Many countries have passports with a contactless (NFC) chip - also called ePassports or biometric passports -which means that those passports can be read with ReadID.
Some countries have identity cards and/or residence cards with the same ICAO-compliant chip. Please check our blog posts for more details on European identity cards and residence permits with ICAO-compliant chips.
First some background: although passports are standardised by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation, part of the UN), countries have a choice as to which part of this standard they implement. In 2016 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 the bottom of the first page of the passport with name, date of expiry, issuing country, etcetera. However, the chip is not yet a mandatory part of the ICAO standard. Of course, countries that want to improve the trustworthiness of their passports already have included the chip for many years, also because otherwise their citizens cannot use e-gates at airports. By the way, in the EU since 2004 the chip is required for passports.
To the best of our knowledge there is no good overview of which countries have identity documents with ICAO compliant chips, and there is certainly not a public trusted source for this that also includes which specific features those chips have in the different generations of identity documents. There are some overviews of which countries have ePassports, but we find that these often contain mistakes. For some countries of course it is simple, for example all EU countries have ePassports.
We therefore have started collecting this data ourselves, leveraging our ReadID Analytics anonymous data logging service. We collect data on which identity documents have chips, the features of those chips and if ReadID can successfully verify them. We collect this data by logging this in our public demo app and from production SaaS deployments, of course all anonymised.
Based on our study, there are more than 150 countries and regions issuing ePassports by 2020. This is 2.5 times as much as by the end of 2008. ReadID has a large default list of country signing certificates to verify the authenticity of most of the ePassports. By default, ReadID can verify passports from 92 countries (64% of all countries with ePassports), including all EU countries. The reason that the ReadID default list misses some country signing certificates is because some countries do not publish them (there are workarounds).
In the below maps we plot the ReadID coverage for passports, focusing on ‘ordinary’ passport (contrary to for example diplomatic passports). Ordinary passports are the far majority of passports. We have specified the following categories:
ReadID WorldWide Ordinary Passport Overview
- Read & verify (Dark green): ReadID can read and verify the passports. ReadID by default has all the needed country signing certificates.
- Read & partially verify (Middle green): ReadID can read the passports, but the default county signing certificate list only has part of certificates.
- Read only (Light green): ReadID can read the passports, but in default country signing list does not have the needed country signing certificates for verification.
- No chip (Light gray): passports have no contactless chip
- No passport (Dark gray): the country does not issue passports.
How did we plot the above maps?
The above maps are generated by combining the knowledge from public and non-public sources, own testing, and ReadID Analytics data that has been collected till 20 September 2020.
If you’d like us to provide more ReadID Analytics data on some specific detail in a future blog post, then please e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also check our our blog posts for more details on European identity cards and residence permits with ICAO-compliant chip, and cloning detection mechanisms. Finally, if you see mistake (it can be an error in how we generate the map or in the underlying data), then please contact us on email@example.com.
Do you want to know the possibilities in your country or do you have questions about this blog?
Please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org