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Russia to introduce biometric ID cards in 2015


Russia will begin issuing electronic ID cards in 2015 to replace existing internal passports, which will include biometric data of the card holder.

Headed by the Russian Federation Migration Service, the new cards will be introduced specifically on January 1, 2015, though there will be a ten-year transition period to phase out old documents and passports.

According to a report in Interfax, the new identity card will be issued to all Russian citizens over the age of 14 and will be valid for a period of ten years.

Outlined in the drafted bill,  the new card will reliably identify citizens and will also reduce the opportunities for fraud and corruption.  It is not clear as of yet which biometric modalities will be included in these new cards, but it’s assumed the card will carry fingerprint biometrics as well as a digital photograph, much like many national ID programs in effect today.

Reported previously in BIometricUpdate.com, Leto-bank, a subsidiary of Russia’s VTB, stated that it plans to deploy ATMs equipped with fingerprint scanners to authenticate its customers.

Also, in 2012, Russia received an official note from Saudi Arabian officials saying that visas will no longer be issued without fingerprinting for the 2013 Hajj pilgrimage, as many travel from Russia for the annual religious event.

Biometric national identity systems are being deployed rapidly around the world, including in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria and the UAE, among others.

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