No More Bans for ID Photos in Headscarves: New Decree Finally in Effect

20.11.2019

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As of today, we are happy to inform you that the case is finally closed, as the bureaucrats now have no formal reason for refusal. On 19 November, a new Decree of the Ministry of Interior “On Requirements for Digitized Photos of Persons Faces Taken for Issuing or Renewal of Documents Identifying a Person or Confirming Their Special Status or Ukrainian Nationality” is finally in effect.

Paragraph 12 of Chapter II clearly states that a person wearing some headwear in everyday life due to their religious beliefs doesn’t have to take it off for taking a photo for any type of documents: “Taking pictures wearing headwear, cape and other accessories contributing to one’s personal style is not allowed, unless a person is constantly wearing the headdress in everyday life due to their religious beliefs”.

The Decree also allows taking ID pictures in medical bands, as well as with artificial objects on their head, neck, shoulders or torso if they have a medical condition when those bands and objects are a necessity (which is certified by a respective medical institution).

Annex 2 contains visual examples of ID photographs, both acceptable and not acceptable for being on Documents identifying a person or confirming their special status or Ukrainian nationality, where a Muslim headscarf is depicted among other religious headdresses as an example of acceptable ID photo.

At that, Paragraph 7 indicates that “the face must be pictured in a mug shot, with full face and shoulders in frontal position. The person depicted must look straight into the camera, with their eyes open (i.e. the irises and pupils clearly visible), with a neutral expression, mouth closed, head and neck neither bent nor turned. Both sides of the face must be clearly visible, with the face being in focus top to chin, and nose to ears”.

Those provisions is also reflected in Annex 2, where pictures of a woman whose headscarf shadows her face and covers her cheekbones, as well as a woman whose lower face is covered, are marked as unacceptable.

We congratulate our fellow Muslims as well as people of other religious views for whom the demand to remove their headdress is a violation of their freedom to practice their religion and culture!

According to Mufti Said Ismagilov, Ukraine finally not only ratified, but also implemented the international standard, long awaited by many people of different faiths whose religious beliefs demand wearing their headdress in their everyday life:

— Last year, the Ministry of Interior held a round table, where Christians, Jews and Muslims unanimously pleaded for implementing those regulations. On behalf of Ukrainian Muslims, I’d like to thank every state official who invested their time and effort in completing that important task!