Adhesive labels in passports and all other kinds of paperwork relating to foreign nationals living in Greece are to be scrapped and replaced by a new, electronic residence permit that will also double up as an identity card.
There are currently 557,476 third-country nationals living in Greece legally and, according to a circular issued by the Migration Policy Ministry on Wednesday, they will soon be able to apply for a meeting with authorities to go through the necessary process for obtaining their permits.
Within 30 days of receiving the application, Greek authorities will have to set a date for the meeting, during which their biometric data (user’s photo and fingerprints) will be recorded so it can be entered on the card’s electronic chip. The chip can also store electronic proof of identity and a qualified electronic signature.
The card will also show whether the holder has the right to work in Greece.
All European member-states are obliged to introduce the electronic residence permit based on a regulation first passed in 2002 and then updated in 2008. The aim is to design a uniform residence permit for the EU. Several other countries, such as Germany which rolled out its residence cards in September 2011, have already completed the process.
According to the ministry’s circular, the cost of obtaining the residence permit will be 16 euros. Any foreigners living in Greece who already have residence permits will not have to update to the new format until their current documentation expires.