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Thales, a trusted partner for the launch of the new Finnish electronic travel and identity documents

  • During a press conference on 27 February the National Police Board officially unveiled the new Finnish electronic travel and identity documents, which incorporate the latest security features and biometric solutions to fight ID fraud and forgery.
  • Last year, the National Police Board of Finland renewed its trust in Thales to provide Finnish citizens with the new secure electronic ePassport, eID card and eResident Permit.
  • The five-year contract includes the design, production, personalisation with citizens’ data, and delivery of the documents.

The National Police Board of Finland, a pioneer in electronic identity documents, has announced the go live of the new Finnish electronic travel and identity documents, scheduled for 13 March. Thales was awarded the global contract for passports, eID cards, and eResident Permits for a second time. The Group has a longstanding history and expertise in producing and delivering highly secure travel and identity documents for more than 150 government programmes around the world. Thales has contributed to the security of the Finnish documents since 1999, when they issued the Finnish eID card, the first polycarbonate electronic identity card in the world.

The contract covers the design, production and personalisation of Finnish passports, identity cards, residence cards and resident permit cards, as well as the secure delivery of the pre-verified documents. In addition, the agreement includes many services to support the client, such as temporary passport personalisation, warehousing, invoicing, reporting and service monitoring.

Building on the existing set of physical security attributes, which are already highly resistant to fraud, the documents include new anti-forgery features, along with a brand new design. The security features in the polycarbonate datapage and eID card have been completely redesigned and updated to be even more tamperproof, with the new translucent polycarbonate structure. Furthermore, the much larger size of photo in the ID cards and a colour picture in the passport paper page help verification. A new feature in both the passports and the ID cards is the 2D bar code for easier machine recognition and reading.

The new Finnish documents also benefit from the latest innovations against security attacks. This includes the unique ability to upgrade the documents’ security software in the field, as part of Thales’s commitment to cybersecurity.

The basic setup of the delivery process to the end-users remains the same, in that the deliveries are mainly made to the distributor outlets throughout Finland. The distribution of the permit documents has been taken over by a new player and Thales subcontractor. However, the service offer in the delivery process will be more extensive, as not only passports but also ID cards can be obtained through a rapid delivery option. In addition, the service network of express deliveries will be extended to a larger geographical area.

The contract has an initial duration of five years, with a potential extension of twice one-to-two years.

According to the Chief of License Administration Ms. Hanna Piipponen from the National Police Board of Finland: "The Finnish authorities have been cooperating with Thales for decades, and we look forward to continuing this cooperation. The most visible outcome of this launch is the new design of passports and ID cards that presents the Finnish Archipelago Sea, the world’s largest archipelago, and one of the quintessential Finnish landscapes."

“We are very honoured by the confidence shown in Thales to renew the delivery of these world-class ID documents to Finnish citizens. Thales is highly specialised in digital identity and security, and we have an extensive track record in successfully providing passports and other identity documents, both in Finland and worldwide”, says Tommi Nordberg, CEO, Thales DIS in Finland.

Providing cards with extended usage lifecycle to its clients is part of Thales’s commitment to sustainability. Thales also supports sustainable projects worldwide by offsetting the carbon emissions from all its travel and ID solutions.

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Vanessa Viala - Digital Identity & Security Press Officer
+33 6 07 34 00 34