Austria Starts Issuing New Fingerprint Passports
Starting today (March 30, 2009) all Austrian citizens receiving new passports will get a new, more sophisticated version with a chip that stores personal information and fingerprints. The new passport will take as much time to make as a regular one, and all children 12 years of age and older have to get one. Officials believe the new chip-equipped passport will ensure better ID protection for its holders.
The new version of Austrian passports with chips storing cardholder information including fingerprints will officially come into use on March 30.
The validity of the new passports will be ten years with the fee of 69.9 euros unchanged and five-working-day issuing time. The issuing process remains the same with the ordinary passports before. According to regulations, Austrians over 12 years old should hold such passports.
When applying for the new passports, Austrians need to provide both index fingerprints, which then will be stored into the chips together with other related personal information. Austrians will need to apply for the new fingerprint passports only when their current passports expire, but no old version will be issued any more.
Austria's Interior Ministry explained that adopting the fingerprint complies with relevant regulations of the European Union. The new version can effectively prevent passport forgery, significantly enhancing the security and credibility of personal identity.
The Interior Ministry also said that the fingerprints collection will adopt a specialized working process, and the fingerprints collected will be destroyed automatically after two months, which can effectively prevent the information of the citizens' fingerprints from being misused.