Ukraine is the first country in the world to fully legalize digital passports in smartphones

It is enough for Ukrainians to have a phone with a digital passport for any life situation that requires a passport. Biometric passport and ID-card in Diia will be a complete analog of paper and plastic document from August 23, 2021 at the legislative level, while Ukraine – an innovator in the use of digital documents.

The Verkhovna Rada adopted the bill №4355 “On the Unified State Demographic Register and documents confirming the citizenship of Ukraine, identity or special status” on digital passports in the second reading. 302 people’s deputies voted in favor of the document.

“Ukraine is the first country in the world to launch digital passports and legally equate them to ordinary documents. Diia users will no longer face situations when the digital passport is not accepted. This is not just a landmark event in the history of modern Ukraine and a big step towards the introduction of the “paperless” regime. This is a unique global case that we can and should be proud of,” commented Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov.

Ministry of Digital Transformation launched digital passports in the Diia mobile application in April last year. Digital passports are much safer and more comfortable than paper ones. Now they can be used by about 20 million Ukrainians – more than 5.5 million of them have an ID card and another 18 million are holders of foreign biometric passports. Since its launch, their use has been an experimental project and regulated by a relevant resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

“The bill will provide the opportunity to use electronic documents in a mobile application on a par with ordinary passports. This is the first step towards the introduction of a paperless regime in Ukraine – when public authorities will not have the right to demand paper documents, if the information is already in the registers. You will be able to choose which passport you use today,” said Mykhailo Kryachko, Chairman of the Committee on Digital Transformation.

It will be possible to present digital passports on the territory of Ukraine for identification and confirmation of citizenship, except in cases of crossing the state border, entering and leaving the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine. The approved bill also determines the terminology, in particular the use of e-passports.

Ukrainians can already use digital passports in most life situations. They are accepted by CASPs for the provision of public services, government agencies and courts. Digital passports can be used to receive deliveries in the post office, to confirm age in supermarkets, in banks – to confirm identity and cash transactions, as well as to open a bank account online. With digital passports, you can also travel to Ukraine by plane and train, check into a hotel and more.

Digital documents in the smartphone are also used in Poland and South Korea. Similar projects are being implemented in the UK, Finland and the USA. Estonian citizens use a digital ID card, with which they can receive public services online, manage bank accounts and vote online. However, Ukraine is the first country in the world where digital passports in smartphones have legally gained the same force as paper and plastic documents.

In September 2021, Ukraine will begin entering the “paperless” regime – public authorities will not have the right to require paper documents if the necessary information is already in the registers. And the adoption of the law on digital passports is one of the most important steps towards this, because the passport is the main document for obtaining public services. It will also allow to trigger a large-scale digitalization of business and government and simplify internal processes for launching new digital products.

The bill was developed with the assistance of the EGAP Program, funded by the Swiss government and implemented by the East Europe Foundation, SURGe with the support of the Government of Canada. We also thank the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal, the Committee on Digital Transformation, the State Migration Service, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for their support. This is our joint victory!