June 2012


eAT – elektronischer Aufenthaltsitel – Question

In the near-ish future, I will be picking up my eAT – the elektronischer Aufenthaltsitel – that will be permission for me to stay in Germany a bit longer.

The eAT format is a credit-card sized document that includes a chip that contains biometric identification information.

Providing this led the most amusing moment of my registration this week – when I was asked how tall I was – but, as the friendly bureaucrat I was talking to eyed my passport, “nicht im fuss” – “not in feet”. Fortunately (thanks to my having surfed gay dating websites) I know my height in centimeters.

Meanwhile, and the point of my question, with the new eAT format, I have the possibility of enjoying the “online identification function” – that will let me take out car insurance online (so they claim), avoid sitting in waiting rooms, and shop (securely) online.

When I go to pick up my eAT, I will be asked if I want it turn on or not.

For my fellow expats in the EU (but who are not EU citizens) – who have already obtained the eAT (or whatever it is called in other countries) – do you have it turned on? Have you ever found it useful? What about the electronic signature function (QES) – has anybody ever used it?

Germany only started issuing eAT last September, so there aren’t that many out there amongst my non-EU expatriate friends – any clues would be greatly appreciated.

7 comments to eAT – elektronischer Aufenthaltsitel – Question

  • We didn’t get the online whatevery stuff because the lady said it wasn’t that important and that we could sign up for it later any time if we wanted.

  • Michele J

    We don’t have the eAT yet, but the only things I can see the extra functions being useful for are:
    – Websites with content for those 18+. Once I wanted to watch Tatort for instance from the ARD Mediathek and you have to identify yourself as 18+ with your ID card or wait until after 10 pm (or something like that)
    – Buying cigarettes from a machine. Really high up on your list I’m sure.

    The other functions – signing contracts online, automatically filling out forms – seem more for convenience and it looks like you would need some kind of USB card reader anyway? So I agree with CN, I would only sign up for it later if I found I needed it.

    I’m more interested in your take on the fingerprint thing? I know resistance is futile but this sends me right to the red zone.

  • I have the online stuff, but haven’t used it. They sent a letter with a few pin codes, but I haven’t really tried to use them yet. I figure it doesn’t hurt to at least have the option of using it.

  • Here in the UK all foreigners get them, so that we can be tagged, tracked and tallied. I’m not so fond of the government holding my fingerprints as is, so I find this card beyond intrusive. Over here, we have no benefits as you mention there, except that potentially it will speed up the passport queues (which I’ve yet to try since I only received my card in March).

  • I got a new Oz passport in July, just before the eAT came into effect. The Kreisverwaltungskasper stuck a visa in the passport, but said that I might want to get an eAT for convenience. It would save me the trouble of getting a new sticker every time the visa expired, and since I am a dual national, of perhaps choosing to travel on one passport and needing to carry the other.

    My husband, though, renewed his visa and got an eAT. Hasn’t been much use to him so far. Every bit of travel he’s done outside Schengen has also been outside the EU, so he’s needed to carry a passport anyway. But I assume, on a trip to someplace like the UK or Ireland, one could simply use it in place of a passport.

    Not sure of the law, but many Europeans use their Euro ID cards that way; recently, we were driving with a French colleague into Croatia, and she used her ID card in place of a passport, even though Croatia is outside both Shengen and the EU. One assumes she could do it since neighbouring countries to the EU are required to maintain bilateral agreements with those EU states which border them (in this case, Slovenia)

    I might get the card, anyway. I hate carrying a passport when we whip quickly across the border into Switzerland. CH is a Shengen country, but I always feel a bit edgy when the border guard gives us the once over before he decides if he’ll spot-check us. I imagine a DE driver’s license would do for ID, but I’ve never taken the chance. The eAT, presumably, is a wallet-sized alternative to carrying the larger document.

  • I moved here in November, so I have the eAT; I didn’t turn on the electronic bits because my colleague (who is a local) expressed concerns regarding its security.

    Frankly, I don’t think the electronic aspects currently give you any benefit that you can’t find some other way around, though. ::shrug::

  • ann

    Mmmmm. I haven’t heard that you can use them in place of a passport for anything. In most of the cases I have read on TT, the Beamten have stressed that the cards can only be used together WITH a passport (for us 3rd countriers).

    What Seven said on security.