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Germany introducing biometric photo standard requirement for ID documents

Germany introducing biometric photo standard requirement for ID documents

Germany has announced that its citizens will be required to submit photographs in line with biometrics standards to obtain identification documents starting in May 2025.

The move is intended to increase convenience for German citizens, especially while crossing the border. The new procedure will also lower the risks of fraud and the misuse of identity documents. The photos will have to meet the international requirements for biometric matching as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said the government in an announcement.

In September, the country also announced it is doing away with paper passports for children, replacing them with cards with electronic chips containing biometric data. The new documents are due to be introduced at the beginning of next year.

Previous attempts to introduce biometrics into identity documents have sparked some resistance in Germany, including a lawsuit that has reached the EU’s top court.

Since 2021, German ID cards are required to carry biometric fingerprint data, in line with European Union’s regulations. But after a German citizen refused to hand over fingerprint data, his case was brought by campaign group Digitalcourage to the European Court of Justice.

The court is currently deciding whether the obligation to take fingerprint biometrics and store them in ID cards is in accordance with other EU laws, including the bloc’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and its data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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