German Electronic Passports

German Electronic Passports
Introduction of Alphanumeric Serial Numbers on 1 November 2007
On 1 November 2007, Germany began to issue passports which incorporate a chip storing two digitized fingerprints
alongside the facial image. On the same date Germany replaced the numeric serial numbers used for German
electronic passports by an alphanumeric system. From now on, the serial numbers used in German passports are
composed of the digits from 0-9 and letters of the Latin alphabet. In total, 27 characters will be used (digits and
letters). So as to avoid meaningful words and to ensure OCR readability, the vowels (A, E, I, O, and U) and certain
letters (B, D, Q, and S) will not be used.
The serial numbers issued as from 1 November 2007 are thus
composed of the following characters: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
C, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, T, V, W, X, Y, Z.
Picture 1: Example of an alphanumeric serial number
Serial numbers invariably start with a letter, in order to distinguish them from the numbers used to date and to
distinguish between various types of documents.
The letters “C” to “K” will be used for passports and for official and diplomatic passports.
- German travel documents for foreigners, stateless persons and refugees will also be issued with alphanumeric
serial numbers as from 1 November 2007. This serial number starts with a “Z”.
Picture 2: Alphanumeric serial number in the passport card
Temporary passports and children’s passports
are exempted from this rule. German ID cards
will continue to be issued with a numeric serial
number (without letters).
Editorial office and contact
Bundesministerium des Innern, Referat IT 4
(Federal Ministry of the Interior, Division IT 4)
Biometrie, Pass- und Ausweiswesen, Meldewesen
(Biometrics, Travel and ID Documents, Registration)
Alt-Moabit 101 D, 10559 Berlin, Germany
E-mail: [email protected]
as per: 1 November 2007