In March 2006, the French Interior Ministry awarded the issuance of ePassports to state printer, the Imprimerie Nationale (IN), with an extremely short five-week delivery deadline. The new documents had to store the holder’s facial image in a microprocessor and meet strict standards defined by the ICAO.
Alongside a handful of key French industry players, Gemalto worked closely with the IN to meet the deadline, providing Sealys eTravel Inlay, an inlay integrating a microprocessor into the back cover of the passport with guaranteed 5-year durability, which matches perfectly with the physical and mechanical properties of paper-based coversheets and IN printing equipment. The IN also adopted Sealys eTravel, the Gemalto’s native OS technology and its encrypting capabilities.
Thanks to the strong working relationship between everyone involved, the deadline was met and the first ePassports using Gemalto technology rolled out in April 2006. By the end of September 2006, over 1 million passports had been issued in a record five months. A total of 2 million ePassports were delivered by the end of 2006.