What is the best passport holder

Dealing with expired ID documents when issuing new ID documents

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1. The principle: confiscation of expired documents

Both passport and identity card law stipulate that passport and identity card are and always remain the property of the Federal Republic of Germany. See Section 1, Paragraph 4, Clause 1, 2nd half-sentence of the Passport Act (PassG) and Section 4, Paragraph 2 of the Identity Card Act (PAuswG). The owner of the document does not become its owner. The fees he has to pay are not a “purchase price”.

In addition, Section 4 (1) PAuswG stipulates that no one may have more than one valid ID from the Federal Republic of Germany. The passport law follows this in principle, but allows other passports as an exception if the applicant can prove a legitimate interest in them, see Section 1 (3) PassG. A “second passport” is conceivable in exceptional cases, and in very rare cases a “third passport” as well.

Both Section 15 No. 2 PassG and Section 27 Paragraph 1 No. 2 PAuswG give the impression at first glance that there is no general obligation to return documents that have expired. Because both regulations state that the owner only has to return the “old” document “upon request” when receiving the “new” document. Nevertheless, due to the above, the rule applies that old documents must always be handed over by the holder when the new documents are received. Thus, section sentence 1 of the passport administration regulation (PassVwV) regulates the according to section I.1 of the "Preliminary information on the implementation of the ID card and passport law" (most recently in the currently applicable version of May 23, 2016 - hereinafter referred to as "implementation instructions") ) is also applicable to identity card law: "At the latest when the new passport is handed over, the old passport must be withdrawn ...", (see also paragraph 9 on § 15 PassG in the comment “Böttcher / Ehmann - Passport, ID and registration law in Bavaria” and comment “Ehmann / Brunner - Passport, ID and registration right”).

However, seminar participants keep telling that they “don't take it so strictly” when it comes to confiscating old documents. In practice, these constellations are often not treated as consistently as cases in which the passport and identity card authorities are obliged to confiscate certain identity documents for reasons other than the expiry of the document. They concern, for example, the unauthorized possession of two passports, see Section 12 (2) PassG or the unauthorized entry of a doctorate in a passport (reverse conclusion from Section 12 (3) PassG). When passport and identity card authorities collect the relevant documents, they are exercising the property rights of the Federal Republic of Germany (see comment "Böttcher / Ehmann - Passport, identity card and registration law in Bavaria" and comment "Ehmann / Brunner - Passport, identity card and right to report ”, in each case paragraph 53 to § 1 PassG).


2. The exception to the principle: return of the canceled documents

The most common reason why passport holders want to keep their old passport are visas attached to the passport that they want to keep as a souvenir of trips. This request is taken into account in number PassVwV and the passport authorities are given the opportunity to return such passports to their holders after they have been canceled.

The aforementioned reason cannot apply to identity cards. As is known, they do not contain any visas. However, there are other, quite understandable reasons why ID card holders want to keep an old ID card. For example, it is sometimes seen as a reminder of a “more youthful appearance” or someone would like to use it to document an old generation of ID cards that will no longer exist in the future.

Therefore, section I.23 of the implementation instructions now also regulates identity cards: "On request, however, a validated ID card can be handed over again."


3. Another exception: return without cancellation

Another - albeit comparatively rare - exception in which expired passports can be returned to the holder are the cases in which the (expired) passport still contains a valid visa.

The main difference to other exceptions is that the expired passport is explicit in this case Not may be devalued. Although visas from many countries generally retain their validity even if the passport has been canceled (see, for example, information from the German representations in the USA on the question "My previous passport will expire in a few months. What do I do if I want to apply for a new passport but still need my previous passport (e.g. because it contains my valid US visa or I want to keep it as a souvenir)? Answer: If there is still a valid visa in the validated passport, it is still valid despite the validation of the passport. ").

Nevertheless, Section of the PassVwV stipulates in paragraph 1: "Passports that have already expired and still contain a valid visa may not be canceled.

The expired passports are therefore the holders in these cases without Return cancellation. The passport holders must, however, “be advised that the passport must be presented after the visa expires or after it has been transferred to the new passport for the purpose of withdrawal or cancellation.”, Section, Paragraph 1, last sentence, PassVwV. This instruction should sensibly be documented in an informal declaration or a note on the file. Monitoring by means of a suitable resubmission is recommended.


4. Regulations for the cancellation of the individual documents

4.1 Passports

The PassVwV regulates in great detail how passports (including, for example, temporary passports or children's passports, see Section 1 (2) PassG) are to be validated.

In the event of cancellation "the passport - especially the data page - must be visibly stamped. The part of the passport card containing the machine-readable zone or the data page of the passport must be completely cut off and destroyed in accordance with Section 6.3.4 .. ", see Section Paragraph 1 Sentences 3 and 4 PassVwV. Section (2) sentence 2 and section 12.1.1 (3) sentences 2 and 3 PassVwV formulate it similarly.
As an explanation of why the machine-readable zone should be cut off in any case, section (1) sentence 4 PassVwV for the "electronic passports" states: "The part of the passport card containing the machine-readable zone or the data page of the passport must be completely cut off and destroyed in accordance with Section 6.3.4 in order to prevent unauthorized reading of the data stored on the electronic storage medium.

How the further "visible cancellation of the passport" is to take place in addition to cutting off the machine-readable line is not regulated in any more detail. In practice, it has therefore been established and proven that, for example, the cover and other pages are stamped "invalid" or the entire passport is punched (see also "Commentary" Böttcher / Ehmann - Passport, ID and Registration Law in Bavaria ") as well as the comment “Ehmann / Brunner - Passport, ID card and registration law”, in each case Paragraph 4 to Section 12 PassG).


4.2 Identity cards

In contrast to the regulations on the validation of passports, the “Implementation Instructions” under Section I.23 initially regulate the validation of provisional as well as of until November 1st, 2010 issued identity cards:
"An identity card is canceled by cutting off part of the serial number in the lower left corner."

For identity cards that from 01.11.2010 have been issued, the following applies:

“However, if the previous identity card is an identity card with an integrated chip (identity card with online identification function), the online identification function must first be switched off. In addition, the left part of the machine-readable zone must be cut off in such a way that the document identifier (IDD) and part of the date of birth and surname are separated. The ID card must also be punched using the templates and / or punching devices provided. "

In addition, it should be mentioned that the left part of the machine-readable zone is on the back of the “new” identity card compared to the “old” identity card.

It remains to be hoped that the new generation of passports that have been issued since March 1st, 2017 (“ePass 3.0”) will not face a similar back and forth with regard to validation as with the “new” ID cards at the time (see June newsletter 2012 under points 3 and 4). Unfortunately, this cannot be ruled out!

Dr. Eugen Ehmann and Matthias Brunner