Fingerprints to be introduced to residence permits early next year

Finland will introduce biometric residence permit cards at the beginning of 2012. They will replace the residence permit stickers for travel documents.
The amendments to the Aliens Act will enter into force on 1 January 2012, when the granting of biometric residence permit cards will begin. Because of technical delays in the introduction of fingerprint scanning, fingerprints will be stored on card chips gradually. If technical problems prevent the scanning of a residence permit applicant’s fingerprints, the fact will be recorded on the residence permit card chip.


In practice the reform means that all residence permit applicants and asylum seekers who are older than 6 years will have prints taken of all their fingers to be recorded in the Register of Aliens. Fingerprints will be taken again when applying for permit extensions and permanent residence permits, and a new card will be issued each time.
Biometric identifiers stored on the residence permit card chip include a facial image and two fingerprints. The residence permit card is not an official identity card.
Recording biometric identifiers on the residence permit will help to prevent malpractice by creating a more reliable connection between the residence permit holder and the permit itself. The changes are based on an EU Regulation issued in 2008.

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