French smart card manufacturer Gemalto is to supply electronic Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) cards to the National Immigration Agency (NIA) in Taiwan. Compared to the existing paper cards, the Gemalto Sealys microprocessor version is designed to bolster security by drastically improving resistance to forgery and counterfeiting.
According to the company, the contactless cards are the first electronic identification documents built on the strengths of electronic passport technology. These cards are also the first electronic foreigner identification cards in Asia.
Gemalto says it has already delivered three hundred thousand of these identification cards. The National Immigration Agency plans to achieve replacement of all remaining paper cards by 2009.
The ARC is an important document permitting the bearer to remain in Taiwan throughout a specific validity period, maintain a local currency bank account, take ownership of vehicles as well as apply for a driver’s license.
The size of a credit card, the new microprocessor-based electronic ARC is compliant with the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standard. This meant the NIA and Gemalto were able to fast track the project, issuing the first cards to residents within 6 months after award of tender. Similar to electronic passports, sensitive personal information and a photograph are securely stored on the chip and protected with digital signatures. To make counterfeit reproduction even more difficult, the card combines the security features of microprocessor-based documents with highly sophisticated printing techniques.
A Gemalto Coesys personalization system delivered as part of the solution prepares the sensitive information that gets stored in the card and generates the digital security keys used to protect it. A knock-on benefit of the polyvalent Gemalto Sealys technology is that the Alien Resident Certificate and the Permanent Resident Certificate can both be issued using the same card. For the NIA this represents considerable improvements in operational efficiency and savings in expense by integrating all resident certificates into one. The NIA needs just one card to issue Alien Resident Certificates and Permanent Resident Certificates (PARC) with physical markings distinguishing the two.