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Bundestag approves new requirements for German identity card

On Thursday, 5 November 2020, the Bundestag voted in favour of the Federal Government’s draft law “to strengthen security in passports, identity cards and documents relating to foreigners”.

New identity cards will mandatorily contain two fingerprints from August next year. With this Bundestag resolution, Germany is implementing European law.

According to the draft law, new requirements will also apply to passport photos – but only from May 2025. The passport photo must be produced exclusively in digital form and sent to the passport authorities (Bürgeramt or Einwohnermeldeamt) by secure transmission. The transmission procedure will also include an examination of the passport’s biometric suitability. Printed photo from the vending machine or from the photographer can no longer be submitted to the passport office by the holder.

These new measures should make the ID card more forgery-proof, the government says.

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In addition, children’s passports will remain valid for only one year instead of the usual six years, but with the possibility of renewing them for one year at a time. Biometric passports, on the other hand, will remain valid for six years.

Moreover, people who do not assign themselves any gender will be able to have an “X” entered in their passport instead of “M” for men or “F” for women. This innovation should come into force sooner. If the Bundesrat agrees and the Federal President signs the law, this could happen this year.

Felix Dappah

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