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passport verification

Who can verify a passport online and how is the verification process?

Carrying out any type of operation or procedure with a private company or public administration requires verifying the identity of the holder first. Before letting the user operate, carrying out a document verification process is a must to prove the person is who they say they are. But how and who can verify a passport?

In terms of who can verify a passport, it is any public or private institution, organisation or company that needs to check the identity of the people intending to make any operation related to them. Normally, one of the first steps in this process is checking the identification document or passport to verify its legitimacy and the person it belongs to.

Nowadays, there are two ways to verify a document (passport, driving licence): in person and electronically. Both methods of verifying ID documents must consider possible fraud, forgery, or identity theft, and need to involve the correct processing and storage of the data.

In this article, we will explain what electronic document verification is, its elements, how to carry out the process of verifying ID documents online, its uses and benefits, and the best identification document validation technology to carry out the identification and document verification checks with the same security, or even more than the traditional face-to-face verification.

# How to verify a passport online?

All companies in the financial sector, travel, mobility, insurance, or even public administrations have at some point been confronted with the question "How can I verify a passport online to check the identity of my customers or users?

Verifying a passport (or ID document) is an essential step in ensuring the integrity of our customer’s data, as well as preventing fraud. Hence, document ID verification is a requirement that all companies in regulated sectors must comply with, as set out in the AML regulation to prevent fraud and money laundering.

When this process is carried out in person, who can verify ID documents during face-to-face identity document verification? During a face-to-face passport document verification, an employee or representative of the company or entity performs the passport document verification to verify the passport’s identity and that the holder’s data and photo are legitimate and correspond to who they are. And they do so at a commercial office or branch of the company. In the same way, they verify that the passport has not been manipulated or is not a forgery.

Generally, during this face-to-face verification of identity documents and customer registration process, a copy of the passport or ID document is made and stored in the form of a photocopy or scan. Both methods of storage involve taking certain security checks to ensure data protection, as outlined in the European Parliament's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

On the other hand, online document verification and identification also need to be carried out. Highly regulated companies such as those in the financial sector, many of which already offer 100% online services, allow their customers to register, sign contracts or accept the conditions of a service (such as a loan or a mortgage) fully remotely. This service is possible thanks to the European eIDAS regulation which sets out the rules for the online types of identity and document verification solutions by electronic means.

# eIDAS establishes video identification as the standard for the verification of identity documents and individuals

To verify ID documents online with the same validity as in person, the user is required to follow just 3 steps for the video identification to be completed:

  • Show their ID document front and back to the camera on their phone or computer. To achieve maximum security and efficiency, this process has to be done via streaming video while the AI performs authenticity checks and extracts the data from the document.
  • Carry out a proof-of-life test.
  • At the same time, qualified agents revise the entire process in real time and validate the identification if everything is according to standards.

# The importance of OCR in the document verification process

In online document verification systems, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology is used to capture and extract the data. The main objective of this process is to improve the user's trust and experience, as well as to perform all the checks needed.

For example, in Signicat's identity and ID document verification API, all user ID document data is extracted while its AI performs more than 20 verification and authentication checks in real time, thanks to the processing of different frames. This ensures full data integrity and traceability throughout the customer journey.

Some of the data extracted by OCR are the name, surname, date of birth, gender, address, nationality, ID number and expiration date. The data that is extracted depends on the type of document, country and company needs. The algorithm can also quickly detect if a user is, for example, a minor, if their ID card has expired, or if the ID document or passport doesn’t belong to them.

# Electronic passport: verify and check the identity of users across borders

In some countries, such as the UK or Spain, the use of an electronic ID or electronic passports is allowed to carry out certain procedures with the public administration at local and European levels. In some countries, the electronic document verification must be still carried out in person at a police station or public administration office for an agent to perform the verification of the identity documents face-to-face. Other countries, like France, are already implementing video identification in some processes of their public administration. This kind of document verification software makes the process of obtaining an ePassport or electronic document much easier, faster and more efficient for the citizen.

Electronic documents are getting more and more relevant in GovTech since they can be used to file a tax return, request a certificate of census registration, register births, or claim pension entitlement, among other operations.

# Benefits of verifying an identification document with validation technology based on AI

There is no doubt that the online verification of identity documents brings numerous benefits both for governments and companies (that can then incorporate 100% online services) and for end users.

With AI-powered identity and document verification software, companies of any industry or public institutions can:

  • Implement 100% online services with the same guarantees and security as face-to-face processes, and do it so in full compliance with national and European KYC and AML regulations.
  • Eliminate physical restrictions and operate across borders, accessing a single market of more than 500 million users by signing up users all around the EU.
  • Avoid online fraud, making it easier to detect forgeries, even the ones that can be imperceptible to the human eye.
  • Reduce costs and greater operational reach by being able to perform the service online.
  • Offer a 24/7 service from anywhere.

On the other hand, users can benefit from:

  • Save time and effort and carry out the procedures they want from anywhere and at any time.
  • Access a wider range of services by not having to travel to a commercial office or branch.
  • Have greater control over the processing of your data.
  • Not having to deal with an agent directly and register in seconds.

In short, offering services online, be it opening a bank account, renting a car, or paying taxes, allows greater flexibility, reach and security for businesses, institutions and end-users alike.

# Signicat: solutions for verifying ID documents online

Through EID, Signicat has been developing its video identification technology VideoID for more than 10 years. VideoID enables a remote identity and ID verification process via video streaming and in real time.

Its technology allows the verification of more than 800 identity documents from over 150 countries, performing more than 20 security checks in real time, as well as a biometric analysis between the ID or Passport photo and the person in front of the camera.

VideoID is suitable for all industries and use cases in which a person's passport and identity need to be verified, whether in highly regulated sectors such as the financial, or others like the travel sector.