EPASSPORT VALIDATION DOES NOT REQUIRE OR INVOLVE ANY EXCHANGE OF THE PERSONAL DATA OF PASSPORT HOLDERS.
ePassport validation is the process of verifying the digital signature on the chip of an ePassport to confirm its authenticity and integrity. Read the section on ePassport Basics to read more about the underlying components for this process.
By authenticating the chip of an ePassport, border control authorities can confirm that:
the ePassport held by the traveller was issued by a bonafide authority;
the biographical and biometric information endorsed in the document at issuance has not subsequently been altered; and
if active authentication and/or chip authentication is supported by the ePassport chip, the electronic information on the chip is not a copy (i.e. a clone).
The authentication of the electronic component of the ePassport (i.e. the chip) contributes to the confidence that can be placed on the information in the physical document. Once a border control authority has confirmed that the information on the chip is authentic and has not been altered, that authority can confidently rely on the information on the chip to compare or cross-reference against the printed information and facial image found on the biographical data page (both in the Visual Inspection Zone and the Machine Readable Zone). Any discrepancy between the two sources of information is a clear sign of tampering.
ePassport validation is necessary to fully leverage the investments made by States in developing ePassports and contributes to improved border security and safer air travel globally. The benefits of ePassport validation are collective, cumulative and universal; therefore, the broadest possible implementation of ePassport validation is desirable.
It should be noted that obtaining the information required to conduct ePassport validation of foreign ePassports can be achieved without joining the ICAO PKD (i.e. by using the public download service or strictly through bilateral exchange). However, the ICAO PKD provides a timely, reliable and cost-efficient means of both providing and acquiring the necessary information.