Czechia set to launch fully digital ID cards in 2024

The government stresses that using the digital ID will be fully optional, although some public institutions will have to recognize them. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 29.11.2023 14:01:00 (updated on 29.11.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Chamber of Deputies passed a draft amendment today that will allow people in Czechia to use digital ID cards stored on mobile devices to prove their identity. Digital IDs should be in use from 2024. The amendment is part of the Digital Czech Republic project aimed at digitizing public access to government services.

Important terms

The draft amendment to the law enables voluntary use of digital cards. Digital cards will not replace physical IDs and cannot be used to verify one’s identity remotely. Digital ID cards won’t be valid for international travel.

According to the law, one’s digital identity will be just as legally valid as the physical document, however, a physical ID must exist in order for the digital copy to be issued. The digital ID will not contain any additional information beyond what is on the physical card.

Accepted at high-level institutions

According to the government, institutions will be obliged to accept the digital ID cards, but this will come in stages. Starting from the beginning of next year, central state administration bodies will need to accept them. By July, regions and the police will need to start recognizing the online copies. By 2025, all other administrative bodies, including embassies, will have to accept the digital ID cards.

A special mobile phone application known as eDoklady (or eDocuments in English) is required to use the digital ID. The app, currently in development with the Digital Information Agency (DIA) should be ready by 2024 with a test launch scheduled for December, according to Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization Ivan Bartoš.

To use the digital ID, individuals will need a citizen's digital identity, which can be obtained via the eGovernment mobile key. More information – in English – can be found here.

Part of upcoming EU changes

Earlier this year, DIA director Martin Mesršmíd highlighted the significance of the Czech digital ID as a precursor to the European Digital Identity project – a digital wallet that sets out to unify all EU-based digital identities. Bartoš also said that digital ID would assist in Czechia’s later aims of implementing the EU's electronic wallet, as people could also use the digital ID as part of the EU’s wallet.

The final step is for the Senate to review and approve the law and then pass it on to President Petr Pavel for signing into law. The government estimates that the implementation of digital documents will cost around CZK 500 million, with annual operating costs of CZK 50 million.

This latest development underlines the government’s efforts to digitize public administration to improve citizen convenience as the country attempts to move out of the dark ages of offline communication. In the latest Digital Quality of Life index, the Czech Republic came 19th in Europe and 28th in the world, lagging far behind neighboring countries like Poland and Austria in the electronic government category.

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