Veridos welcomes new ICAO travel document specifications

Berlin, July 14, 2021 - ICAO has issued the 8th edition of Doc 9303 for the standardization of machine-readable travel documents. Veridos, a leading expert on integrated identity solutions and provider of ICAO-compliant identity documents as well as accompanying systems, supported the creation of the current Doc 9303 edition through various contributions in consultation with international standardization bodies.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has published the 8th edition of its Doc 9303 - the world's fundamental document for the standardization of machine-readable travel documents. In the latest edition, ICAO has incorporated existing Technical Reports and has made several changes and clarifications, including the following:

Visible Digital Seals. In its latest Doc 9303, ICAO has included specifications for Visible Digital Seals (VDS) for visa and emergency travel documents. VDS comprise a two-dimensional barcode that contains cryptographically signed biographical data and any additional data needed. By adding this code, authorities strengthen the anti-counterfeiting capabilities of visas and emergency travel documents. The definitions specified by ICAO also enable public authorities to use VDS for all types of chipless documents. These include so-called breeder documents such as birth certificates, which can serve as evidence of identity in a secure identity document issuance process. As forgers continue to increase their focus on such documents, ensuring a high level of security is becoming even more important.

A slightly modified VDS approach is specified as the key technology for secure vaccination and test certificates by a recently published ICAO Technical Report, which Veridos follows in its VeriGO® TrueSeal solution.

Biometric data. The 8th edition of Doc 9303 supports new ISO/IEC standards for the encoding of biometric face, finger and iris image data, which will further improve the biometric verification of travelers. These new data formats can be extended in a future-proof way, i.e. new data elements can be added without the need for all inspection systems to immediately recognize these data elements. This allows for the use of state-of-the-art technology without long transition periods. In addition, the new formats for the iris image data require significantly less storage capacity on the contactless chip, which supports the adoption of this biometric feature.

Card Access Number. The Card Access Number (CAN) is a six-digit number that can be easily read by NFC enabled smartphones for secure reading of the contactless ID document chip. In its current Doc 9303, ICAO recommends where the CAN should be placed on passports, enabling quick access by operators, which speeds up and simplifies the mobile verification of documents using the PACE (Password Authenticated Connection Establishment) protocol.

"We welcome the new ICAO specifications. They optimize the security of travel documents, improve the interoperability of systems, and increase the convenience of verification procedures," says Andreas Räschmeier, CEO of Veridos. "Veridos is proud to supply our customer with ICAO-compliant identity documents and systems and to contribute to secure travel for millions of citizens around the world."

ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations with headquarters in Montreal, Canada. One of its many tasks is the development of standards for machine-readable travel documents. For this purpose, ICAO publishes "Doc 9303 Machine Readable Travel Documents", which has been continuously developed since the first edition in 1980. The document is currently in its 8th edition. Experts are already working on ICAO Technical Reports supplementing the current edition, which will further reflect the emerging needs for standardization of digital travel documents.

ICAO "Doc 9303 Machine Readable Travel Documents" is published here.

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