ince last September, Germany has been issuing a new electronic residence permit. Instead of putting big stickers in your passport, they are now making a wallet-sized card for everyone with an electronic chip in it. The chip has all your personal info, including your biometric photo and fingerprints!
We just went in to renew our residence permits today, so we had to do the paperwork and stuff to transition to the electronic permits. Unfortunately, there's some wait time on them. With the old sticker system, we got our permits printed and put in our passports right there, and went home with them. Under the new system, cards are printed centrally in Berlin and mailed to the local office. So, right now we have to wait, and since our old permits have expired (we couldn't get an appointment earlier) we can't leave the country until they come. Apparently in about two weeks the Berlin office will send us a PIN that we can use two weeks thereafter to pick up our cards at the Heidelberg office. (I guess the two week wait is to be sure they've arrived already when we get there - ?)
The fun part about setting up for the electronic permit is fingerprinting! They now have a nifty little finger-sized scanner in the office to take fingerprints. I haven't been fingerprinted since I was a second grader in the days of the mid-80s kidnapping scares. Alas, what I learned is that I have really crappy, shallow fingerprints! She scanned my right pointer finger twice and it was rejected as not good enough both times. My right thumb turned out to be good enough, and then we moved on to my left hand. My pointer finger, thumb, and middle finger all failed to give a strong enough scan and she just gave up. Then my husband did it and the difference in his fingerprints - much clearer than mine - was pretty impressive. I hope nothing in my life ever depends on accurate fingerprinting.
EDIT: Apparently I misunderstood and the fingerprints are for the city's use, not for the residence permit.
Anyone have the electronic permit already? How is it convenience-wise - any noticeable difference?