Ukraine will soon begin collecting the biometric data of those who apply for a visa to enter the country. The new policy will go into effect on January 1, 2022, and will make the application process consistent with the rest of Ukraine’s identification procedures for foreign nationals.
In that regard, Ukraine already captures the biometric data of foreign nationals and stateless individuals at border checkpoints, and uses that data again when a foreign visitor registers for a residence permit. The visa application was the only stage of the process that did not use biometrics of any kind, though that will obviously change under the new policy.
Moving forward, those who apply for a visa will need to scan their face and all ten fingerprints when they submit their paperwork. That biometric data will expedite the screening process when those people arrive in Ukraine, and when they need to be identified within its borders.
According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the new policy will make it easier for government bodies to coordinate with one another, and help guard against the use of forged documents in the immigration process. All biometric data captured through the immigration program will be stored in a visa and telecommunications database, and then deleted after a relatively brief five-year period. That five-year window distinguishes Ukraine’s policy from that of countries like the United States, which store foreign biometric information forever.
Ukraine’s biometric data collection policy does include a few exceptions. For example, it will not apply to children under 12, those with unique diplomatic passports, or those with disabilities that make it impossible to collect certain kinds of biometric data.
Ukraine started collecting biometric data at the border back in 2018, following a push from the National Security and Defense Council that kicked off one year prior. The country has also been issuing biometric passports for several years.
July 29, 2021 – by Eric Weiss