The Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) supported the amendment which extends the period of validity of Estonian passports from five years to ten years, and is also considering the possibility to extend the current five-year period of validity of Estonian ID cards.
According to the Bill on Amendments to the Identity Documents Act (55 SE), initiated by six members of the Riigikogu, the maximum period of validity of the Estonian citizen’s passport and the alien’s passport will be extended from five years to ten years. The purpose of the Bill is to reduce the expenses and frequency of acts connected with the issuing of passports. By way of exception, the passports to Estonian citizens who are under 15 years of age would be issued for five years.
Mihhail Stalnuhhin, who introduced the Bill on behalf of the initiators, said that the impetus for presenting the amendment came from the Consulate-General of Estonia in St. Petersburg, which is having problems with frequent changing of passports. The Bill was initiated by representatives of all six factions of the Riigikogu.
“When you are travelling to the Schengen Area countries, your passport has to be valid for at least three months after the expiry of visa, when you are travelling to the USA, Great Britain and also Russia, for at least six months after visa expiration date,” member of the Constitutional Committee Stalnuhhin noted. “Taking into account that it takes 30 days from the submission of application to receiving of passport, the actual period of validity of passport is four years and five months to four years and eight months.”
The Constitutional Committee sent the Bill to the first reading at the 10 November sitting of the Riigikogu. After the first reading, the discussing of the Bill in the Constitutional Committee will continue.
“The Committee will certainly consider extending the period of validity of ID cards,” Chairman of the Constitutional Committee Kalle Laanet said. “People should not be forced t change their documents more often that it is reasonable, and extending the period of validity of ID cards would also help considerably reduce the administrative burden of the state and reduce expenses.”
The Committee sent a request to the Ministry of the Interior to analyse the extending of the period of validity of ID cards.
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