How Germany is trying to streamline the process of getting an ID card
For many people in Germany, getting new official documents requires two appointments - one to apply for the document, and one to pick it up. But there are plans to change that.
According to the Interior Ministry, Germany's federal printing office (the Bundesdruckerei) is examining whether it could send any new ID documents directly to people as soon as they are printed, meaning that residents won't have to pick them up.
A spokeswoman for the ministry told DPA that the government department had asked the Bundesdruckerei to investigate whether posting the documents would be workable, and to submit a price estimate for the scheme.
Though some states do send ID cards in the post, most German residents face a second trip to the Bürgeramt (citizens office) or Ausländerbehörde (immigration office) to pick up their new ID. There have been calls to speed up the system for some time.
If new identity documents were sent directly by the Bundesdruckerei, there would be no need for people to collect them from the relevant office. This could be a relief for both residents and local authorities.
The Association of Towns and Cities of North Rhine-Westphalia welcomed the news and urged the government to move quickly in changing the system.
At present, the Federal Ministry of the Interior hasn't specified when the change could come into force. It is also unclear whether it would also affect things like driving licences.
The spokesperson said the public would be updated as soon as the proposals for the scheme were available and a timetable for implementation had been drawn up.
German states are responsible for local passport and identity card authorities and would also need to be informed about a possible new system.