Electronic ID cards in Belgium: the keystone of eGovernment (2016 update)

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As of 2016, over 20 million Gemalto's national ID cards have been issued in the country.

Initiated in 2003, the BelPIC (Belgian Personal Identity Card Project) program has reached 100% of its population targets at the end of 2011. 

The polycarbonate credit card-sized document is the official and mandatory ID document for Belgian citizens over 12. 

The new generation of electronic ID cards is now being deployed since 2014 and over 2 million cards are delivered per year.

Part of the Belgian web site dedicated to the national identity cards and its applications

The micro-processor based ID card contains two certificates: one for authentication and one for electronic signature.

A keystone of the Belgian eGovernment

The government issued ID has become a pillar of the Belgian eGovernment initiative.

The country's eGov strategy aims to create a single virtual Public Administration while respecting the privacy of users, as well as the specificities and competences of all Government bodies and administrative layers. Its main objective is to improve the delivery of public services for citizens and businesses by rendering more convenient and more open.

The national eID card has become a familiar tool for interaction between citizens and the authorities, to secure online transactions and facilitate e-business.

Early 2016, over 700 public applications are available and are using on-line authentication: 67% with the national eID, 20% using a token and 13% with another method.

In 2015, monthly authentication requests ranged from 1.5 with a peak of almost 4 million in May 2015.

Belgium is starting to reap the digital dividends of such a national eID scheme.

For example, in 2015, 67% of all new companies created in the Kingdom were done on-line – source Fedict 2015 annual report.

Belgian citizens can also use their eID cards to report crimes from an electronic terminal, directly over the Internet, to the federal police. Following successful feasibility studies, crimes such as vandalism, shoplifting and bicycle thefts can be reported in just a few clicks.

The citizen reporting the crime is identified by his/her secure eID card. The process saves significant time compared to the traditional lengthy process of reporting crime at police stations, which takes an average of two hours.

Belgian national eID scheme

The scheme is part of the Belgian government's plan to simplify the country's administrative processes.

A remarkable approach

Belgian citizens have a single, sovereign identity. They also have a single trusted digital identity why provides citizens with access to all services.

In the background, privacy protection operators are actively working to protect privacy, and control flows and the barriers between different areas. This essential pragmatism has generated spectacular savings in terms of the costs of managing and using secure eID cards.

Pragmatism and consultation with all parties involved have been the keystones for the success of this program. But probably the most remarkable aspect is that Belgium wasted no time by becoming engaged in ideological struggles on data protection.

Security is not a way to better lock up the past, but to open the door to a safer future.

It is not data that is being protected, but data flows, because we know that we need to prevent the misuse of such flows, from beginning to end.

In essence: modernity for citizens, without ideologies. In particular, this is founded on excellent regional cooperation, expanding the scale of achievements by investing in all local social services.

eID: a central link in the chain of trust in the country

The Belgian eID is an essential element in the chain of trust that provides a framework for safe digital exchanges. By its virtue of certifying the identity of the person doing the exchange and protecting access to citizens' personal data, the Belgian eID card actively participates in the success of e-Government policy. 

The best part?

Discover our dossier on the lesso​ns learnt from the eID program in Belgium

Learn from eGov best practices and digital dividends