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EC wants biometrics on passports

And residence permits, and visas

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The European Commission today outlined how a coherent, pan-European approach to security will mean that all citizens will need two biometric identifiers in their passports.

Current rules mean that only one, a photograph, is compulsory, but the new proposal makes fingerprints’ inclusion mandatory. It also leaves scope for governments to require further identifiers, such as iris scans, should they deem it necessary.

The proposal is yet to be passed by the European parliament. However, with the US now requiring biometrics from tourists and other visitors, and the UK’s decision that passports issued after 2007 must contain a chip with biometric and other data, it seems unlikely that the recommendation will go unheeded.

The regulation will provide only the legal basis for biometric data to be included on passports. If passed, implementation of the law and processing of biometric data will be left to the 25 member states individually.

The proposal also applies to residence permits and visas for third country nationals. ®

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