Ukraine issues 14 million biometric passports, Belarus announces plan for 2021
More than 14 million biometric passports have been issued in Ukraine so far, according to Ukrinform.
Head of the State Migration Service of Ukraine Maksym Sokoliuk said in an interview that one person is allowed to have two passports for traveling abroad, because there are not enough pages for some travelers, and 2015 biometric passports issued to children have already expired. Based on this claim, Sokoliuk believes the number of biometric passport holders is 25 percent lower than the number of passports issued.
Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service reported in June that 42.6 million trips had been made to EU countries as a result of the liberalized regime between Ukraine and EU from 2017, which allows Ukrainians to travel to EU member states other than Ireland (and the UK for now) without a visa for up to 90 days during any 180-day period.
In 2018, Ukraine reported issuing more than three million biometric passports and about 725,000 ID cards during the year. Earlier this month, the Cabinet of Ukraine launched a pilot project to introduce a national digital ID system for online identity verification.
Belarus is also looking at introducing biometric passports and national IDs in 2021, said in an interview the head of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry Aleksei Begun, reports BelTA.
“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,” Begun said.
Initially scheduled for January 1, 2020, the project was postponed as technical details related to the digital signature and access to the International Civil Aviation Organization Public Key Directory still had to be adjusted.
ID cards will be the only form of ID and will replace all other documents issued, while the biometric passport will be optional and only for travel abroad. Residents will also receive ID cards, which will be issued from the age of 14. Data will be kept electronically on the card and only visas will appear in the passport. The passport will include a chip with personal data including a photo, an electronic signature and fingerprints for seamless travel and enhanced passport protection.