The roadmap for implementing new travel document specifications

Travel documents are continuously evolving. Though the effectiveness of their advancements are directly tied to the application of existing or enhanced security features and specifications, it is critical that all pertinent stakeholders are aware of new and enhanced international specifications.

Past experiences have shown that, although ICAO’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on the Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) endorsed new specifications in the form of Technical Reports (TR), sharing these on the ICAO website was not enough to trigger stakeholders to implement them. The challenge with having new material is that its doesn’t reach the entire audience. Additionally, their importance, and the reasons for revising the specifications, are not clearly communicated.

The introduction of new travel document technologies is a gradual learning process.  Not only do the organizations issuing these documents have to adapt them, but so do those who manage travelers at points of entry and departure. For States to fully benefit from improved document functionality, all systems and processes have to be effectively modernized. New reading systems, storage media and the measures required to protect privacy and ensure data integrity and interoperability, must be addressed.

Guidance is needed for the implementers of both inspection systems and machine readable technology documents (MRTDs) on the implementation strategy that is to be followed.

With this in mind, a roadmap for the implementation of new specifications has been developed to raise awareness on key advancements of travel document specifications, and to ultimately support the introduction of new specifications. The roadmap itself does not impose additional specifications. It is the guidance which provides information about the implementation of new specifications.

The roadmap will be published each time new specifications are adopted, and will be made available through a range of channels, such as the ICAO website, the ICAO TRIP Platform, symposia and seminars, and through ICAO’s TRIP Magazine.

For a more detailed description of the roadmap and strategy for implementing new specifications, you can read this article in full on page 27 of Volume 11, No. 2 of the ICAO TRIP Magazine, available here.


Register now for the ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) Regional Seminar on traveller identification management. The Seminar will take place from 11 to 13 July 2017 in Hong Kong SAR, China. The focus of the event will be on the five elements of the ICAO TRIP strategy that include: machine readable travel document (MRTD) standards, specifications and best practices, secure travel document issuance, robust evidence of identity processes, and information sharing technologies relevant to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on combatting foreign terrorist fighters. ICAO will also be holding a TRIP Symposium from 24 to 26 October (Montréal, Canada). More details on those events to follow.