By Veronica Atkins, Silicon Trust.

The fast digitization of society continuously brings new challenges to the public sector, its offerings and its service infrastructure. Electronic identification (eID) allows citizens to access online services, using, for example, a secure token in the form of an ID card. During the last two decades, governments all over the globe have defined, specified and started the roll out of eID card schemes, in order to enable their citizens secured access to online services, as well as highly secured documents for personal verification. 

Implementing an eID card scheme is a massive investment for any government, especially if eID cards and electronic passports are implemented as separate projects. Thankfully, standardization as well as technology and processes across the value chain, allow governments to consider implementing a family concept for both ID1 (card) and ID3 (passport booklet) formats.

ICAO Doc 9303 Machine Readable Travel Documents 

ICAO’s initiative to develop standard specifications for passports and other travel documents followed the tradition established by the League of Nations Passport Conferences of the 1920s and the work of the League’s successor, the United Nations Organisation. ICAO’s mandate stems from the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the “Chicago Convention”), which covers the full range of requirements for efficient and orderly civil aviation operations, including provisions for clearance of persons through border controls.

ICAO Member States have recognized that standardization is a necessity and that the benefits of adopting the Doc 9303 standard formats for passports and other travel documents extend beyond the obvious advantages for states that have the machine readers and databases for use in automated clearance

systems. In fact, the physical characteristics and data security features of the documents themselves offer strong defense against alteration, forgery or counterfeit. The adoption of a standardized format for the visual zone of an MRTD (Machine Readable Travel Document) helps airline and government officials with the inspection process.

In terms of protection against tampering and fraud, the optional introduction of biometric data stored on a contactless security chip will provide greater protection and facilitate the use of automatic border control (ABC) systems.

The ICAO 9303 standard has been deployed for travel documents incorporating technology standards such as ISO/ IEC 19794 for biometrics and ISO/IEC 14443 for the contactless interface, as well as application standards for travel documents, like passports (ID3 format), Residence Permit cards and Registered Traveller cards.

Also, since 2006, the ICAO standard has also been applied increasingly for national eID cards (ID1 format). This has political and legislative implications, some application effects as well as an impact on production and of course, it affects the electronic, contactless interface of the card.

Synergies in production, infrastructure and document security 

Synergies between the 2 formats can be found in document production, in equipment procurement, as well as in the process workflow. Both ID1 and ID3 polycarbonate lamination use equipment for both multiple printed panels, the process for lamination applies to both formats with the stacked layers.

When it comes to PC foil printing and finishes, such as hologram and transparent foil, the same equipment and workflow is applicable.

In terms of the key management infrastructure with the purpose of creating and handling keys and certificates, a connected network is required for both formats. In the same way, equipment for capturing the biometric data, such as scanners or cameras, can be used by the registration office also for both document types. Equipment for optical and electronic personalization is available on the market, which can work with ID1 and ID3 documents in mixed mode.

A family concept for both ID cards and passports can be applied when it comes to the optical security concept for a country’s documents. All security levels are applicable to both formats, such as rainbow pre-print, UV-mark and special holographic foils.

Synergy in teaching and training of authorized persons 

The examples above give a good indication how a cross-format ID family concept can be utilized when it comes to document production and ID infrastructure. However, governments and

institutions that opt for a family concept when implementing their national ID document strategy, can utilize synergies beyond the production process.

Take, for example, national ID registration and issuance centers: When rolling out an ePassport project, each center requires a complete solution set – hardware, software, maintenance – even though, on average, only about 30% of the population will ever apply for a passport. If a government decides to use the existing set up also for national ID cards, the efficiency and return on investment is much higher.

Once the documents are issued, also the training and teaching modules of the personnel in charge of border security and immigration, as well as for national eServices, could be offered for both formats: eID card in ID1 & passport holder page in ID3.

Use cases for ICAO data set, biometrics, electronic security and interface 

Five different document types use the ICAO 9303 Standard:

  1. Passport, ID3, eMRP in more than 120 countries worldwide
  2. ID-Card, ID1, National eID-Card in more than 9  countries worldwide
  3. Residence Permit, ID1 in more than 50 countries  worldwide
  4. Frequent Traveller Card, ID1, China & Macao; China &  Hong Kong
  5. Seafarer Card, ID1, Myanmar Pilot, start in 2017; based  on the ILO recommendation.

Conclusion and outlook 

The ICAO 9303 standard has been well defined since 2004. To date, more than 100 Mio documents, based on this standard, are issued every year. This standard captures a comprehensive data set (LDS1.7), document reading security (e.g. BAC), stored biometric data & quality (ISO/ IEC 19794) and the used interface (ISO/IEC 14443); The re-use of this standard into other documents besides ID3- booklets, such as ID1 card and Residence Permit card can reduce cost, effort and time for production, for infrastructure, for training and for the forensic lab. For the end customer, the benefits are in the application. For example, when entering and leaving states where an additional visa or entry/ exit stamp is not required, the citizen has a choice. He or she can leave the passport behind and use the eID card with the ICAO- standard for travelling and for ABC systems at the border. This means less hassle and more convenience with a standard wallet- friendly ID1 card format.

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