Representatives for the EU Presidency and the European Parliament have reached an agreement on boosting the security of EU identity cards and residency documents.
The informal agreement, designed to curtail identity fraud across the bloc, introduces minimum standards for security features of identity documents and sets out guidelines for the information they must contain. While the EU has common security standards in place governing the makeup of passports, visas and residency documents for non-EU nationals living or working ion Member States, no such standards currently exist for national ID cards and residency documents belonging to EU citizens and their families.
Under the agreed provisional measures, which are to be presented to Member States’ ambassadors for confirmation, identity cards must adhere to a uniform credit card-style format; with a machine-readable zone, a contactless chip, a photograph of the card holder and two fingerprints. They must also include the country code of the Member State in which they are issued.
ID cards already in circulation which do not meet the new standards will become fully invalid either 10 years after the date of application or at their stated expiry date, whichever is earlier. Cards held by citizens over the age of 70 will remain valid until their expiry as long as they meet the minimum security standards.
Romanian Minister of Internal Affairs Carmen Daniela Dan said: “Security throughout the EU can only be achieved by ensuring security in each member state. The new rules on security standards for ID documents will allow us to more easily detect document fraud and identity theft, making it harder for terrorists and criminals to act, while facilitating free movement of genuine travellers.”
The proposal, which will enter into force two years after it is formally adopted, does not require Member States to introduce ID cards if they are not already required under national legislation.