Mar 16, 2016

Most countries have passports with a chip, i.e. passports that can be read with ReadID. However, it is not easy to say which passports exactly have chips. For some countries, it is simple, for example all EU countries have ePassports. But many other countries still have generations of passports that are valid but do not have a chip yet.

First, some background: although passports are standardized by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization, part of the UN), countries have a choice as to which parts of this standard they implement. Last November there was an important deadline: passports now have to be machine readable. The term that is used for this is Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTD) and it basically means having the two lines at bottom of the first page of the passport with name, date of expiry, issuing country, etc. However, the chip is not yet a mandatory part of the standard. Of course, countries that want to improve the trustworthiness of their passports already have included the chip for many years. Depending on the country, national identity cards also have the same ICAO contactless chip, for example the Netherlands.

We collect data on which countries issue ePassports or other identity documents with a ICAO compliant contactless chip that we have been able to read.

The map shows the status of a sample of the data that was collected until 15 March 2016, with green meaning indicating that we successfully read an identity document. For reasons of simplicity, we leave out many of the details, including the exact type of document (typically, but not necessarily a passport), the status of the verification (passive authentication, active authentication, etc), how many identity documents we read, which generations, etc. The bottom-line is that we were able to successfully read identity documents from 116 different issuers, which incidentally includes a few non-countries, for example the UN, which also issues identity (travel) documents with ICAO chips.

If you like us to provide data on some specific detail in the future blog post, for example countries with identity documents with ICAO compliant chips, please send us an e-mail on Also, let us know if you miss a country and/or see a country in green that you think should not be green (it can be an error in how we generate the map or in the underlying data).