All over the World, the fight to protect passports against fraud remains as intense as ever. Of course, the rapid adoption of electronic passports over recent years has proved a significant step forward in terms of both homeland security and traveler convenience. There's also fast-growing recognition of what polycarbonate data pages can do in thwarting attempts to tamper with or counterfeit passports.
Today’s Passports include the cover and end pages (glued to the inside of the cover) and the pages that hold the visa and entry and exit stamps. And for those that have not yet migrated to polycarbonate, paper will also form the basis of the all-important data page, which includes the holder's details and portrait. To maintain an effective defense against the menace of counterfeiting, all these paper elements need to be given careful consideration. As ever, success will ultimately lie in making it as complicated, time-consuming, and expensive as possible for forgers to copy or compromise a legitimate document.
As per the principles of any secure passport design, we need to use effective combination of various techniques. Specifically, these include:
- Employing technologies that are difficult to copy.
- Incorporating multiple security features - so a counterfeiter will need to master them all to stand any chance of success.
- Using materials, technologies, inks, and components that are difficult for criminals to source.
- Using inks and components that are only sold to secure printers.
We at USP, therefore, add even more layers of complexity:
- Close alignment of the print designs across pages makes the removal of a single page more difficult.
- Microprinting and nano text, along with Guilloche printing, make replication still more challenging.
- All visa pages are printed on security paper that has customized watermark.
- Designs incorporate at least four pantone colors and are rainbow printed.
- Special security printing inks used are IR inks – which look identical in white light.
- USP also uses randomly distributed, visible, and invisible fibers, all of which can react to long-wave (365nm) UV light.
- Fibers are inserted during the paper manufacturing process and appear randomly across the paper.
Watermark on Security Paper - an essential element of robust passport design
- Commonly used in banks and stamps, the watermark is probably the most widely recognized secure printing feature. And it remains a crucial element of robust passport design.
Embedded security threads in visa pages
- In some of the passports it produces, USP inserts security threads into the visa pages. Just like those used in banknotes, these are embedded directly into the paper during manufacturing. They can be made from either plastic or metal, with customer-specific designs and covered by paper.
Passport stitching and sewing
- End pages play an essential role in protecting against access to the stitching, and hence the data page by fraudsters. But we also use very fine sewing threads to secure the booklet pages to the end pages and covers. A combination of different materials and colours further guards against dismantling and reassembly.
- During manufacture, an automated system uses a consistent process to sew each passport individually, to the same specification, using three different strands of high-security thread. These are pulled and twisted, giving an equal number of turns between each hole. The top and bottom three stitches are back stitched and held in place with a locking stitch.
At USP, we believe in taking a comprehensive approach to security. That's why we strive to provide secure, durable, and innovative solutions. We're proud to have successfully designed some of the most secure and attractive passports.
At USP, the passport personalisation machine automatically handles passports and e-passports in ICAO ID-3 size. Colour printing, laser engraving, various monochrome printing systems, and contactless chip encoding stations are available on the machine. According to the specific project requirements, a customised configuration with a high level of flexibility and standardisation can be realised. Several software solutions are available on the machine.
- Automatic feeding, handling and stacking of passports in ICAO ID-3 size (125 x 88 mm)
- Sophisticated system for passport personalisation
- RFID encoding
- Laser engraving of polycarbonate holder page
- Colour personalisation of holder page
- Inline quality control (optical verification)
- Several options to design a customised solution according to detailed project needs.