ICAO's 188 Contracting States must all be issuing only ICAO-standard Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) by 1 April 2010. While about 110 States currently do so, more than 40 are planning to upgrade to the biometrically-enhanced version, or e-Passport, by the end of 2006.
To assist its Member States in the transition to either the ICAO-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) programme, as described in the Programme Outline.
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.
World experts involved in ICAO's MRTD standard development programme will take part in the presentations. An Exhibition will highlight key MRTD-related products and services.
The Symposium will be of particular interest to passport authorities, immigration, border control and security authorities, airport operators, airlines, as well as parties concerned with secure ICAO-standard MRPs, other types of MRTDs (visas and official documents of identity), and Biometric ID Confirmation.
ICAO-standard MRPs are readily recognized worldwide by officials at security, immigration and customs check-points, and by embassies and consulates, making it easier for a person to obtain visas and to be cleared at airports. The documents incorporate a standardized format for visual reading, machine reading and verification, and identify confirmation. The e-Passport contains additional security features and secure biometric ID confirmation, providing improved border control.