IDEMIA Modernizes Chile’s Identity Management and Document Production System

The Chilean government chose IDEMIA to modernize Chile’s identity management system and deliver more secure biometric passports and national ID cards to its citizens. IDEMIA’s 40 years of expertise in identity management and biometrics have enabled Chileans to enter the US Visa Waiver program.

Ambitious Goals

The government of Chile made it very clear that it wanted the highest level of service as well as an experienced partner capable of delivering a comprehensive and robust solution. After a competitive tender process, IDEMIA was assigned a ten-year contract in January 2012.

Establishing a PPP with IDEMIA

The contract with IDEMIA is built on a Build – Operate – Own (BOO) model. The main reason for entering a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) was the significant time savings offered by this model – Chile could thus ensure that the solution is deployed as soon as possible. Indeed, Chile realized that the service level, such as the document delivery time, could have an impact on the incentives of government employees. A top-notch level of service with great efficiency was a necessity. An additional argument for the PPP for the country was the low impact on its budget. Chile did not need to come up with the funding for the project and the financial risks lie with IDEMIA. IDEMIA gets refunded over the time specified in the contract through an agreed-upon fee on the end-user.

IDEMIA Takes Charge

After creating a local branch shortly after the contract signing, IDEMIA proceeded with implementing two central sites, each equipped with:

  • a datacentre
  • a document personalization center

In the datacenter all biometrics (face and fingerprint) and biographical information of the citizens are stored and processed. The personalization center deals adding citizens’ data onto their passport’s data page or ID card. The main site has a personalization infrastructure for a total throughput of 2,000 ID cards and 280 passports per hour. The central database is able to store more than 20 million identities and support up to 250,000 transactions per day. On top of that, the government of Chile expected the provision of back-end operations (implementation and operation of a multi-biometric identification system), production services, enrollment services, premium service to citizens and web services for third parties. Again, the PPP set-up made this colossal deployment possible in the shortest amount of time.

Successful Deployment Ahead of Schedule

IDEMIA’s team launched the project in September 2013 – five months ahead of schedule. IDEMIA’s local branch provides services such as the

  • maintenance of the enrollment service points
  • training for the customer’s operators
  • IT & AFIS administration and management of citizens’ data
  • personalization and distribution to citizens

The overall time needed from applying for an ID document to its issuance was drastically reduced. This significant time decrease was made possible thanks to the connectivity of the registration process and the optimization of the civil servant tasks, in particular the biometric verification AFIS/FRS.

Entering the US Visa Waiver Program

According to the Henley Passport Index, the Chilean passport now ranks as the most powerful passport in Latin America. The biometric ePassport, along with Chile’s remarkable economy, also enabled the country to be part of the US Visa Waiver Program. To become part of the US Visa Waiver Program is a long and complex process. The country is audited every year to make sure that the requirements are met or even improved. The Chilean government is extremely proud to be part of the program and, more importantly, to be the only South American country to have achieved this. Now every citizen in Chile is allowed to travel to the US without having to fill in a visa application form. IDEMIA is very happy to have contributed to this incredible achievement.


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