Digitalisation of identity documents and residence permits issued to third-country nationals


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This EMN Inform offers an examination of practices, challenges and advantages regarding the adoption and use of digital-only identity documents and residence permits for third country nationals across EMN Member States, Georgia and Ukraine.

The majority of EMN Member and Observer Countries, including Ireland, currently issue physical residence permits and identity documents. Three EMN Member States (Italy, Lithuania and Poland) issue digital-only residence permits and identity documents. Some Member States and Observer Countries such as Germany and Finland are currently exploring digital alternatives.

Motivations behind countries adopting digital-only documents included high numbers of arrivals and applications for residence following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which prompted a shift to digital solutions. Countries reporting digitialisation noted benefits such as resource savings and streamlined procedures.

However, the Inform also highlights concerns surrounding the use of digital-only documents such as the potential for fraud and the need for interoperability during border procedures. Also reported was the need to ensure that vulnerable populations or those that are less digitally adept are not left behind and the need for fallback solutions and common EU standards should digital-only documents become widely adopted.

Author(s):European Migration Network
Publisher:Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission
Publication Date:21 Mar 2024
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