• Belgian government introduces foreign national card, part of the eID contract with Zetes
  • National production starts up, following successful pilot phase, which started in Uccle, Antwerp, Kelmis and Tubize, in December 2006

Brussels, 09 July 2008 – Zetes Industries, a leading pan-European company in value-added solutions and services for the sector of automatic identification of goods and people, is starting up production of the Belgian foreign national cards. The new cards have officially been introduced today by Belgian Minister of Migration Annemie Turtelboom via a press conference in the municipality of Retie (near Antwerp), at the occasion of the general spreading of the electronic foreign national cards, after a first successful pilot phase. The Belgian government is launching a separate card for EU- and non-EU foreigners in Belgium, replacing the current cardboard cards. Both cards are based on the proven technology of the Belgian eID card, which has also supplied by Zetes since 2003.    

This project is an important part of the contract between the Belgian government and Zetes for the production of the Belgian eID cards. The foreign national card project is completely managed by the Belgian National Register (“Instellingen en Bevolking” – “Institution et Population”, in charge of the technical management) in close collaboration with the Belgian Foreigners registration office (“Dienst Vreemdelingenzaken” – “Office des Etrangers”, in charge of the legal aspects). Today, 760.000 foreigners in Belgium have a cardboard foreign national card. All these cards will be replaced by a new eID-card. Zetes will also handle all replacement cards (thefts, losses, etc). This contract will contribute to the objectives announced for 2008 for the People ID division. Zetes is also preparing the pilot phase for the electronic cards intended for the children of foreign nationals (aged 0 to 12), which will be introduced in the near future.

Alain Wirtz, CEO of Zetes about the government decision: “We are very happy with this official project start-up. By renewing its confidence in Zetes, the Belgian government testifies to the high quality of our e-ID tools and best practices implemented in the Belgian e-ID card. Also on an international level Zetes is moving forward with its people ID business, through projects in Portugal, Ivory Coast, Burundi, Togo, Cape Verde, Congo and EU-projects in Belgium and Germany for international visas (Biodev II).”