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Red tape quirk When your birthdate lands you in trouble

Jmiaa Quadrelli-El Mrahi has a peculiar birthday: 00.00.1968, according to her Swiss identity card.

This incomplete information not only causes problems at border crossings, but also when trying to withdraw money from her own bank account, or even when applying for a customer loyalty card in a shop. It may also make it impossible for her to fill in online forms with her date of birth, as the double 00 is not accepted.

Quadrelli was born in Morocco 50 years ago, but the documents of the North African state don’t mention an exact birth date. At the age of 25, she married and moved to Switzerland, where she was initially given January 1 as her birthday.

But eight years ago, the Swiss administration decided – in line with official regulations – to make the date 00.00.1968 her official birthday.

Quadrelli is one of 820 Swiss citizens who hold ID cards with such incomplete birthdate information, according to the Federal Police Office.

Swiss authorities refuse to take responsibility, according to the Kassensturz consumer programme on Swiss public television, SRF. Officials argue that they simply apply the regulations of an international accord. In a similar case some years ago, a Swiss court ruled against the request of a Tibetan refugee to receive an ID card without the troublesome double 00 birthdate.

Moves are afoot in parliament to review the situation. But, as it stands, the legal situation doesn’t make it any easier to resolve the quirky problem.


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