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Machine-readable passport facts for kids

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Mustermann Reisepass 2017
Sample of a photo page of a German passport. The two lines at the bottom encode the machine readable information.

A machine-readable passport is a passport that has information that can be read by a machine. Usually, this information is stored in one or two lines, which encode some of the information in machine readable form. The information is then extracted using optical character recognition. Usually, this is the given names, family name, date of birth, sex, and validity of the travel document. Machine-readable passports (or machine-readable travel documents) have been used since the 1980s. Today, most passports, and travel documents are machine readable.

Newer machine-readable passports also store some extra information (such as biometrical data, like a fingerprint) on a microchip.

The basic idea behind the introduction of machine-readable travel documents was to speed up passport control at the borders.

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