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Cards

EU to purchase biometrics on national ID cards

Tuesday 5 March 2019 | 11:44 AM CET

The EU Council Presidency and European Parliament have informally agreed on the introduction of mandatory biometric national identity cards.

These national ID cards will include a photo and two fingerprints. Moreover, the regulation applies new standards to identity cards for EU citizens and residence documents of EU citizens and their non-EU family members. Also, the EU ambassadors will review it for confirmation on behalf of the Council. This means that EU members will stop issuing old ID cards two years after the rules are adopted. Old cards will become invalid after 10 years, however some exceptions are made for elderly citizens.

Cards will have to be made in a uniform ID-1 format, with a machine-readable zone, following ICAO minimum security standards, a contactless chip, and the issuing member state’s country code. When the biometric ID card idea was discussed, the European Commission estimated that 80 million Europeans had ID cards without biometric data.

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