MINSK, 3 November (BelTA) – About 30,000 biometric passports and ID cards have been issued in Belarus over the course of two months, BelTA learned from an interview with Head of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry, Police Colonel Aleksei Begun. The interview is published on the ministry's website.
According to the source, about 30,000 biometric passports and ID cards have been issued to Belarusian citizens and foreigners, who permanently live in Belarus, in the two months since these documents became available. About 3,000 people apply for such documents every week. Minsk residents most actively seek these documents.
The number of people seeking to get biometric passports and ID cards is expected to rise significantly after COVID-related travel restrictions are lifted in many countries. The Internal Affairs Ministry is ready for the surge. The work is already organized in a way to avoid queues and complete all the procedures promptly and comfortably for the people, Aleksei Begun said.
The official stressed that getting biometric documents to replace old conventional ones is not mandatory. Old passports can be used in Belarus and abroad until their expiry date.
If an old passport expires, Belarus citizens can apply for a conventional passport or biometric documents. Citizens will not be able to keep old passports and use ID cards or have a mixture of old and new passports. Once a citizen opts for biometric documents, there is no return to conventional ones.
By the way, the choice is available only to citizens of Belarus. Foreign citizens and stateless persons, who permanently live in Belarus, can get only biometric residence permits or travel documents of the Republic of Belarus.
Biometric personal identification documents have been introduced in many countries. They became available in Belarus in September 2021.