HomeVisa & ImmigrationWhat's a Machine Readable Passport?

What’s a Machine Readable Passport?

Scanning Machine Readable passport at immigration
Scanning a Machine Readable passport on the immigration

As journey throughout borders turned extra well-liked, so did the necessity to standardize journey paperwork enhance. A method this has been achieved is by introducing machine-readable passports within the Eighties.

This text will reply the commonest questions on them:

  • What are machine-readable passports (MRPs)?
  • Which nations situation such passports?
  • How to determine in case your passport is machine readable?
  • Are biometric passports the identical factor?


What’s a machine readable passport?

Machine-readable passports are government-issued journey paperwork that embody information that may be learn by a pc.

That is information in regards to the private info of the passport holder comparable to identify, nationality, passport quantity, and date of expiry of the passport.

The machine-readable information is 2 traces of symbols, letters, and numbers.

As you undergo an airport, your passport is checked a number of occasions. To make sure standardization and to hurry up the verification course of, machine-readable passports have been launched in 1980. Governments all over the world step by step started issuing such passports and since 2015, nearly all passports are machine readable.


Sections in a machine-readable passport

Sections in a Machine Readable passport
Sections in a Machine Readable passport

A machine-readable passport’s identification web page has two sections: Visible Inspection Zone (VIZ), and Machine Readable Zone (MRZ). 

The VIZ is made to be processed by people – it options private particulars and a photograph of the proprietor in addition to particulars in regards to the passport.

The MRZ carries the identical info however is standardized to be used by computer systems.

The Visible Inspection Zone (VIZ)

The Visible Inspection Zone takes up the higher portion of the Id Web page in a passport. It’s meant to be checked by folks, not machines. It isn’t standardized and may differ from pasport to passport. Generally, the VIZ incorporates:

  • A photograph of the passport holder on the left;
  • Private information, doc situation and expiry dates on the proper.

By wanting on the visual-inspection zone, an official can shortly receive details about the particular person’s full identify, date of delivery, ID quantity, in addition to the passport expiry date and issuing authority.

The Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ)

The machine-readable zone of a passport’s identification web page is slightly below the Visible Inspection Zone. It consists of numbers, letters and symbols and is what computer systems learn.

Areas, hyphens and punctuation are represented by “<” and apostrophes are omitted.

The MRZ in passports is mostly 2 traces of 44 characters. From left to proper and high to backside, it incorporates:

  • The letter P, for “passport”
  • Nation code
  • Surname
  • First identify
  • Center identify
  • Passport quantity
  • Nationality
  • Date of delivery
  • Passport expiry date
  • (Non-obligatory) Private identification quantity

In between these and on the finish of the second line there are a number of so-called “checking digits” (often known as checksum) that are used to confirm the data.


Find out how to know when you have a machine-readable passport?

In case your passport was issued within the final 10 years, likelihood is that it’s a machine-readable one.

To test that, open your passport on the Id Web page and check out the underside part (the MRZ). In the event you see traces of letters, numbers, and “<” symbols, then your passport is machine-readable.

In the event you’re nonetheless uncertain, contact your nearest embassy, consulate or passport-issuing workplace.


What’s the distinction between a machine-readable and a biometric passport?

Machine Readable passport vs Biometric passport or e-Passport
Machine Readable passport vs Biometric passport or e-Passport

Machine-readable passports and biometric passports are NOT the identical factor.

Biometric passports, additionally known as E-passports, are a brand new technology of identification paperwork that comprise an RFID chip. This radio frequency identification chip permits the passport to be scanned contactlessly.

The chip additionally incorporates biometric information in regards to the passport holder like fingerprints or an iris scan making the biometric passport very safe.

Biometric passports have a particular brand on the entrance cowl.

Biometric passports nonetheless retain the machine-readable zone. Because of this all biometric passports are machine-readable.

Nevertheless, until there’s a particular brand on the entrance cowl of the passport, it isn’t a biometric one (e-passport).

Some nations, most notably the US beneath the visa-waiver settlement, now require that your passport be biometric. In such conditions, a easy machine-readable passport is not sufficient!


Which nations situation machine-readable passports?

All ICAO member nations situation machine-readable passports.

The Worldwide Civil Aviation Group (ICAO) has made it obligatory for signatories to situation machine-readable passports from 1 April 2010 and all non-machine-readable passports to run out by 1 April 2015.

Solely two nations should not members of ICAO: the Holy See and Lichtenstein, which situation machine-readable passports anyway. 

This in impact implies that all nations on the planet situation machine-readable passports immediately.


Does anybody nonetheless have a non-machine-readable passport?

In extraordinary circumstances, some nations could situation non-machine-readable passports in lieu of stolen or misplaced passports. These can solely be used to return to the person’s dwelling nation. 

Aside from that, all normal passports issued by all nations on the planet immediately are machine-readable.


Steadily Requested Questions (FAQs)

What’s the ICAO line in a passport?

The ICAO line in a passport is simply one other identify for the machine-readable zone (MRZ). ICAO line or MRZ incorporates 2 traces of 44 characters. It consists of numbers, letters and symbols that passport scanners can learn. Areas, hyphens and punctuation are represented by “<” and apostrophes are omitted.

The explanation why MRZ can be known as as ICAO line is that the Worldwide Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) created the usual for the MRZ in Doc 9303. The 2 phrases are completely interchangeable.

Is a USA passport machine-readable?

Sure, the USA points solely machine-readable passports. All Odd, Official and Diplomatic US passports are machine-readable.

Is the Indian passport machine-readable?

Sure, Indian passports are machine-readable. India has been issuing machine-readable passports since 2001. Even these with 20 years of validity issued earlier than 2001 expired in 2015 when the Indian Authorities ratified ICAO’s mandate for machine-readable passports.

Is a UK passport machine-readable?

The UK passport meets all necessities and requirements of the ICAO conference. All UK passports are machine-readable.

Is a Canadian passport machine-readable?

Since July 1, 2013, all new Canadian passports have been issued as digital passports (that are machine-readable too). Because of this immediately, all Canadian passports are machine-readable.



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