Over 60+ countries now issuing ePassports

More than 60 countries are now issuing a type of electronic passport, with many more planned for 2009.

The earliest ePassport issued was in Malaysia in March 1998 (see table below). Since 2004 there has been a steady flow of countries joining the ranks of ePassport issuers, with the latest being Taiwan, which began its issuance of chip-based passports on 30 December.

The table below documents the countries which have issued ePassports and the official dates (where possible).

While it is clear that the initial group of ePassport rollouts is approaching completion, there are numerous countries still to convert to the new technology, creating excellent opportunities for industry suppliers.

As well as these opportunities, the focus in many countries now switches to the physical use of the ePassports at the border and the upgrading/replacement of existing documents to include more biometrics, such as the fingerprint (Extended Access Control), or to add new applications, such as trusted traveler.

Countries issuing ePassports

1 Malaysia (1998.3.1)

2 Dominican Republic (2004.5.1)

3 Pakistan (2004.10.25)

4 Belgium (2004.11.24)

5 Thailand (2005.5.26)

6 Monaco (2005.7.18)

7 Sweden (2005.10.3)

8 Norway (2005.10.3)

9 Australia (2005.10.24)

10 Germany (2005.11.1)

11 New Zealand (2005.11.4)

12 UK (2006.3.6)

13 Japan (2006.3.20)

14 France (2006.4.12)

15 Singapore (2006.4.29)

16 Iceland (2006.5.23)

17 Austria (2006.6.16)

18 Portugal (2006.7.31)

19 Denmark (2006.8.1)

20 USA (2006.8.14)

21 Spain (2006.8.14)

22 Finland (2006.8.21)

23 Holland (2006.8.26)

24 Greece (2006.8.26)

25 Lithuania (2006.8.28)

26 Luxembourg (2006.8.28)

27 Slovenia (2006.8.28)

28 Poland (2006.8.28)

29 Hungary (2006.8.29)

30 Czech Republic (2006.9.1)

31 Russia (2006.9.1)

32 Andorra (2006.9.1)

33 Switzerland (2006.9.4)

34 San Marino (2006.10.12)

35 Ireland (2006.10.16)

36 Liechstenstein (2006.10.26)

37 Italy (2006.10.26)

38 Somalia (2007.1.21)

39 Hong Kong (2007.2.5)

40 Brunei (2007.2.17)

41 Cambodia (2007.3.6)

42 Macedonia (2007.4.2)

43 Estonia (2007.5.22)

44 Ukraine (2007.6.1)

45 Iran (2007.7.1)

46 Venezuela (2007.7.1)

47 Maldives (2007.7.26)

48 Nigeria (2007.8.17)

49 Latvia (2007.11.20)

50 Bahamas (2007.12.5)

51 Senegal (Dec 2007)

52 Republic of Moldova (2008.1.1)

53 Slovakia (2008.1.15)

54 South Korea (2008.3.11)

55 Qatar (2008.4.20)

56 Montenegro (2008.5)

57 India (2008.6.25)

58 Serbia (2008.7.7)

59 Turkmenistan (2008.7.10)

60 Ivory Coast (2008.7.30)

61 Malta (2008.10.8)

62 Republic of China (Taiwan) (2008.12.29)

A range of future projects includes:

* Canada: has recently introduced biometrics in the use of passports with the help of digitized photos. The future passports may contain a chip that holds a picture of the person and personal information such as name and date of birth. In the 2008 Federal Budget, Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance announced electronic passport will be introduced in 2011.

* Croatia: On 12 December 2008, the Croation Government reportedly announced that an electronic passport will be introduced from 1 July 2009.

* India: On 25 June 2008 the Indian Passport Authority issued its first e-passport to the President of India. This is the first phase of deployment in the country and will be initially restricted to Diplomatic Passport holders. It is expected to be made available to ordinary citizens from September 2009 onwards.

* The Philippines: The government announced its intentions of implementing the issuance of biometric passports by the end of 2008. The passport will bear the same features with the MRP passports that were previously issued, with the addition of the page that contains the microchip for the passport.

* Israel: Israel is expected to start issuing its new electronic ID card before the end of next year. This follows the signing of a contract today by the Israeli Ministry of Interior and a consortium led by HP Israel. The biometric enrolment solution will be implemented within the 2009 timeframe, and, crucially, will also serve the country’s planned ePassport project, also expected to roll out before the end of 2009.

* Botswana: A contract was awarded to Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) for the manufacture and delivery of 150,000 electronic passports (e-passports). According to reports it will take two years to implement the system, with passports scheduled for issue to the citizens of Botswana from 2010.

* South Africa: Trüb announced recently that it won a tender from the South African Government Printing Works to provide the high security polycarbonate date page for South Africa’s new ePassport, set to be launched in Spring 2009.

Source: Security Document World