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Germany to mandate biometric photos for documents

Germany to mandate biometric photos for documents

Starting in May 2025, German authorities will accept only biometric photographs for official documents, including IDs, passports and immigration documents.

The timeline of the introduction of biometric photos was first announced in October 2023. The move comes after a successful 2023 pilot to enhance document security, according to EU Reporter.

The German Ministry of Interior says that biometric photos will speed up the identification of document holders.

“Citizens should be spared inconveniences, especially during border controls,” the Ministry says. “The capture of biometric data and the unequivocal identification of the applicant are therefore a central part of applying for an identification document from the local authorities.”

The biometric photos will also fight against photo manipulations such as morphing, the process of blending the images of two faces, German media reports.

The first case of facial morphing was discovered by the German Federal Police in 2013 when an individual presented a British e-passport containing a morphed photo combining the facial features of both the original passport owner’s photo and the individual presenting the forged document. To counteract this, from May 1, 2025, biometric photographs will be created digitally and sent to the Citizens’ Registration Office or the Immigration Office using a secure connection.

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