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FMI identifies biometric passport trends as U.S. announces new document design

Fake passport crime on the rise in India, Zimbabwe rollout continues
FMI identifies biometric passport trends as U.S. announces new document design

A new report from Future Market Insights (FMI) has suggested the global electronic passport market may increase from a valuation of $34.3 billion in 2021 to $144.4 billion by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9 percent, as countries upgrade to biometric passports.

The market report says the projected rise in the adoption of digitized passports is heavily dependent on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s LDS2 standard, which supports the storage of biometric data.

The LDS2 roadmap provides new possibilities for the use and collection of passenger information, FMI says, presumably alluding to processes like biometric enrollment from home and single-token airport checks.

In terms of specific ePassport technologies, the FMI study says RFID will remain the preferred method of communication for airports. However, the research firm also mentioned how an increasing number of institutions are deploying biometrics in combination with RFID to reduce identity theft and fraud.

The report says the number of ePassports issued with embedded biometric data is growing, but this growth may be hampered in the future by a lack of infrastructure development and the relatively expensive nature of ePassports, says FMI. These factors limit electronic passports mostly to developed markets, and FMI notes that several developing economies have yet to introduce biometric and electronic passports, held back by shortfalls in investment capital and technological skill.

U.S. to get new passport design

The U.S. Department of State is expected to start issuing its new ‘Next Generation Passport’ (NGP) to citizens over the summer.

The NGP will replace the current biometric passport design by introducing a polycarbonate data page, laser-engraved personalization, and updated artwork.

The U.S. government confirmed it will continue to issue both the ePassport and Next Generation Passport until August 2022, when all passport agencies and centers will start printing only the new NGP books.

India cracks down on fake passport crime

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in India has recorded roughly 100 cases of fake passports across the Haryana and Punjab states over the past four years, according to Tehelka.

The investigation also suggested the majority of the passport holders involved in these activities were suspected of leaving the country after committing crimes.

Of those accused, NIA claimed the police managed to apprehend 32 individuals so far.

Zimbabwe biometric passports rollout to continue online

The rollout of biometric passports in Zimbabwe is underway, with the government intending to set up a system for online applications in May, The Herald reports.

The announcement was reportedly made by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe at the Zimbabwe Diaspora Engagement forum in Dubai.

At the event,  Kazembe also confirmed that access to ePassports should be decentralized throughout Zimbabwe by the end of June.

“The President said we should think outside the box to resolve the challenge, as we do it, we should do it better, hence the coming in of e-passports,” Kazembe said at the event. Their ICAO-compliant design was approved by the government in November.

Zimbabwe is also about to enter the second phase of a biometric voter registration process for its citizens.

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