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17 December 2019, 11:30

Belarus may introduce biometric passports in 2021

A new biometric passport and a currently-valid passport
A new biometric passport and a currently-valid passport

MINSK, 17 December (BelTA) – Belarus may introduce biometric passports in 2021, head of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry Aleksei Begun said in an interview with the Na Strazhe (On Guard) newspaper, BelTA has learned.

This year, the department, together with the citizenship and migration units, has continued to gear up for embracing biometric technologies in national documents. “Much has been done to improve legislation and draft a decree on ID cards and biometric passports. We also continued cooperation with the Communications and Informatization Ministry to make the ID card a fully-fledged identity document,” Aleksei Begun said.

The project took longer than expected. The developer still needs time to fine-tune the mechanisms related to the digital signature and access to the International Civil Aviation Organization Public Key Directory. The launch of the campaign, scheduled for 1 January 2020, has been postponed for a year. We will have time to prepare the premises in the territorial units, install the latest hardware and software systems, test them and train employees,” said Aleksei Begun.

As BelTA reported, the ID card will replace some functions of today's passport and will be the only identity document. The new biometric passport will be a document for traveling abroad only. The new biometric documents will replace the entire line of documents in use in Belarus. These are service and diplomatic passports, documents of refugees and stateless persons. Apart from the citizens of Belarus, ID cards will be issued to foreigners and stateless persons permanently residing in the country.

New passports and ID cards will be issued from the age of 14. The card can also be issued at the request of the legal representatives of the minors from the moment of their birth. The ID card will be linked to the registration, while the passport will not contain such information. In other words, there will be no more stamps of registration in passports. The data will be kept in the electronic form on the card. No stamps, except for visas, are envisaged in new passports.

The ID card will cost one base amount, while the passport - three base amounts. The biometric passport will be optional. Citizens will be able to use the old document with the ID card. The electronic chip of the new passport will contain personal data of the citizen, which is a photo, an electronic signature and fingerprints. This will facilitate the crossing of the border, simplify certain mechanisms for obtaining visas and increase the degree of protection of the passport of a Belarusian citizen.

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