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Entrust granted UK Home Office selfie biometrics contract to streamline immigration

Entrust granted UK Home Office selfie biometrics contract to streamline immigration

Entrust has won a new two-year contract with the UK Home Office to expand the digitization of immigration application processes, with options for two additional years.

The company says that the secure identity tech enables applicants to be identified via face biometrics, which allows more secure border control and faster identity verification. The contract supports the upcoming UK Electronic Travel Authorization, which could apply to 30 million travelers annually.

According to the Office of National Statistics, migration numbers have increased to pre-pandemic levels. As a result, Entrust says its Identity and Document Verification as a Service (IDVaaS) provides a faster and more secure way to process immigration applications without requiring physical passport submission or an in-person application.

This service works in conjunction with Home Office online application processes. It involves using a mobile app that scans the chip in a person’s passport and taking a selfie to match against the verified identity document. Liveness detection technology confirms that an applicant is real and matches the identity document information. This data is securely sent to the Home Office for verification and the application process can be completed.

Entrust has supplied NFC scanning and biometrics for the EU Settlement Scheme in the past, and also worked with Innovalor and iProov on Eurostar SmartCheck trials, though a biometric software partner is not mentioned in the announcement.

Generic Identity and Document Verification (GIDV) has been deployed since 2019 to support the EU Settlement scheme for EU nationals following Brexit, as well as being used to aid the resettlement of Hong Kong-based British passport holders and Ukrainian refugees applying for a Ukraine Family Scheme visa.

Entrust says the move towards digitization of immigration processes helps travelers reduce hard copy paperwork and in-person appointments. According to Gordon Wilson, the VP of identity verification for Entrust, “the technology ensures personal and unique biometric data is processed securely and efficiently, helping to digitize and streamline border control systems.”

GIDV will also enable the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme (ETA) in late 2023 as part of the Universal Permission to Travel initiative. Passengers must declare their identity and reasons for travel via a digital application process using Entrust biometric identification technology.

The exact dollar value of the follow-on contract was not disclosed, but it has a potential value of up to £91 million, according to a LinkedIn comment from Entrust Director Business Development and Strategic Alliances, Identity Verification Steve Grant.

Entrust was in the news at the end of last year for announcing that its cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) solution was available on the AWS marketplace.


This post was updated at 12:59pm Eastern on April 17, 2023 to include the potential contract worth.

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