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Many let passports expire during pandemic

This year has seen a significant drop in passport renewals, but not having an official ID can make life difficult.

Passi kädessä Kajaanin oikeus- ja poliisitalon edustalla
Image: Antti Tauriainen / Yle

Passport applications in Finland fell by 45 percent compared to last year, while requests for police-issued ID cards dropped by one third.

Last year saw a surge in passport applications as a new law took driving permits off the list of documents considered valid in situations requiring a strong proof of identity.

While the pandemic has grounded many people’s overseas travel plans, many situations still require residents to hold a valid passport.

More than a travel document

These days banks need to see a passport or police-issued ID from customers seeking online banking codes or mobile keys for their accounts. However, people can also use the so-called Citizen Certificate, included in the personal identity card, to prove their electronic identity online.

"Many online services require strong proof of identity. A personal ID card is excellent for this purpose--it would be good if everyone carried this card in their wallet," Antero Aulakoski of Oulu police told Yle.

People applying for firearms licenses must also produce a passport or official ID card to prove their identity. Applicants missing either of these documents will be asked by police to answer a number of questions drawn from the population register.

People working in official capacities also need passports or ID cards when renewing their personnel cards at work. This applies to those working in law enforcement and the medical profession.

While people are applying for passports more now than they did in the spring and summer, police stations have once again limited their service hours to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, sometimes resulting in weeks-long waits for face-to-face appointments.

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