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28 May 2020, 19:23

Plans to introduce biometric passports in Belarus in 2021 still in place

MINSK, 28 May (BelTA) – Belarus still intends to introduce ID cards and biometric passports in 2021, BelTA learned from Aleksei Begun, Head of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry, on 28 May.

The official noted that measures specified by the roadmap on introducing biometric documents proceed on schedule. “Let's hope that our partners from other countries will arrive in Belarus in time to tune the software and equipment so that we could start issuing biometric documents in January,” he said.

Specialists from Latvia and China were supposed to arrive in Belarus in May, but the visit was delayed due to border closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “The arrival was delayed a bit, by a month. No matter. We've received all the equipment. Online consultations are arranged to assemble it. We are tuning some software,” Aleksei Begun said.

Biometric documents are highly reliable, this is why the Internal Affairs Ministry is convinced they will be popular with Belarusians. “We are creating the infrastructure and are getting ready to issue them in bulk,” the official added.

BelTA reported earlier that ID cards will be used in lieu of conventional passports and will be the only personal identity document. The new biometric passports will be used for foreign travels only. The new biometric documents will replace the entire lineup of documents used in Belarus at present. Those are service passports and diplomatic passports, travel documents for refugees and travel documents for stateless persons. ID cards will be issued to Belarusian citizens as well as to foreigners and stateless persons, who constantly live in the country.

Passports and ID cards will be issued in a mandatory manner at the age of 14. ID cards will be issued for underage kids upon requests of their legal representatives. ID cards will specify the place of residence while passports will not. The new passports will not have any stamps except for visas.

An ID card will cost one base amount (Br27 at present). A biometric passport will cost three base amounts. Getting a biometric passport will not be mandatory. Citizens will be used to use old documents together with ID cards. The chip of the new passport will contain personal data of the citizen, in particular, a photo, a digital signature, and fingerprints. The data is supposed to facilitate border crossing, simplify certain procedures involved in visa acquisition, and make Belarusian passports more secure.

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