What is Passport Verification Online?

Passport verification involves digitally verifying that the individual attempting to access a service or perform a transaction, really is the owner of a provided passport document. 

Passport or other official documents are commonly used for identity verification. Identity verification can be important for businesses in general, but is critical for organizations that need to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) or anti money laundering (AML) regulations.

Ongoing passport verification typically validates that the name of the end-user matches the name on the passport, that the document has not expired, and that the user’s address matches the address on the passport. In addition, advanced passport verification solutions can prevent three types of fraud which may be attempted with passport documents:

  • Identifying illegitimate documents—fake passports created by criminals
  • Identifying false documents—genuine passports which belong to a different person, not the user currently accessing the service
  • Identifying modified documents—genuine passports with some details changed

In this article:

Passports and ID Documents: the Key to Online Identity Verification

All states or countries can issue unique or varied documents to their citizens, yet one issue is consistent: identity documents change according to developments in technology. 

With the evolution in technology seen in recent years, countries have incorporated modern technologies into the documents used to verify identity. A recent trend is to include biometric technology in identity documents and to provide mobile IDs, electronic eIDs, or virtual documents. 

In April 2018, the European Parliament put forward a regulation to put in place the same security measures into ID cards as are used in passports: biometric details including name and date of birth are kept on a safe electronic chip, which is included with the document. 

The electronic chip that forms part of the document must be authenticated by public key cryptography systems. This means it is very expensive and complex to forge a document that has embedded biometric identity technology. Therefore, documents with biometric identity features are much more secure than regular paper documents, and it is much easier to spot fraudulent ID documents. 

As services and businesses move online, there is an increasing demand for automated, online identity verification solutions, which make use of up-to-date identity documentation, with embedded security features, together with an added feature of biometric identification. These two strategies make sure that the individual is who they claim to be.  

Modern identity verification systems use identity documents, along with facial recognition and other biometric technologies, to ensure highly accurate remote identification of customers and employees. 

Related content: Read our guide to ID check online 

Advantages of Online Passport Verification

Passports are a common identity document used to remotely identify individuals. Online passport verification provides several advantages. It lets businesses review documents instantaneously, which speeds up customer onboarding. Identifying fraudulent passports can stop ID fraud, which saves businesses from reputational and financial losses. 

Because passport verification solutions can work on any end-user device, it can be smoothly integrated into virtually any business process, such as online shopping, customer onboarding or website registration. Some passport verification solutions support a hybrid approach—combining automated passport verification with use of manual verification for high risk scenarios or suspected fraud.

Basic Features of Online Passport Verification

Digital verification of passports and other ID documents is replacing manual checking of the customer documents to verify their identity. The more attributes of the customer that may be verified via a reliable source, the more sturdy the authentication. The ultimate aim is to gain a robust level of assurance of verification.  

Individuals may scan passports using a mobile phone camera or webcam. A passport verification service screens and extracts essential customer credentials from the document. In the majority of instances, the use of optical character recognition technology (OCR) helps provide verification for more than one document in various languages. 

Document validation involves checking:

  • Entire name of the end-user
  • Tampered/photoshopped passports
  • Passport expiry date
  • Address format

How Can Passport Verification Software Prevent Fraud?

Passport verification systems typically ask a user to upload or take a picture of their passport or other ID document in real-time.

The software identifies the documents and gathers relevant data from it through the use of OCR technology. The data is studied by the software, a process taking a few seconds, and the results of the verification process are reported to the individual. If the information the customer provided is verified, the customer is permitted to access the platform or perform the transaction. 

 Passport verification solutions can immediately reject fake or counterfeit identity documents. Fake versions of documents that fraudulent individuals and criminals typically use are: 

  • Illegitimate documents—such documents are entirely fake. They feature characteristics such as missing holograms or essential information that is a core part of a valid document. 
  • False documents—this document belongs to a different person and the fraudulent individual attempts to use it to authenticate themselves. 
  • Modified documents—this is an authentic document that was altered. The fraudulent individual modifies the writing style or font to trick the system. 

Passport verification systems make use of three types of analytics to ascertain whether or not a document is genuine and to notice signs of forgery: 

  • Document authenticity—identifying anomalies or indications that the document has been tampered with. This includes rainbow and hologram prints, pixel quality, special ink and paper used with documents from the government, font anomalies, microprints, barcodes, and more. 
  • Data integrity—identity documents granted by the government will generally include several built-in features. Embedded algorithms, encoded MRZ areas, NFC chips, data fields in various locations and certain formats, and more. AI-powered verification of document tools look at all these data features in a systematic manner to check that they match. 
  • Facial biometrics—it is not sufficient to only check the data accuracy and document authenticity. A verification system must also ensure that the individual who uploaded the document is the authorized owner. To do this, the photo included on the identity document is compared to a real-time image via biometric analysis. Advanced systems use liveness analysis, requiring the user to show their face and perform certain actions on a webcam in real time, to prove their identity. 

Related content: Read our guide to Passport Verification for KYC and AML

Passport Verification Online with BlueCheck

BlueCheck’s industry leading identity verification infrastructure enables merchants to grow their business faster. Serving a wide variety of industries, our solutions are custom tailored to the unique needs of our customers, including PACT Act and eCommerce compliant offerings. 

Schedule a call with a BlueCheck specialist to learn more about our Age & ID Verification solutions. Ask about price savings when bundled with Payment Processing services.