ICAO Document 9303


ICAO Document 9303 is a ICAO standard endorsed by the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission as ISO/IEC 7501-1 which a special Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ), which is usually at the bottom of the identity page at the beginning of a passport.

ICAO Document 9303 describes three types of Machine Readable Travel Documents. Specifications for the Security of the Design, Manufacture and Issuance of MRTDs

The following information must be provided in the zone:

  • name
  • passport number
  • nationality
  • date of birth
  • sex
  • passport expiration date.
  • There is room for optional, often country-dependent, supplementary information.

devices can directly read the information on Machine Readable Passports. This enables faster processing of arriving passengers by immigration officials, and greater accuracy than manually read passports, as well as faster data entry, more data to be read and better data matching against immigration databases and watchlists.

Apart from optically readable information, many passports contain an RFID chip which enables computers to read a higher amount of information, for example a photo of the bearer. These passports are called Biometric Passports.

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