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Official ID card may soon be mandatory for children in the Czech Republic from age 6

The change could be helpful for proving age while using public transit or traveling with a parent who may have a different name, say lawmakers

The obligations to have an official ID card will probably apply to children starting at 6 years of age, the Interior Ministry said. Another pending change is that in the future, electronically readable data will replace the personal ID number as the main identification on the ID card.

“A change must be made by the law we are preparing. In it, we will propose to reduce the age limit when a citizen will have to have an identity card to 6 years,” Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (ČSSD) said, according to daily Právo. Currently, people do not need an ID card (občanský průkaz) until they are 15 years old.

The age of 6 was chosen for two reasons. The first is that it is when children start school, and the ID card can be used to prove age for using public transit and for various purposes at school. The second is that it is the time limit for a father to deny paternity. The Interior Ministry says that by 6 years of age, a child should know with certainty who his or her parents are.

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The proposal is part of a document the government is preparing to find ways to minimize the use of the personal ID number (rodné číslo) when verifying identity. The rodné číslo uses the person’s date of birth, combined with a four-digit code. Anyone handling the number can easily determine a person’s age, for example. This can be seen as an invasion of privacy. Also, using one ID number for multiple purposes makes fraud and abuse easier.

Specimen of a Czech Id card. via Wikimedia Commons / public domain

The new electronic number would change over time as the card is updated, to give more data protection. Cards for minors should be issued every five years and for adults every 10 years.

Deputy Interior Minister Petr Mlsna (unafiliated) said that children getting the card will not mean a significant change because parents can currently have a document issued for their children immediately after birth. Approximately 353,000 children under 15 have an ID card. “What is new is that they will have to do so if the law is passed,” Mlsna said. Children would not be required to carry the card at all times.

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When ID cards and passports are counted together, almost 1.2 million children already have a form of official ID. According to the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). There are 1.7 million people under the age of 15 in the Czech Republic, which has a total; population of 10.7 million.

A personal document can be good for children traveling with parents if they do not have the same surname, according to the ministry.

The changes could come into effect within two years, just as a European Union regulation introducing biometrics in identity cards enters into force.

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