Four foreign companies – three German and one from the Netherlands – have put in offers to build the new system of Bulgarian identity cards that will feature extended biometric data.
The offers by the four companies were opened publicly at Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry on October 16.
The companies are Germany’s Dermalog, Veridos, and Muehlbauer ID services, and Dutch firm Gemalto.
This is the second attempt to build the system after a public procurement in 2016 was suspended by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.
The current allocation for the project is just more than 239 million leva, excluding value-added tax.
The plan is to start issuing the new identity cards in 2019. It will not be mandatory to replace existing identity cards, the validity of which will continue until their existing expiry dates.
Recent changes to Bulgarian law retain the main types of documents – the identity card, commonly known as the lichna karta, the driving licence, passport and residence permit for foreigners. Bulgaria envisages creating identity documents for people subject to criminal proceedings, so that they would have a form of identification but not one that would enable them to cross a border.
For Bulgarians living abroad, the validity of passports will be 10 years, not the current five years. Children’s passports will be valid for five years. Another new document is to be introduced, a Nato employee residence card.
(Photo, of a specimen Bulgarian identity card: Interior Ministry)