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26th April 2007
Press Release - Electronic Border

Today, 26 April 2007, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is launching the new Border Control System in Faro, for checking electronic passports and is also displaying the new concept embodied by the Project RAPID – Automatic Recognizing of Passengers with Credentials. Such projects are included in the Technological Plan devised by the Portuguese Government and SIMPLEX’07, for the simplifying of Portuguese Administrative procedures.

The new Border System to Control Electronic Passports is already operational in the airports of Lisbon and Faro and it is equipped with mechanisms that allow officers of the Aliens and Borders Service (SEF) to monitor in an automatic, fast and reliable manner the passenger’s identity and the genuineness of the travelling document.

In the case of electronic passports the potential for identifying both the document and the passenger is highly enhanced by crossing the biographic data and by reading the characteristics of photographs taken by an optical and electronic device.

Such system also permits a high degree of interconnection with the Information system of SEF. Even in the case of those documents that may not be read by optical or electronic means, by merely inserting an entry or departure form in the system, the information pertaining to the passenger is automatically validated. This procedure allows the elimination of boarding and landing cards required from citizens of non EU Countries.

The Border System to Control Electronic Passports is now fully operational in Lisbon and Faro Airports. In the near future it will be installed in the Airports of Porto, Funchal, Ponta Delgada and Angra do Heroísmo.

This system was devised by the Aliens and Boarders Service and implemented by the company Indra, a technological partner in this enterprise.



Launching the concept of Project RAPID – Automatic Identification of Passengers with Credentials


The Ministry of Internal Affairs also promoted the experimental testing of the RAPID Project concept – Automatic Identification of Passengers with Credentials.

This is the first system worldwide to allow an automatic control of passengers who hold electronic passports, thereby removing the need for human action. This system combines the operations of reading and checking electronic passports with an innovating feature for assessing the biometric data which operates an automatic door opening device.

This feature checks, on a first instance, the genuineness of the electronic passports and validates all data stored in the chip, and, on a second instance, it appraises the passenger’s identification by establishing a comparison between the photo stored in the chip and the image of the passenger in loco, automatically opening the passage door when the features of both images are coincident. RAPID was made secure by an intelligent system that allows the entry of one passenger alone and automatically adjusts the reading camera to his / her height.

This innovating system will permit a highly rationalized management and a significant boost to the efficiency of the means for border control. By reducing the process of border crossing to an average of less than 20 seconds it will speed up significantly the movement of passengers at border control. RAPID was devised by the Aliens and Borders Service and is being produced by the company Vision-Box. As of the end of May, Faro Airport will be equipped with 10 units which will be evaluated by a group of experts of Algarve University until the end of June.

26th April 2007