Update of ICAO Doc 9303 Edition

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has released the seventh edition of ICAO Doc 9303. This document is the de-facto standard for machine readable travel documents (MRTD). It specifies passports and visas starting with the dimensions of the travel document and ending with the specification of protocols used by the chip integrated in travel documents.

ICAO Doc 9303 Title page

A fundamental problem of the old sixth edition of Doc 9303 (released 2006) resides in the fact, that there are in sum 14 supplemental documents. All of these supplements include clarifications and corrections of Doc 9303, e.g. Supplement 14 contains 253 different issues. Additionally, there are separate documents specifying new protocols like Supplemental Access Control (SAC) also known as PACE v2. So ICAO started in 2011 to re-structure the specifications with the result that all these technical reports, guidelines and supplements are now consolidated in the seventh edition of ICAO Doc 9303. Also several inconsistencies of the documents are resolved. On this way several technical reports, like TR – Supplemental Access Control for MRTDs V1.1 and TR LDS and PKI Maintenance V2.0, are obsolete now with the seventh edition of Doc 9303.

The new edition of ICAO Doc 9303 consists now of twelve parts:

  • Part 3: Specifications common to all MRTDs
  • Part 4: Specifications for Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) and other td3 size MRTDs
  • Part 5: Specifications for td1 size Machine Readable Official Travel Documents (MROTDs)
  • Part 8: RFU (Reserved for future use): Emergency Travel Documents
  • Part 9: Deployment of biometric identification and electronic storage of data in eMRTDs
  • Part 10: Logical Data Structure (LDS) for storage of biometrics and other data in the contactless integrated circuit (IC)
  • Part 11: Security mechanisms for MRTDs
  • Part 12: Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for MRTDs

From a protocol point of view there are two interesting parts in Doc 9303: part 10 describes the data structures used in a smart card to store information. In addition part 11 describes the technical protocols to get access to this data, e.g. Chip Authentication Mapping.

Special thanks to Garleen Tomney-McGann working at ICAO headquarter in Montreal. As a member of the Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) she has coordinated all the activities resulting in the seventh release of ICAO Doc 9303.

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