AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Axalto announces its joint participation with Sagem in the European e-visa trial. The "Biodev" program is an initiative of a group of members of the European Union that aims to reinforce the control of borders and validity of visas in the "Schengen" free circulation zone constituted by 15 member states. The first deployments will be conducted by France and Belgium in certain ports, airports, embassies and consulates.
The e-visa is one of the first electronic travel documents containing biometric data (digital photos and fingerprints) that can be authenticated each time the holder crosses a border.
By performing more stringent checks, the e-visa will provide government authorities in the Schengen Zone with a more secure and efficient method of controlling the entry of people into their countries.
Featuring a contactless microprocessor chip compatible with ICAO* standards, the e-visa should also reduce border crossing times for travellers.
Axalto's technology will be embedded into the system supplied by Sagem in order to guarantee the authenticity of biometric information, while protecting the integrity and confidentiality of each individual's personal details.
The e-visa pilot will run for 15 months and will involve a total of five European countries acting as customers or suppliers of this trial technology. (For the record, 15 million visas are issued each year within the entire Schengen Zone.)
Mr Melchior, Inspector General of the French Interior Ministry, commented "We intend to look closely at the findings of this pilot programme before rolling out this system on a wide scale. The solutions were chosen for their technical excellence and their development teams, who offer renowned expertise in security and personal privacy protection."
Mr Jean-Paul Jainsky of Sagem added "We selected Axalto as a supplier because it was ideally qualified to meet all the technical and practical challenges involved in this project. Axalto was able to build on the experience gained in paper-based security systems to develop an electronic visa that meets state-of-the-art security standards."
Frederic Trojani, Public Sector & Transport Market Segment Director at Axalto said "This trial aims to measure the human, organisational and technical implications of capturing visa applicants' biometric data, storing these data on a highly secure medium, and retrieving this information each time the traveller crosses a border. With its international experience, it was natural for Axalto to be selected for this major project."