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Biometric passport in Iraq: advantages and future opportunities


Biometric passport in Iraq: advantages and future opportunities


March 2023

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More than ten years have passed since the introduction of biometric passports, and more than 120 countries have approved this unique identification document. Biometric passports have become a revolution in the world of passports and the development of global mobility documents.

Many countries have adopted biometric passports to increase security and facilitation. Slovakia has been using biometric passports for over a decade, and many other countries have followed suit.

Peru uses biometric passport technology to detect fake passports and stop impersonation. Rome and Naples also use facial recognition technology to facilitate faster border control.

Those were just some examples of some countries that started using biometric passports. Possibilities remain open for future integration with more cutting-edge technologies. If we add this to its impeccable security architecture, it is not surprising why it is widespread and used by different countries worldwide.


Advantages of the Iraqi Biometric Passport


A biometric passport is not foolproofly, but it is hard to falsify, steal, or alter due to several systems and mechanisms in place to protect the data. These include the following:

  • Active Authentication (AA): This helps to prevent the cloning of biometric passports.
  • Passive Authentication (PA): This detects chip modifications.
  • Basic Access Control (BAC): This protects the communication channel between the passport chip and the e-passport reader.
  • Extended Access Control (EAC): This is an extra safeguard for iris scans and fingerprint data.
  • Metallic Mesh: This RF-blocking material is embedded into the passport booklet to prevent “skimming” or unauthorized reading of the passport, as it must open to be scanned.
  • Random UID (RUID) Feature: This prevents tracking by issuing a new and random UID every time the chip is accessed, and authorization to the data is granted.
  • Security is one of the essential features of the biometric or electronic passport. You can feel comfortable knowing that no one can impersonate you. Although the chip on the card can be detected from a few meters away, capturing data requires obtaining a passport. The maximum scanning range is only 10 cm.


Falsifying your biometric data is more expensive and complicated than anyone might think. A third party cannot store any verification data on the chip as it uses Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) encryption technology. This encryption key will not be issued for fake data and will be detected immediately. If we talk about convenience and convenience, this passport will allow you to pass through the electronic passport gates at the border control points in your home country and take the path of quick procedures to return to your home country! The device scans your data and uses facial recognition technology to match it with your data for maximum speed and convenience.


Does the biometric passport help arrange to modify the status of the Iraqi passport?


The Iraq passport is currently ranked 107th in the Guide Passport Ranking and the second lowest-ranking passport in the world.


The Iraq passport allows its holders to travel visa-free to only 27 countries, including Sri Lanka, Dominica, Madagascar and Seychelles. Iraq passport holders must obtain a visa in advance to enter about 202 countries, including the United States of America and the European Union countries. Applicants for these visas will need to submit supporting documents for the application, such as documents required to prove the availability of funds to cover travel expenses.

The return ticket is also available, which gives it a low overall mobility score.

Improving the position of the passport requires an effort from government institutions, especially the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic missions, which must be active in strengthening Iraq’s relations with the countries of the world and linking Iraq to a network of cooperation agreements in various security, political, commercial and cultural fields.

The electronic passport will not be the magic solution to modify the position of the Iraqi passport globally. But it will undoubtedly be an essential factor in improving the function of the Iraqi passport regarding the document’s strength and information security. However, the most significant advantage of a biometric passport is enhanced security as biometric passports have a high-security advantage that is very difficult to forge, hack or steal. Biometric passports will strengthen the position of the Iraqi diplomatic side in demanding visa facilities with the world’s countries, especially since those countries were asking the Iraqi side to improve the efficiency of travel documents and develop the security system for these documents as a prerequisite for granting travel facilities.

These are also examinable passports that can reduce the time an applicant waits and the administrative complexities of issuing a passport. This is a problem that Iraq needs to improve. Many biometric passport countries have e-passport portals that read the passport chip to verify your identity without needing manual checking quickly. Biometric passports will force the development of Iraqi airports and make them more dynamic. The e-passport will also make the Iraqi passport convenient and easy to use. Exemptions and visas can be linked electronically to the biometric passport, so there is less paper to print and carry. It ultimately makes it easier to keep track of all the information.


The Opportunity


The electronic passport is only a new opportunity not only to develop the travel document but also to develop the reality of economic movement in Iraq. Passports are not papers by which we travel to an island or city for holidays; they are documents for investors, people in business and owners of emerging projects to develop their economic activity. Expert Jeff D.O. he says that while we don’t think much about our passports in the financial sense, they are a gateway to economic opportunities.

A more vital passport isn’t just about greater freedom of movement: it’s about more financial liberties regarding investment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Dr Arif Suleiman, Director of Economic Research and Statistics at the IsDB Institute, agrees, noting that visa-free cross-country access is a crucial criterion for more stable economies that help investors mitigate country- or jurisdiction-specific risks. In general, a passport with access to as many countries and countries as possible is helpful to expand the basket of products available to any individual; these products are not only tourism and recreation but also an investment, financial transactions and free deals, and include easy access to products and services that are great in the development of human money opinions such as education and high-quality health care.

Professor Trevor Williams, the former chief economist at Lloyd’s Bank Commercial Banking, says the research proves the causal link between the ability to travel and foreign investment in a country and increased trade and economic growth.

We are still at the beginning of the road to developing the Iraqi travel document.

The electronic passport may be the first of these steps, and we first need to reform the passport itself, which is what the idea of the biometric passport designed. But a long road and challenging work require developing strategic plans: Iraq’s infrastructure, air, land and sea travel ports, and Iraq’s international and regional relations.



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