International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

News release – 2018 Number 06

Newly improved guidelines for testing machine-readable passports just out

Machine readable passports enable faster more accurate processing


Geneva, Switzerland, 2018-07-25 Passports have come a long way since the days of clunky hand-written books and long(er) immigration queues. These days, the technology is as slick as the security is strict. Ensuring machine-readable passports work effectively and last their lifetime is therefore a rigorous procedure. IEC and ISO internationally recognized test-method guidelines have just been updated to do just that.


Machine readable passports

Machine-readable passports (MRPs) mean faster processing and more accurate matching against immigration databases and watch lists, which is why most passports these days fall into that category.


To ensure they meet international regulatory requirements, they are standardized against the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Document 9303.


The IEC and ISO Standard for testing the durability of these MRPs is an official companion to the ICAO document, defining what is necessary for passports to be compliant. It has just been updated to make it even more robust and fit for today’s globalized world.


ISO/IEC 18745-1:2018, Test methods for machine readable travel documents (MRTD) and associated devices – Part 1: Physical test methods for passport books (durability), now replaces the ICAO technical report for durability, specifying the minimum criteria to be achieved in order to meet ICAO’s expectations.


Tom Kinneging, Convener of the working group that developed the Standard said it is essential not just to meet legal requirements but to ensure MRPs withstand the stresses it can be placed under.


“Having a MRP is only useful if it doesn’t fall apart or lose its readability over time. This standard gives details for effective testing so their feasible lifespan can be assessed, and they can thus be built to last”, he said.


ISO/IEC 18745-1 was developed and updated by Working Group 3 Machine readable travel documents, which is part of IEC and ISO joint technical committee for cards and security devices for personal identification (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 17).

It can be purchased from your national IEC member or the IEC Webstore.

About IEC

The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is the world’s leading organization that prepares and publishes globally relevant International Standards for all electric and electronic devices and systems. It brings together 171 countries; 85 are Members (National Committees) and 86 are Affiliates, developing countries that benefit from IEC work without the burden of membership.

Together they represent more than 99% of the world population and world electricity generation. More than 20 000 experts cooperate on the global IEC platform and many more in each member country.

They ensure that products work everywhere safely and efficiently with each other. The IEC also supports all forms of conformity assessment and administers four Conformity Assessment Systems that certify that components, equipment and systems used in homes, offices, healthcare facilities, public spaces, transportation, manufacturing, explosive environments and during energy generation conform to them.

IEC work covers a vast range of technologies: power generation (including all renewable energy sources), transmission, distribution, Smart Grid & Smart Cities, batteries, home appliances, office and medical equipment, all public and private transportation, semiconductors, fibre optics, nanotechnology, multimedia, information technology, and more. It also addresses safety, EMC, performance and the environment.


Find out more

Media contact:

Gabriela Ehrlich
Tel: +41 22 919 02 78
Mob: +41 79 600 56 72
Email: Gabriela Ehrlich
Skype: gabriela.ehrlich


News release 2018-06

pdf file 43 kB (English)