Migration to Electronic passport has been in progress since 2005, and more than 150 states have started issuing this new type of travel document in mid-2019.
The passport format defined in 1920 is unchanged. The booklet size is the familiar B7 format (125 × 88 mm or 4.921 × 3.465 in).
But unlike ordinary passports, the electronic passport has a contactless microprocessor which stores a digital version of the ID photo as well as all of the ID data found on the first page of the paper passport.
Besides, digital fingerprints can be stored. In this case, it is referred to as a biometric passport or second generation of electronic passport or e-passport.
A decade after the launch of the first wave of electronic passports, we see four common trends in the approaches being adopted in electronic passport migration, the technologies selected, and the impacts on existing processes and the overall passport design.
Let's dig in.
4 trends in electronic passport migration
The new electronic passport programs set a pattern that should be considered when planning a migration to a new generation of electronic passports.
In this context, public authorities will:
First, plan a total document update.
Countries that have introduced new electronic passports over the past decade have taken the opportunity to update their national travel document.
They have added a range of additional visual and electronic security featuresto combat identity fraud and to strengthen national and international confidence in travel documents.
Second, reengineer existing processes.
The introduction of a microprocessor-based passport has also been the catalyst for reengineering life cycle processes, from enrollment to issuance. It is now facilitating border control as Automatic border control gates are being implemented in airports.
Third, count on the e-passport.
The critical components of new electronic passports involve technology and solutions which are robust and fully capable of delivering the results required.
Then, set new design expectations.
Last but not least, authorities have set new design expectations for distinctive passports that are as secure as they are attractive.
Many countries have been able to deliver unique travel documents that become works of art and symbols of trust and pride in the hands of millions.
Thales also identifies three significant changes in travel documentation:
More ultra-secure documents
We forecast a swift migration to tamper-proof polycarbonate data pages, which dramatically reduce the risk of fraud, as illustrated by the choice made for the 2020 British passport in April 2018 and Thailand more recently in 2019.
Digital travel credentials to emerge
Integrating the passport with innovative smartphone apps can provide impressive opportunities from border control to on-line identification and authentication for eGov services (see France's ALICEM) or even eKYC procedures.
We also expect rapid growth in secure digital travel credentials. The data from the ePassport is stored on the holder's smartphone or similar personal device to create a secure companion to the physical passport for travelers.
A new generation of ePassport to come
The next generation of electronic passports will be faster and become advanced 'smart objects' and include new electronic features.
They will soon digitally store travel information such as eVisas and entry/exit stamps to support even more efficient immigration control. With LDS2 (logical data structure version 2), the new generation of electronic passport to come will move from read-only to read and write.
The ICAO NTWG (New Technologies Working group) undertook the LSD2 conception phase in 2016 and is progressing fast.
Electronic passport: 2020 and beyond
Over 1B e-passports in circulation
With over 1,000 million ePassports now in circulation, smart borders and smart airports are emerging at a faster pace.
Combined with a strong push behind biometrics (particularly face recognition), they open the door to a comprehensive range of automated, self-service airport facilities for passengers, from check-in to immigration control and boarding
They offer travelers a taste of cross-border movement that is as secure as it is swift and seamless.
The development of secure and robust Identity Verification and Identity Management systems is becoming ever more technically complex and involve significant investments.
The good news?
Many convincing business models can be built around passport projects, and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is an effective instrument of delivery of services.
Thales' experience in Public-Private Partnership financing models - such as BOO or BOT - also& translates into a significant reduction in the Total Cost of Ownership for you.
Now it's your turn
As a significant player in the world of secure electronic passports, we believe Thales' mission is also to contribute to informing our partners and the wider industry, sharing best practices, and presenting expert analysis.
We'll be happy to talk with you about your e-passport migration project.
For more information regarding our services and solutions contact one of our sales representatives. We have agents worldwide that are available to help with your digital security needs. Fill out our contact form and one of our representatives will be in touch to discuss how we can assist you.
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