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ID Cards - All Bulgarians Need to Travel in EU

Date: 19.11.2006

Bulgarian citizens will be allowed to travel in EU member states only with their ID cards and in line with the Schengen agreement as of 2007, when the country will join the European block.

This is envisaged by amendments to the law on Bulgarian ID cards that the government adopted.

Under the new legislation Bulgarians living abroad, who do not have valid ID cards, will be issued temporary documents, to allow them return to their homeland and travel.

Bulgarian citizens will receive new ID cards and passports with a chip and biometric data when their current documents expire.

Citizens from EU member states, participants in the European Economic Area (EEA), the Swiss and their families will be issued cards for a temporary or permanent stay in Bulgaria, only if they stay for at least three months.

The Interior Ministry will issue cards for a period no longer than five years. The cards for a permanent stay will be valid for ten years.

The European Commission has decided that all EU member states should introduce into newly-issued passports digital facial images and fingerprints. Member states will have to implement fingerprints at the latest on 28 June 2009.

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