Greece is planning to replace the current ID cards with new ones containing biometric data. The new IDs will have the size of a credit-card and will be available at a cost of estimated 8 to 10 euros. If one adds the cost to 8-10 euros for the pictures, the total cost will double. The new ID cards are expected to come by the end of the year.
According to media reports, the plastic cards will contain also a microchip with the biometric data of the owner. It is not revealed which biometric data will be included.
The upgrade of the current ID cards is estimated at costing more than 80 million euros, which however due to the economic crisis cannot be covered by the Greek state so each citizen will be required to pay 10 euros for the upgrade of his/her ID.
The upgrade reportedly follows United States’ adding pressure on Greece to improve the security of its identity cards or be faced with bringing back the visa for Greek travelers.
The Greek parliament has to vote on the decision to upgrade the IDs. An open tender must be announced and it may take as long as 15 months to be finalized. In that time, “the US government will have to decide whether Greece remains in its visa waiver program allowing free travel to the US for Greek nationals,” media report claiming that “Greece is the only EU country that has not issued biometric ID cards.”
Greeks had to upgrade their IDs and passports in the the middle of the 2000’s following pressure by the European Union.
However, grannies and grandpas still go around with their old hand-written IDs.
Nevertheless, issuing an ID was free of charge.
Why should an economically drained Greek citizen pay another 20-euro from his own pocket if he doesn’t plan to travel to USA?
PS I hope they won’t forget to add space for the owner’s signature….