ECJ: Mandatory Fingerprints in Passports in Line with EU Privacy Rights

In its latest preliminary ruling on the mandatory collection of fingerprints for passports (C-61/22), the ECJ has decided in favor of the mandatory fingerprint collection, in principle.

In the proceedings, following the submission of questions from a German administrative court, the ECJ has determined that the mandatory collection of fingerprints for ID cards is not a per se violation of individual privacy rights, but has addressed that it deems the legal basis for such collection under the EU laws (Regulation (EU) 2019/1157) for insufficient.

The EU lawmakers are now given a grace period until end of 2026, until a new regulation must be set into force to regulate the matter. For the meantime, Regulation 2019/1157 remains in force, due to public security considerations.

The verdict strengthens the ECJ’s line of steady ruling ever since 2013, when the matter of fingerprints on passport documents first occurred: as much as the court recognises the benefit of the collection of special categories of personal data for regulatory purposes, the individual’s right for privacy and the protection of their personal data must be protected to the utmost possible extent and infringements may only be justified on basis if valid and legal sources, catering for the rights and interests of the individual.

Keen on a discussion on the ever-evolving regulatory landscape of privacy and data protection, latest legal developments and how effective data protection can boost your business and strengthen your brand? Speak to Nikolas Lotz (, Lawrence Marchese ( and Thees Buschmann ( from Chevron Group.