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Around 400 Belgian municipalities to start taking ID photos in bid to combat identity fraud

09:48 22/03/2024

Some 400 municipalities in Belgium have signed up to a federal government project allowing them to take ID photos of their citizens, reports RTBF.

Aimed at reducing identity fraud, details of the scheme were announced by interior minister Annelies Verlinden in participating municipality Rotselaar in Flemish Brabant province.

Of the 398 participating communes, 249 have already received the equipment they need to take identity photos. When the remaining 149 are similarly equipped, around 70% of Belgian municipalities will be ready for the scheme, called ‘live enrollment’.

Fight against identity fraud

Giving individual municipalities the responsibility of taking photos for documents such as identity cards and passports would help combat identity fraud, according to the federal government.  

It would also ensure that all photos complied with current standards. But professional photographers, who make a not insignificant income from taking ID photos, strongly oppose the new system. They described it as "pure theft of livelihood" and "unfair competition from the government."

Photographers also believe that it cannot be a completely free service offered by municipal administrations. According to them, the cost will be recovered via an increase in the price of identity documents or indirectly through taxes, for example.

Photo: ©Brussels commissioner’s office – Expat Welcome Desk

Written by The Bulletin