Electronic Passports Around The World


Expected to award contract for 64K passport last month. Only biometric will be digital photo. Minimum chip memory: 60K. Plans pilot with 6,000 passports by end of year.

Issued first ICAO-compliant passports this year in test with diplomatic personnel. Passports provided by France-based Groupe Francois-Charles Oberthur and smart card subsidiary Oberthur Card Systems.

Plans pilot in August 2005. Only biometric will be digital photo. No tender at press time. Issues 2.5 million passports per year.

Awarded contract this year to Finland-based Setec to deliver 3 million passports over five years. First passports will not contain chips, but issuance of chip-based passports expected by October 2005 deadline set by U.S.

European Union
Mandated common passport standards for EU member states earlier this year. Standards expected by December. Visas and residency permits require two fingerprints plus digital photo; fingerprints may not be mandatory on passports.

Malaysia Pioneered smart card-based passports with 8K chip embedded in passport book from 1998. 5.5 million issued since then, supplied by Iris Corp. of Malaysia. Government planning upgrade to 64K, ICAO-compliant passport.

Began test in August of passports and national ID cards with contactless smart card chips storing digital photo and two fingerprints. Aim is to enroll 15,000 citizens over six months. Holland-based Sdu Identification supplying documents and personalization services, using 72K Philips chip.

Proposed to ICAO a smart card that can be slipped into a sleeve in the passport to meet U.S. immigration law, or removed to serve as a driver's license, national ID card and for online access to commercial and government services.

Sweden Awarded 100 million euro, five-year contract in August to Finland's Setec for delivery of passports with 64K chips. Issuance of electronic passports to begin by October 2005. Contract also covers delivery of voluntary national ID card. Sweden issues 1 million passports per year.

United Kingdom
Government projects issuing electronic passport or passport smart card as family of identity documents that will include driver's license and national ID card. Currently testing biometrics with 10,000 volunteers. Projects issuing biometric passports by early 2006. Issues 5.7 million passports per year, expected to grow to 6.8 million by 2007.

United States
Expected to award contract for 64K passport last month. Only biometric will be digital photo. Plans trial in December, first civilian issuance in spring 2005 and full conversion to electronic passports by late 2005. Issues 8 million passports per year.