EMN inform: Digitalisation of identity documents and residence permits issued to third-country nationals


The latest inform from the European Migration Network (EMN) on the “Digitalisation of identity documents and residence permits issued to third-country nationals” provides an in-depth analysis on the challenges and advantages in adopting digital-only immigration procedures within 23 EMN Member States and two Observer Countries, namely Georgia and Ukraine.

The inform sheds light on the motivations behind adopting digital-only documents in certain EMN Member and Observer Countries, where high numbers of arrivals and applications for residence stemming from Russia´s war of aggression against Ukraine prompted a shift towards digital solutions. Countries like Estonia followed suit by digitalising the procedure to apply for temporary protection – aiding with the administrative burden approximately 41,000 applications in December 2022. Likewise Lithuania successfully avoided the production of more that 42,000 physical documents through full digitalisation.

The inform also underscores particular concerns surrounding digital-only documents, emphasizing the importance of addressing issues related to digital literacy, potential fraud, and the need for interoperability during border checks. One of the aspects that the reporting EMN Members and Observer Countries emphasized was the importance of ensuring that vulnerable populations are not left behind and highlights the necessity for fallback solutions and common EU standards if digital-only documents are to be widely adopted.

A new EMN inform offers a detailed examination of practices, challenges, and advantages across EMN Member and Observer Countries. The majority of EMN Member and Observer Countries, as well as Georgia and Ukraine, currently issue physical residence permits, incorporating biometric data and electronic elements. Notably, Italy, Lithuania, and Poland have started issuing digital-only residence permits and identity documents

The inform can be found here.