displacement camps will give these up voluntarily when it is not clear whether they will get any form of ID in return," said Richard Horsey, a Yangon-based independent political analyst.
"Any attempts to enforce the order to surrender the cards could spark violence," he said.
As well as the right to vote, white cards also entitle Rohingya to health and education services, but with certain restraints: their movements are severely restricted, and white card holders are barred from civil service jobs and some degree courses.
It also represents the link to political life for Myanmar's minorities.
The country's parliament voted earlier in the month to grant white card holders the vote in a possible constitutional referendum, paving the way for their participation in a general election later this year.
But Buddhists protested against the plan in Yangon, the biggest city in Myanmar, arguing many of the white-card holders were illegal aliens. Shortly after the protest, the government announced it would revoke the white cards.
Another 400,000 people outside of Rakhine State, mostly of Chinese and Indian descent, also hold white cards.
The government said on Feb. 11 the cards will be revoked in a "fair and transparent manner" by local officials, but didn't explain what would replace them.
A pilot project to verify the citizenship of Rohingya and other Muslims has foundered on Rakhine objections and the government's insistence that Rohingya identify themselves as "Bengali."