The electronic passport in 2017

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The electronic passport in 2016

Migration to electronic passports has been in progress since 2005 and more than 120 states have started issuing this new type of travel document. Unlike conventional passports, the electronic passport has a microprocessor which stores a digital version of the ID photo as well as all of the ID data found on the first page of the paper passport. 

In addition, digital fingerprints can be stored. In this case it is referred to as a biometric passport or second generation of electronic passport or e-passport.

Ten years after the launch of the first wave of electronic passports, we see 4 common trends in the approaches being adopted in electronic passport migration, the technologies selected, and the impacts on existing processes and the overall passport design.

Let's dig in.

4 common trends in ePassport migration​​

The recent ePassport programs set a pattern that should be considered when planning a migration to a new generation of electronic passport.​

In this context, public authorities will:

First​, plan a total document update.


Countries that have introduced new electronic passports over the past decade have taken the opportunity to totally update their national travel document.

They have added a range of additional visual and electronic security features to combat identity fraud and to strengthen national and international confidence in travel documents. 

Second, re-engineer existing processes.

The introduction of a microprocessor-based passport has also been the catalyst for reengineering life cycle processes, from enrollment to issuance, and is now facilitating border control as automatic border control gates are being implemented in airports. 

Third, count on the e-passport.

It is clear that the key components of new electronic passports involve technology and solutions which are robust and fully capable of delivering the results required. 

Then, set new design expectations.

Last but not least, authorities have set new design expectations for distinctive passports that are as secure as they are attractive. 

Many countries have been able to deliver unique travel documents that become works of art and symbols of trust and pride in the hands of millions. The Norwegian epassport​ in the making and to be launched in 2018 and the Finnish epassport launched in January 2017 are two vivid examples illustrating this trend.​

​Get the most valuable experience

Gemalto is currently contributing to more than 40 passport initiatives and border management programs. 

Our contribution to these projects provides us with :​

  • an excellent overview of the technology involved, 
  • its applications,
  •  the quality of information systems, 
  • as well as the context of its use.

We are proud to have helped our customers succeed in designing some of the most secure and attractive passports to appear in recent years.

As a major player in the world of secure electronic passports, we believe Gemalto's mission is also to contribute to informing our partners and the wider industry, sharing best practices and presenting expert analysis. We'll be happy to talk with you about your e-passport migration project.