The International Civil Aviation Organization, a Quebec based group, developed standards for Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTDs), including passports and visas. These MRTD make it easy for automated systems to scan a travel document. If a country decides to check all visitors against a known criminals data reading the information automatically with a computer will be much faster and less prone to error than if the immigration agent needs to type the information in by hand.
Security concerns, developing technologies and emerging standards have led national governments to pursue the issuance of more sophisticated machine readable travel documents (MRTD) to their citizens. Commonly known as "ePassports," these documents contain a chip that stores information that can be verified against the data on the passport.
In order to facilitate interoperability across countries, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has set global standards for ePassports. Since the ePassport contains sensitive personal information, the security and integrity of the ePassport are critical. As a result, two ePassport standards have been developed to help migrate countries from traditional paper-based travel documents