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Israel moves to biometric passports, ID cards exclusively

After several extensions of the pilot phase, Israel moved to biometric passports and ID cards exclusively beginning June 1, according to a report by The Jerusalem Post.

The government launched the biometric database’s pilot phase in July 2013, which was supposed to conclude after two years. However, the pilot was extended three times until the Knesset passed the biometric database law earlier this year.

Previously, citizens had the option of selecting either a biometrics-based or regular ID card or passport.

Now all residents will be photographed digitally when they apply for either the ID card or passport, and will have the option to submit their fingerprints to the national database and receive a 10-year passport, or decline and receive a 5-year passport. All applicants over 16 are interviewed as well as part of the process to validate one’s identification.

The database will not include fingerprints of any children under the age of 16. Police and security authorities will have access to the database under certain conditions.

The ID card is a compulsory identity document for Israelis 16 and older. According to the Identity Card Carrying and Displaying Act of 1982: “Any resident sixteen years of age or older must at all times carry an Identity card, and present it upon demand to a senior police officer, head of Municipal or Regional Authority, or a policeman or member of the Armed forces on duty.”

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