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25 January 2021, 13:01

Lukashenko approves introduction of biometric passports, urges to finalize some aspects

MINSK, 25 January (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has generally approved the introduction of biometric passports, but urged to analyze and finalize certain aspects. It was made known after the meeting hosted by the head of state on 25 January, BelTA has learned.

The date when the issue of such documents will begin has not been determined yet. It will be specified in a draft decree which will be submitted to the president after the analysis of all nuances.

“The Interior Ministry's system is prepared to launch the issue of biometric documents. However, the president raised additional questions, and we need to focus on them. These include the protection of personal data – number one issue on the agenda. The level of protection of the personal data is rather high as far as the documents we are planning to introduce are concerned,” Interior Minister Ivan Kubrakov said after the meeting. “As for the terms of introduction, they will be determined additionally depending on the volume [of necessary adjustments] and after a coordination meeting with interested bodies. The date of issue of biometric documents will be additionally specified in the decree.”

According to the interior minister, primary attention was drawn to the convenience of getting and using biometric documents for the population. Ivan Kubrakov explained that even after the launch of the issue of new documents old passports of citizens will be valid for the entire period of validity.

Moreover, it was also proposed to slightly amend the system to make it possible for people use one and the same document domestically and for foreign travel. “Taking into account the agreement of other countries, we are mulling over the possibility to use either an ID card or one document domestically and for foreign travel,” the minister explained.

Previously, representatives of the Interior Ministry informed that the ID card is a small plastic card featuring a photo and personal data of the holder. Visual information is similar to that featured in a passport – the individual's name, last name and patronymic, date of birth, citizenship, gender, number, type and validity date of the document, the card holder's signature. The other information (for example, the place of registration, information about children, marriage) is tied to the document virtually. The data can be read out with the help of a special terminal. People with an ID card will automatically obtain an electronic digital signature with a ten-year period of validity and an online personal account. The individual will have to activate the account using the ID card. This online service will provide the account history.

Using the ID card, an individual will have access to all online procedures.

An ID card is a domestic identity document. For foreign travel individuals will have to additionally obtain a biometric passport. This is a traditional passport that has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip which contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder.

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