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11/30/2012
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Ukraine Approves Biometric IDs

IDs will comply with the standards recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization

KYIV, Ukraine, November 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Ukraine approved the introduction of electronic IDs and creation of the state demographic register in the country. The relevant law, signed today by President Yanukovych, will take effect on January 1st, 2013. It stipulates the introduction of the documents for traveling abroad that have a built-in proximity chip with registry information on the holder. The IDs will comply with the standards recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

It will take 30 days to produce such an ID, which will hold information about name, sex, citizenship, birth date and place of residence of a person, their photo, signature, and additional biometric data, as well as issue and expiration dates. The law clarifies that digitalized signature and photograph of a person's face constitute main biometric data, while digitalized fingerprints are additional biometric data.

Interestingly, two years ago India made news by introducing nationwide biometric ID system. The documents in India feature photographs, fingerprints, and iris scans, informs bbc.co.uk. Some of the European countries that use biometric IDs include Belgium, Germany, Norway, and Sweden. French parliament passed a biometric ID bill in March 2012.

Reportedly, the new document standard in Ukraine will help eliminate ID fraud, contributing to border security between Ukraine and the EU. The Eastern European country pursues visa liberalization with the EU and is currently at stage one of the two-step Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation. The plan requires Ukraine to increase document security, including the introduction of biometric IDs. Additionally, Ukraine has to provide better cross-border migration control, ensure public order and fundamental rights of the people on its territory.

Working toward the goal of visa free regime, in 2010, Ukraine adopted the strategy of integrated border management. Same year the State Migration Service was created. It is responsible for managing citizenship, immigration, registration, and asylum issues. Another development following the Action Plan is reforming border control system in Ukraine. The country has been increasing border protection efficiency - through agreements with neighboring Belarus and Russia regarding common borders.

Progressing in simplifying visa regime, in July 2012, the EU and Ukraine extended the list of categories of Ukrainian citizens who undergo the simplified visa procedure while travelling to the EU.

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