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00.00 ‘Discriminatory’ Swiss ID birthdate practice to end

Swiss passport

Having a blank birthdate on Swiss passports can lead to problems

(Keystone)

Swiss passports and ID cards will no longer discriminate against people who do not know their date of birth. Until now, the birthdate section on such documents recorded 00.00, a practice which created a problem for holders at border controls and even when shopping online.

From now on, a fictitious date will be entered on Swiss identity documents when people cannot provide proof of their date of birth. This typically affects migrants whose documents are held by their country of birth and are impossible to obtain.

The Swiss Federal Department of Justice announced the decision on Wednesday following an investigation by consumer affairs programme Kassensturz on Swiss public television, SRF. It found that people with 00.00 birthdates on their documents struggled to get services over the internet.

The justice ministry said it would amend article 6 of its regulations that previously required an entry of zeros when birthdates were not known. People who currently hold such documents can exchange them for those with a fictitious birthdate, the ministry said.

This change should be completed by the end of 2018.

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