According to Mari Pedak, director of the Citizenship and Migration Board, the next generation of passports will feature a data page with an embedded chip that can be read without direct contact. Biometrical information may also be added to the passports, though not earlier than July 2007.
"The retina scan is too expensive, so we will probably include fingerprint data as the biometrical information stored on the passport chip," said Pedak.
Over the next several years obligatory fingerprint checks will be implemented in relation to all individuals entering Estonia. In Pedak's words, the fingerprint check will allow the state to better control incoming people and will help avoid double-asylum applications.
Today an asylum seeker can stay in a EU member state while his application is being considered, and if it is rejected, he or she can move to another member state and apply for an asylum there.
"Under the current system people can spend half their life living on the asylum seeker welfare in the EU. That will be ended soon," said Pedak.
After EU accession on May 1, immigration procedures will become simpler for EU citizens, whose applications will be considered on the so-called confidential proceedings principle.
No major changes will be introduced for the citizens of the U.S.A., Canada or Australia, the board said.