Getting upgraded: newly improved guidelines for testing machine-readable passports just out

Few minutes to read
By Clare Naden
Tagged as Consumers
Published on

Passports have come a long way since the days of clunky hand-written books and long(er) immigration queues. These days, the technology is as slick as the security is strict. Ensuring machine-readable passports work effectively and last their lifetime is therefore a rigorous procedure. ISO and IEC internationally recognized test-method guidelines have just been updated to do just that.

Machine-readable passports (MRPs) mean faster processing and more accurate matching against immigration databases and watchlists, which is why most passports these days fall into that category. To ensure they meet international regulatory requirements, they are standardized against the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Document 9303. The ISO and IEC standard for testing the durability of these MRPs is an official companion to the ICAO document, defining what is necessary for passports to be compliant. It has just been updated to make it even more robust and fit for today’s globalized world.

ISO/IEC 18745-1:2018, Test methods for machine readable travel documents (MRTD) and associated devices – Part 1: Physical test methods for passport books (durability), now replaces the ICAO’s own technical report for durability, specifying the minimum criteria to be achieved in order to meet ICAO’s expectations.

Tom Kinneging, Convener of the working group that developed the standard said it is essential not just to meet legal requirements but to ensure MRPs withstand the stresses it can be placed under.

“Having a MRP is only useful if it doesn’t fall apart or lose its readability over time,” he said.

“This standard gives details for effective testing so their feasible lifespan can be assessed, and they can thus be built to last.”

ISO/IEC 18745-1 was developed and updated by working group 3 Machine readable travel documents, which is part of the ISO and IEC technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 17Cards and security devices for personal identification, the secretariat of which is held by BSI, ISO’s member for the UK.

It can be purchased from your national ISO member or the ISO Store.

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