Monday, 2 August 2021

New Biometric Identity Cards Will Be Issued Starting Today

August 2, 2021 - From today, new biometric identity cards will be issued in Croatia. Check how to get them, what you can do with them and what is changing.

Amendments to the Identity Card Act and by-laws adopted to implement the European Regulation on strengthening the security of identity cards of EU citizens and residence permits issued to EU citizens and their family members exercising the right to free movement will enter into force today, reports 24sata.

In addition to the already existing electronic data carrier (chip), a contactless electronic data carrier will be installed in the new biometric identity cards, on which the face display of the cardholder's identity and two fingerprints (biometrics) will be stored.

Given the new functionalities and enhanced security elements of the new biometric identity cards, their price in the regular procedure would be 100 kuna, and for those over 70 years of age if they do not contain certificates, 70 kuna.

For an expedited issuance process, the price does not change.

What do citizens get with the latest generation of the new biometric identity cards?

It becomes a biometric document, has the status of a travel document in the EU, and is equivalent to a passport.

''This means for citizens a simpler and faster passage of border controls when traveling to EU countries, or unhindered passage through the door for electronic control of passengers and travel documents at airports'', explained two days ago, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic.

There is also the unification of health and identity cards, and citizens will no longer have to have a health card. The ID number of the insured person (MBO) will be printed on the new biometric identity cards, and also stored on the electronic data carrier.

For this reason, the IT services of the Ministry of the Interior and the Croatian Health Insurance Fund have connected their IT systems and, using web services, enabled the withdrawal of MBOs from the Croatian Health Insurance Fund's databases.

The age limit for issuing identity cards issued without a validity period (ie under the new Act with a validity period of 40 years) has been changed from 65 to 70 years of age, and citizens in that age group can still obtain an identity card with certificates as and without them.

The ID card will also be able to be used on mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, and not just on computers, using a card reader, as before, and the software solution for mobile devices will be free.

''After citizens activate their ID cards and download the free application, they will be able to easily log in to the e-Citizens system and use e-services with the highest level of security, as well as valid electronic signatures (digital signatures) via mobile phones or tablets'', the Minister explained.

In order to make it easier for citizens and encourage them to use digital services in the 11 most frequent locations in police administrations, e-kiosks have been provided for activating ID cards, and the equipment of all other Police Directorates with e-kiosks will continue to issue a larger number of ID cards.

By activating the ID card at the e-kiosk, citizens will no longer have the need to buy a reader, which has so far been an additional cost for them (approximately 50 kuna), he said.

Citizens who currently have valid ID cards are not obliged to submit a request for the creation of a 2nd generation e-ID card, and their existing ones are valid until the deadline that is printed.

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Sunday, 4 July 2021

A Guide to Dealing with Croatian Bureaucracy: Renewing Documents

July 4th, 2021 - TCN's intern Marina Kaleb takes us through the important steps of renewing your documents and dealing with Croatian bureaucracy. 

Have you personally struggled to find information online when it comes to renewing your documents in Croatia? I've spent days researching, contacting people, and trying to find out the process of how to get the supposed 12-hour rush/rapid/quick passport from Zagreb. It in fact took me over 24 hours to get a "one-day" passport, so here is what I wish I would have known before embarking on this journey on one of the hottest summer days in Zagreb. 

1. Location

The MUP website includes all sorts of details such as payment details and parts of the process of renewing your passport but it is lacking a variety of details. In Croatia for all your documents, you need to go to the local police department. In Zagreb this is located on Petrinjska ul. 30. It is located close to the main square and fairly easy to find. 

2. Payment 

The MUP website provides a list of places where you can submit your payment from FINA, your local bank, or even online banking but what they don't tell you is that there is a post office within the same building which makes everyone's life a lot easier. As you enter the police department, the post office is located in the far left corner. On both sides of the office, they have a stand with pay slips for individual documents, for a rapid passport, you need to fill out two of the slips with your full name, address, and OIB number on the right side of the 410 kuna payslip. 

3. Get there early

Be there bright and early just as the police department opens. I made the mistake of getting there at 9 am which I thought was fairly early and I spent good 3 hours waiting in the heat. Before you submit the payment slips at the post office within the building, pick up a number from the machine at the entrance otherwise you can wait for what feels like forever. At least by the time you pay for your new documents, hopefully, other people would have already left. 

4. Patience will be your best friend

Being stuck indoors waiting for 2+ hours on a hot summer day will test your patience. Come prepared, bring water, a snack, a book, or listen to a podcast. Keep yourself occupied and time will pass by a lot quicker. There are around 4-5 counters usually working for urgent passports and the procedure is very long, so make sure you double-check you got everything you need before you start lining up. Also, the counters wait for about a minute to two before moving on to the next number so make sure to be quick and keep an eye out.  

5. Working time 

When I spoke to people who have been through this procedure before, I was reassured that I was going to get my passport the same day, in just a few hours. So I planned out my trip in advance, booked my bus seat for the same evening, and was ready to pick up my passport and get on the bus. However, nowhere online do they state that because of their summer working time from 7 am to 2/3 pm I believe (it isn't mentioned online), it in fact takes a full 24+ hours to get your passport. We were told to return the next day after 11 am to pick up our "rapid" passports. 

After 24 hours of frustration, exhaustion, and stress I managed to get my new passport so I am hoping this will help someone else who is going to have a close encounter with the Croatian bureaucracy, best of luck! 

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