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Secure Transactions News

Biometric passports made mandatory in the EU

Thursday 22 January 2009

The new rules state that all EU countries, as well as in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, should start issuing passports containing biometric elements, such as facial images and fingerprints, as of June 29, 2009. Some EU states, Germany, France and the Netherlands, have already started issuing the new passports.

States have until 2012 to fully implement the rules and current passports will remain valid for traveling for most countries until then. The new legislation also introduces the so-called "one person, one passport" principle, aiming particularly at combating the traffic of children by introducing passports for them. Up until now, parents' passports often covered their children as well. Children younger than 12, as well as people with certain disabilities making them unable to give finger prints, will benefit from an exemption from the rule, as pilot projects in some countries found the fingerprints of young children not to be sufficiently reliable, because they change as the child grows older.