In January 2007, Gemalto has been selected to provide its highly secure
polycarbonate solution for the Latvian
e passport also known as pase.
The Latvian authorities issued over 1 million e-passports over 5 years.
Gemalto is supplying Giesecke & Devrient, the system integrator, with its secure polycarbonate data page that also implement highly secure printing features.
electronic passport data page consists of several layers of
polycarbonate sheets, which at the lamination process are melted together to form one homogenous structure. Security elements - like background printing, CLI/MLI and DOVID etc. - are "sealed" in the inner layers, securely inside the polycarbonate material. Personalization is done by laser engraving and the personalization data e.g. photograph is burnt inside the polycarbonate, not to the surface.
Thus, in practice the ready-made page is almost impossible to forge, delaminate or be otherwise unlawfully manipulated.
With its Latvia is of course part of the Visa Waiver Program which enables its nationals to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa.
Latvian travelers must however have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel.
New enhanced biometric passport
A new Latvian passport was launched in January 2015.
The passport contains 34 pages and the biographical polycarbonate data page. It's new design has been inspired by the Latvian song and dance festival and the original print of the Latvian anthem and also include the coat of arms of the country.
The new passport comes with new and improved security features.
Latvia, Europe and the move to e passport
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the US changed its entry requirements and obliged all countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program to start deploying electronic passports as of October 26, 2006.
Subsequently, in December 2004, the European Commission (EC) passed the (EC) 2252/2004 regulation, calling for common technical specifications to enable biometric markers on travel documents.
Then, on February 28, 2005, the EC adopted the first phase of the ePassport technical specifications, which set August 28, 2006 as the deadline for all member states to include a facial biometric image on ePassports.
The second phase of the technical specifications from (EC) 2252/2004, which called for the use of fingerprints as a second biometric marker in electronic assports, was adopted by the European Commission on June 28, 2006.
The deadline for compliance to start issuing this biometric passport was set for June 28, 2009.
Under the specifications, when implementing fingerprint images on second generation ePassports, access rights to read the fingerprints must be further protected by a security measure called Extended Access Control.
Latvia is part of 26 countries forming the