STA, 9 December 2021 - The National Assembly passed on Thursday the government-proposed amendment to the identity cards act under which new biometric ID cards will start to be issued on 28 March 2022, instead of 3 January 2022, as initially planned. In line with the change, it will be possible to use expired ID cards until the end of March.
Whoever needs a new ID card before that date will be able to get one, but it will not yet be biometric, the Interior Ministry has explained.
The ministry has selected Cetis to produce new biometric ID cards, although the company could not guarantee that it will start issuing biometric ID cards as early as 3 January due to world-wide delays in the production and delivery of microchips.
As the relevant parliamentary committee discussed the amendment last week, Robert Polnar from the Pensioners Party (DeSUS) and Dušan Verbič from the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) acknowledged the issue and viewed the delay as justifiable.
The government noted in mid-November that between March last year and end-October this year, 105,338 cards expired and have not yet been replaced by new ones. An additional 350,158 cards will have expired in 2022, including 37,051 in March.
Jani Möderndorfer of the opposition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) said the ministry should admit its mistake, as "chip-related problems have been going on for over a year, with the car industry being at a standstill because of it for some time".
Branko Grims of the ruling Democrats (SDS) said that the chip problem was related to the Covid-19 pandemic and that it was not the government's fault. "It deserves praise as it has followed modern trends and proposed that new card be introduced."
Meanwhile, Nataša Sukič of the opposition Left called for caution when collecting biometric data. "Collecting all this data, along with fingerprints from 12-year-olds, is not something to be done lightly," she warned.
The new biometric ID cards will require fingerprinting of all persons above the age of 12, which will allow their holders to use online government services and store electronic signatures. They will also act as substitute for health insurance card.