Brussels, 27 January 2021 - Today, the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a press conference announcing the production launch of the new Belgian passport. The document has been fully revamped from a visual and security standpoint, and the first ones will be delivered to local authorities on the 7th of February.
When the production, personalisation and delivery contract signed with the Zetes-Thales consortium in 2014 was about to reach its full term, the Belgian authorities published an invitation to tender in 2019. Once again, the contract was won by the national ID specialist, in partnership with Thales. With this seven-year project, renewable for three years, Zetes is confirmed as the Belgian government's partner of choice when it comes to identification, since Zetes also produces the electronic ID card (eID) and the driving licence for the kingdom's citizens.
Polycarbonate data page
The biggest evolution with the new passport is the use of polycarbonate for the data page. This material is appreciated for its strength and its ability to accommodate many security features to prevent counterfeiting, and is already widely used for ID documents in card format. In recent years, it has also become a standard for the passport data pages.
All the security features have been completely overhauled; this concerns the printing as well as the physical features, including a secured hinge attaching the polycarbonate page to the booklet. The result is a fully updated version produced by Thales and offering the highest level of protection currently in effect. The data page also includes the ImagePerf/REV security feature, which has been developed and registered jointly by IAI Industrial Systems, supplier of the personalisation machines, and Zetes. This technology reproduces the passport holder's photograph by combining a perforation technique with laser printing. To date, it is used only for the Belgian eID. Its use in a passport is therefore a first and remains a Belgian exclusivity.
To produce this passport, Zetes has invested in two new IAI personalisation machines: one for its main site, and one for the disaster recovery site
The choice made by the Belgian authorities to decorate the internal pages, where visas and entry/exit stamps are applied, make the new passport very special: they feature comic-book heroes, as comics are closely associated with Belgian culture. In addition, every image is travel-themed.
Showcasing Belgian know-how
Alain Wirtz, CEO of Zetes, says: “We are delighted to be able to continue our collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Belgian passport is a flagship document and a global showcase for our country's expertise, since it is one of the most secure and widely accepted passports in the world."
The Belgian passport also benefits from high service level agreements: it is delivered to local authorities within five days of an order being submitted. Urgent requests give rise to a delivery within two days and, for extremely urgent requests, passports are delivered at a central desk in Brussels city centre within four hours.
Regarder la vidéo de présentation du nouveau passeport belge
For pictures, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Zetes is a technology company specialising in supply chain optimisation and citizen identification solutions. Our Supply Chain Solutions help companies achieve agility, visibility and traceability across their connected supply chain. Our People Identification division provides public authorities and supranational institutions with solutions to enable authentication of citizens in view of the issuing of secure ID and travel documents and the creation of national registers or voters’ lists.
Zetes is headquartered in Brussels and has more than 1,300 employees in 22 countries across EMEA with a revenue of €281.1 million in 2020. In 2017, Zetes became an independent subsidiary of the Panasonic Corporation. For more information visit www.zetes.com or subscribe to our newsletter. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
About Zetes PeopleID
The People ID division of Zetes provides secure solutions to accurately identify people, either in their quality of citizen or as customer, both in the physical and the digital worlds. Its portfolio of solutions covers all the aspects of the identification and authentication processes, from registration to identity check. The company has about 20 years' experience in the implementation of sensitive projects for governments and supranational organisations, such as the emission of electronic national identity cards, passports, driving licenses, health cards and visa, as well as voter registration programmes and border control solutions. Our teams have a strong knowledge and know-how in the fields of biometrics, cryptography and data security.
The ZetesConfidens division of Zetes People ID is a QTSP as defined by the European Union’s eIDAS regulation. It focuses on the full life cycle of the digital identity, providing multi-platform and multi-modal solutions for securing e-transactions, electronic signing and digital authentication. With this particular product offering, Zetes also addresses private sectors, such as banking & insurance, as well as professional associations. But as digital identity is gaining steam around the world, governments remain a focus market also for ZetesConfidens.