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The Circular of the Ministry of Migration Policy No 7/15.02.2017 was published, providing instructions for the collection of biometric data upon the procedure of issuance of the electronic residence permit, in accordance with the Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002, as amended by the Regulation No 280/2008.
In accordance with the aforementioned circular, starting from Monday, February 20, 2017, the form in which residence permits to third-country nationals, issued by the «one-stop shops» of the relevant aliens and migration department of the decentralized administrations at the place of residence has been modified. In particular, the residence permits will no longer be issued in the form of a sticker, inserted into a passport, but as a separate document, electronic card, which will contain the identification data of the foreigner, the necessary biometric data (digital passport photograph and two digital fingerprints), as well as a radio frequency integrated circuit (RF chip), as the storage form of the aforementioned.
The electronic residence title will be granted to all third-country nationals, who are holders of residence permits under the provisions of Law 4251/2014 and the presidential decree 106/2007 (family members of EU citizens), whether it is the first issue of the document or its renewal. Third-country nationals who have acquired or will acquire an old-type residence permit until February 20, 2017, are not obliged to substitute it with the new electronic one, this will be done only during its renewal or re-issuance in case of expiry of a passport.
The electronic residence permit, from now on, will contain the following information, on a mandatory basis:
– Holder’s photo
– Where applicable, an indication of the holder’s eligibility for access to the employment market, as well as an indication of the code of the authority that issued the residence permit, and the file reference number
– Digital signature of the holder (if older than 12y.o.)
– Date and place of birth of the holder, as specified in the passport or travel document (in cases where the place of birth (town, not only the country) is not mentioned in the passport, the applicant must provide a nationally recognized document from their country of origin, officially translated and certified, that clearly confirms their birthplace)
– Code of the country of birth
– Where applicable, an indication of the provisions of the Law, according to which a specific residence permit was issued
– Where applicable, an indication of the fingerprints, if a residence permit does not include fingerprints due to a temporary or permanent physical disability of one or both hands.
The inability to obtain biometric data relates to the situations where there is a partial or complete inability of the applicant to undergo the procedure of collecting fingerprints and/or the procedure of obtaining the specimen signatures connected with a temporary or permanent physical disability, ascertainable by providing the appropriate medical certificate (applies to cases where the collection of biometric data of one hand cannot be performed due to temporary or permanent restrictions for medical reasons).
Separate documents will be printed in the Passport Department of the Hellenic Police’s headquarters. The cost of printing, which is set at 16 euros for one document, will be levied in the form of an e-voucher and will be reimbursed only in case of a denial of the application for a residence permit.
In accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 8 of Article 1 of Law 4018/2011, the submission of the application for a residence permit involves the irrevocable consent of the applicant for keeping and processing their biometric data. The written notification of the party concerned, in particular, about the collection of biometric data, is mandatory, failure to appear without good cause after repeated notification constitutes grounds for refusal.
There are the following cases:
1) immediate presence of the person concerned for the collection of biometric data, in cases where the person concerned is personally present and the collection of biometric data is possible
2) filing of the application for a residence permit is carried out by an authorized attorney or other representatives. In this case, notification for the collection of biometric data at the scheduled date is issued to the authorized person
3) data collection is not possible due to unforeseen objective circumstances. In this case, the first notification is canceled and followed by the issuance of a new one, which establishes the exact date of data collection. If, however, the person concerned fails to appear on the specified day (is regarded as the first notification), the system issues a new (second) notification that is sent via official channels with confirmed, in any case, delivery to the person concerned. If the deadline for the second notification lapses, the corresponding application is rejected.
The set date when the person concerned should appear for the collection of biometric data should not exceed 30 days from the date of filing the application. In particular, in the investors’ category (Article 20B of Law 4251/2014), if the applicant is not present in the country at the time of filing, this date can be set upon agreement with the authorized lawyer at the time when the person concerned will be in the country, without the 30-day time limit. A reasonable period, in such cases, is a period of 6 months, and, under all circumstances, the biometric data should be collected prior to the expiration date of the certificate of filing the documents.
The electronic residence permit has been established as a document of high safety standards, and with this purpose, it includes several security features (visible or not), to be protected against counterfeit, theft, use by any third person, or any falsification. Consequently, a key element of security is, inter alia, the introduction of such biometric data, as the fingerprints of two fingers (index finger of both, the left and the right hands), passport photograph of the applicant, printing of the holder’s digital signature, total contact circuit (as data storage) and a machine-readable zone.
The specimen signature is collected at the time when the third-country national reaches the age of 12, when filing the application; otherwise, there is no such obligation. Also, persons with injuries, temporary or permanent; or those placed under judicial interdiction can be excluded from this obligation. The inability to collect the specimen of signature is confirmed by supporting documents, that must be provided by the applicant (a procedure similar to the one that follows in the cases of inability to collect fingerprints).
A passport-sized photo of the applicant’s face will be produced in 4 copies and in an electronic form, on a CD. Specifications:
– recent photo (preferably, within one month prior to the application)
– 4×6 cm (frameless)
– displayed or printed on a high quality white photographic paper, not watermarked or embossed
– high-resolution, with no dots (pixels), not printed on Ink Jet Laser printers.
Fingerprints are collected from the index fingers of the left and right hands. In cases where the fingerprinting of the index fingers is not possible due to a temporary or permanent physical disability, the fingerprints from the other fingers are collected in the following order: thumb, middle, and ring finger. Children under the age of 6 years, as well as persons with temporary (fracture, burn, etc.) or permanent (amputation, permanent deformation, etc.) injuries to one or both hands, confirmed by a corresponding medical certificate, are excluded from the obligation on the collection of fingerprints. In case of injury of only one hand, the prints are taken from the other hand.
After fingerprint collection, the procedure of collecting the necessary biometric data is completed and it is sent in real-time to the central database of the Ministry of Migration Policy for quality control of the photo and the signature image.
If it is revealed that one of the above two elements or both elements does not meet the required standards, in order to be entered and printed on a separate document, the person concerned will be notified in writing, of the requirement to provide new photos or to appear again for the collection of the specimen signature.
The procedure is completed with the issuance of the residence permit as a separate document: upon initial granting – following the regular procedure, in other cases (renewal, re-issuance) – following the destruction of the previous residence permit.