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Germany

Germany planning digital ID card for foreigners

Germany is planning to introduce a digital identification card for foreigners in a move to combat illegal immigration. The ID card is only for non-EU citizens living in Germany, according to a newspaper report.

A fingerprint

Not from Germany or the EU? Fingerprint please!

Non-EU citizens living in Germany - including Turks, Americans and Swiss - who do not possess a German passport may soon be forced to issue their fingerprints to German authorities, according to a newspaper report published on Saturday.

German daily Die Welt reported that, beginning next year, all foreigners in Germany from outside the European Union would be required to carry a digital identification card.

The credit-card-sized document is planned to contain the person's digitized finger prints and photograph and be valid for a maximum of ten years.

'Effective means' to fighting illegal immigration

Die Welt quotes sources from the interior ministry saying the ID card will be a "means to combating and preventing illegal immigration" as authorities will be able to "determine the identity of persons without having to refer to any databases."

Another security advantage offered by the electronic residence permit, says security expert Hans-Peter Uhl, will be the ability to determine the "true identity of illegal immigrants caught applying for asylum with falsified documents."

“It will give us reliable data on whether immigrants are registered twice, or even three times, and also how many foreigners enter and leave our country," Uhl told Die Welt.

The digital identification card will be tested this year and is planned to be introduced at some point during 2011.

At present, an estimated four million non-EU citizens in Germany will require the new document. Turks and American account for the highest portion of that number.

Author: Gabriel Borrud (apn/dpa)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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