ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Machine Readable Passports to be Standard Worldwide by 2010

ICAO symposium offered to support implementation

New York, Aug 10, 2005

The format for machine readable passports (MRP) specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) became the worldwide standard on July 11, 2005, and will be implemented by the 188 contracting nations of the ICAO by April 2010. The United States is one of more than 110 nations already issuing passports that meet the new standard, and also leads the way in use of the biometrically-enabled version, or e-passport. The U.S. is a member of the ICAO Technical Advisory Group on Machine Readable Passports.

To assist its member states in the transition to either the standard MRP or e-passport, ICAO is convening a comprehensive, two-day informative symposium on the various elements of the ICAO Machine Readable Travel Document (MRTD) program. Scheduled for September 28-29, 2005 in Montreal, the meeting will focus on objectives and benefits in terms of processing passengers with increasing speed, efficiency and security, a growing concern in today's complex travel environment. Also covered will be the operation of document and biometric reading systems at border control points.

“Cooperation among all ICAO Contracting States in the implementation of this new standard is essential for meeting our global objectives, to minimize delays in border-crossing formalities and to safeguard international civil aviation operation against acts of unlawful interference,” noted Dr. Assad Kotaite, president of the Council of ICAO.

ICAO-standard MRPs are readily recognized by officials at security, immigration and customs check points and by embassies and consulates worldwide, and expedite the process for obtaining visas for travel and clearance at airports.

A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. The organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 188 contracting states.

The current ICAO-standard technical specifications for e-passports can be downloaded from the ICAO website for Machine Readable Travel Documents at

See related story: DHS Releases Guide to Passport Requirements for Visa Waiver Program Travelers

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