Gemalto, the world leader in digital security, today announces it has won an open tender with the Home Office, acting through Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO), for the production of the next generation of British passports and associated services.
Gemalto, an international security company with substantial operations in the UK, won the contract following a rigorous competitive process which rated each bidder against strict requirements that included security capabilities, processes, technical quality and the value for money for the taxpayer. The contract is for 11.5 years, including 10 years of production and issuance services.
British citizens will soon carry one of the most technically advanced passports in the world thanks to a combination of high-end security features. For the first time, the British passport’s data page (also known as the biographical data page) will be made from polycarbonate instead of paper. This material makes the document extremely secure; any attempt to tamper with it causes visible damage. The material is more durable than paper, preserving the integrity of the document over its lifespan. The digital component of the new British passport will rely on a highly secure Operating System designed to comply with ICAO* standards, developed and secured in-house by Gemalto.
Mark Thomson, Director General for HM Passport Office, said: “I am delighted that we have awarded the contract to design and produce the new blue passport. I look forward to working with Gemalto to continue to deliver a world-class service to British nationals around the world, and keep the UK passport as a global leader of document security.”
Howard Berg, Managing Director of Gemalto UK Ltd, said, “We are delighted to have been selected by Her Majesty’s Passport Office to deliver the new generation of British passports. As a pioneer of cutting edge government document design, we’re confident that the new passports will be the most attractive and most secure ever, as befits the British traveller.”
The passports will be personalised in the UK to ensure all citizens’ personal and biometric data remains in the country. This process will further extend Gemalto’s presence in the UK, where it has operated for the last 25 years and create new jobs, supplementing the 500+ staff which Gemalto already employs in the UK, as well as generating secondary economic benefits in the local communities where Gemalto will be manufacturing the passports. In line with HMPO tender requirements, Gemalto has developed a complete business continuity plan, featuring the multi sourcing of key components and a manufacturing capability distributed over several factories.
Gemalto will be manufacturing the first CarbonNeutral® certified passport. The carbon footprint of the new British passport will be independently measured, validated and reduced to net zero in line with The CarbonNeutral Protocol – the global standard for carbon neutrality.
Frederic Trojani, Executive Vice President of Gemalto Government Business Unit added, “Over the past decade, Gemalto has helped develop some of the world’s most secure passports, including landmark projects in Norway, Sweden, USA, Finland and Singapore. We look forward to working with Her Majesty’s Passport Office to deliver one of the most technically advanced passports ever.”
Gemalto has extensive experience in developing secure government documents; its products and solutions are deployed in more than 200 active government programs worldwide including over 40 ePassport programs. It has pioneered secure document techniques, including polycarbonate data pages and a wide portfolio of visual and tactile features to protect citizens’ identities with top results in the various benchmarks organised by the industry. Last year Gemalto acquired Cogent, a leading identity and biometric security company, adding further expertise and scale across the spectrum of biometric solutions, with a particular focus in civil identification, border control and law enforcement.
*ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization)