Use of foreign citizens' biometric data

The Government of the Netherlands wants to set up a central database of biometric data, such as fingerprints and digital passport photographs, of all foreign citizens who apply for residence or are already residing in the Netherlands. There is already a biometric database for asylum seekers.

Database to prevent identity fraud

Maintaining a central database would prevent people using another person’s identity or using false documents to obtain permission to reside, work or study in the Netherlands. Fingerprints would be used to reliably match immigrants to their personal identification data and documentation.

Foreign citizens who apply for a verblijfsvergunning (residence permit) would be required to provide fingerprints and a passport photograph once, after which their identity could be checked against that data using fingerprint scanning and facial comparison. The biometric data would be stored in a central databank and on a chip on the residence permit. This way the information could be used by various public authorities, for example, the Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek – DT&V (Repatriation and Departure Service) when expelling illegal immigrants and the Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen – DJI (Custodial Institutions Agency) when incarcerating criminals.

The database would also make it easier for the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst – IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service), the Afdeling Vreemdelingenpolitie, Identificatie en Mensenhandel (Aliens Police, Identification and Human Trafficking Division) and embassies of the Netherlands to check the identity of foreign citizens and thus prevent identity fraud. Foreign citizens themselves also stand to benefit, as the use of biometrics could prevent their falling victim to identity theft, which can be a serious problem.