Portuguese American Journal

Travel: Biometric border control system expanded – Portugal

Portugal border control system has expanded its RAPID electronic biometric ID system to include a number of countries outside the European Union.

The system, using electronic passport biometric data storage for facial recognition, was expanded to include passengers from nine countries, namely the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand.

Established in 2007, the biometric border control system was only valid for the entry of national citizens and European Union citizens over-18 years old who are holders of an electronic passport.

The RAPID electronic ID system, which compares a facial image of the traveler obtained at the border with the one stored on the chip, was developed by the Portuguese company Vision-Box for the Portuguese Borders and Passport Control Service.

Since 2007, Portuguese nationals were issued a credit card format national eID biometric card replacing pre-existing identification cards. It features several characteristics of the citizen’s identity, including civil and tax identification, social security number, health card and voter card, in a single unifying format.