Ukraine Becomes First Country to Legalize Digital Passports

On March 30, the Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada adopted the bill which makes physical and digital passports equal. Ukraine is the first country in the world to legally equate passports. The law will take effect on August 23, 2021. 

Both Ukrainian national IDs and biometric passports for foreign travel are available in the Diia app, developed by the Ministry of the Digital Transformation of Ukraine. Such digital passports can be used to confirm identity without a physical copy required. Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Digital Transformation says: “Ukraine is the first country in the world to launch digital passports and legally equate them to ordinary documents. Diia users will no longer face situations when the digital passport is not accepted. This is not just a landmark event in the history of modern Ukraine and a big step towards the introduction of the “paperless” regime. This is a unique global case that we can and should be proud of.”

Bill 4355 “On the Unified State Demographic Register and documents confirming the citizenship of Ukraine, identity or special status” was supported by 302 MPs; it will take effect on August, 23. It includes the definition of the terms “e-passport” and “e-passport for international travel”, and states that such passports are formed free of charge and can be used on the territory of Ukraine for identification and proof of citizenship. When crossing state borders or the boundary line of the occupied territories, a physical passport will still be required.

Diia has already been downloaded by over 20 million Ukrainians. Digital passports are used on daily basis, e.g. in banks, post offices, supermarkets, as well as on trains and in airports within Ukraine. 

Countries like Poland, Finland, UK, South Korea, etc. have already seen similar projects being carried out. However, Ukraine is the first country where digital passports will have the same legal status as physical ones.