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Inclusion of Biometric Data into Foreign National Residence Cards

The Ministry of the Interior informs that from 1st May 2011 inclusion of biometric data in residence cards for foreign nationals of third countries should have been introduced.  

Due to technical problems in the newly configured biometric data capture system, unfortunately only residence cards under Section 117g of the Foreign National Residence Act shall be issued with effect as of 1st May 2011 without biometric data, with validity of six months in the form of a label glued into the foreign national’s passport. Travel to other countries in the Schengen Area will not be affected in any way thereby.  
The Ministry of the Interior apologises for any resulting complications. Foreign nationals shall be informed of the new measures in the form of an information leaflet on receipt of their card. This information leaflet shall be translated into English, Russian, Vietnamese, Ukrainian and Mongolian.  
The Ministry of the Interior also announces that, by an amendment to the Administrative Fees Act, the fee for issuing a residence card has been increased to CZK 2,500 (adult) and CZK 1,000 (children below the age of 15). Also the fees for issuing a new card in the event of loss, damage, destruction or theft have been changed. In view of the necessity of issuing residence cards for period limited to six months, the card subsequently issued, by which time it will contain biometric data, shall be issued to foreign nationals free of charge.    
The obligation of a residence card containing biometric identifiers applies only to citizens of third countries with permission for long-term or permanent residence, or foreign nationals who have been granted some form of international protection – biometric data do not apply to EU citizens or to their family members nor do they for the time being apply to citizens of third countries staying in the Czech Republic on a visa.   
Capturing biometric data helps certify the authenticity of the residence card and identification of its holder during his/her residence in this country. In view of the necessity of capturing the foreign national’s biometric data on presentation of the decision on permission of residence and subsequent necessity of verifying them and checking that the biometric data carrier is functional on picking up the residence card itself it is necessary that the foreign national comes inperson. The biometric data cannot be captured when submitting an application.
Biometric data is captured only by selected – i.e. not all – offices of the Ministry of the Interior equipped with special technical equipment. At present this applies to 21 offices, 5 of which are in Prague, 3 in the Central Bohemia Region and then in each other region with the exception of the Usti Region where 2 offices are equipped to capture biometric data. At the same office where the foreign national’s biometric data is captured, the foreign national shall be required, when called upon to do so, to pick up his/her residence card within the stipulated time limit. 
Residence cards issued before the date that this change enters into validity, i.e. before 1st May 2011 shall remain valid until their validity expiry date or changes to details appearing in them after which they shall be replaced by cards containing biometric data. These foreign nationals therefore do not have to apply for a new residence card with biometric data.   
As for proceedings commenced before 30th April 2011, in these cases too, residence cards shall be issued according to the new rules. 
Regarding this change, the Ministry of the Interior has compiled leaflets to citizens of third countries informing them of the changes. The leaflets have been issued in Czech, English, Ukrainian, Russian, Vietnamese and Mongolian languages and have been distributed to ministry offices and aliens police stations and to several other organisations dealing with the integration of foreign nationals. 
More detailed information, including an electronic version of the leaflet and contact information for the separate Ministry offices which can capture biometric data, will be available at the web page of the Ministry of Interior from 1st May 2011.
Pavel Novák
Head of Press Department and Public Relations

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