MRZ machine readable zone

Decoding Identity Verification: MRZ Explained 

Identity verification is a crucial process in today’s world to confirm the identity of individuals for various purposes such as security, access control, and fraud prevention. One of the key elements of identity verification is the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ) found on ID documents. The MRZ contains essential information about the document holder & the document itself (e.g., document number or expiry date) and is designed to be easily read and processed by machines, making it an integral part of modern identification systems. In this article, we will delve into the significance of the MRZ, its role in identity verification, and how it enhances security measures. 

What is an MRZ on ID documents? 

If you have ever looked at your passport or ID card, you may have noticed a series of numbers and letters at the bottom of the page or the backside of the card. This is known as the MRZ code, and it plays a crucial role in the identification process. In this article, we will explore what an MRZ is, why it is important, and how it is used. 

What is an MRZ? 

MRZ stands for Machine Readable Zone, and it refers to the lines of text at the bottom of most ID documents. These lines contain important information about the document holder, such as their name and date of birth. The MRZ also contains information about the document, such as the document number and document type. The MRZ is designed to be easily read and processed by machines, making it an essential component of modern identification systems. 

What Does an MRZ Look Like? 

The MRZ is printed in a monospaced font, making it easier for machines to read. The code on passports is made up of two lines of text, with each line containing 44 characters. The first line has information about document type, issuing country, and name, while the second line includes nationality code, expiry date, gender, date of birth, document number, also check digits. 

An ID card could have two lines with 36 characters in each line or three lines, with 30 characters in each line. 

DocumentChecker Keesing MRZ

Source DocumentChecker  

Why is the MRZ Important? 

The MRZ is an essential component of modern identification systems for several reasons. 

Machine Readability 

As the name suggests, the MRZ is designed to be easily read and processed by machines. This makes it an efficient and accurate way to verify the identity of an individual. The code can be quickly scanned and compared to the Visual Inspection Zone (VIZ), making it an essential tool for border control and other identification processes. MRZ also allows for accessing the RFID chip within the document, enabling functions such as viewing the primary photograph and verifying the country certificates, for instance. 


The MRZ also plays a crucial role in ensuring the security of ID documents, since the characters is reliant on the Visual Inspection Zone (VIZ), the personal information is used in the MRZ, and check digits are included which makes tempering with the MRZ a challenge. This is way to prevent identity and document fraud, whether identity verification is executed through a manual check or an automated verification solution.  

International Standardization 

The MRZ is an internationally recognized standard for identification documents. MRZ in ID documents follows a standardized format set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This means that the code is used in a consistent format across different countries, making it easier for machines to read and process. It should be noted that variations can still exist due to specific implementations or additional data fields introduced by individual countries, however, ICAO has created a framework, so that they are still machine-readable. 

How is the MRZ Used? 

The MRZ is used in a variety of ways, including: 

Border Control 

One of the most common uses of the Machine Readable Zone is in border control. When traveling internationally, individuals are required to present their passport or ID card at border checkpoints. The MRZ is one of the elements an ID document that are checked by border control officers or automated verification solutions if present. 

Many airlines now use automated check-in systems that require individuals to scan their passport or ID card. The MRZ is used for data extraction, and to verify the identity of the individual quickly and accurately and provide them with the necessary information or access. 

Online Verification 

In an increasingly digital world, the MRZ is also used for online verification. Some websites and services require individuals to upload or scan their ID document to verify their identity. This is often used for Know Your Customer (KYC) or age verification. 

How Can I Find the MRZ on My ID Document? 

The location of the Machine Readable Zone may vary depending on the type of ID document you have. On a passport, it is found at the bottom of the page, below the personal information and photo. While on an ID card, it is usually located on the back of the card. 

In conclusion, the MRZ is an essential component of modern identification systems. It is used for machine readability, security, and international standardization. While the MRZ is not 100% secure, it is an effective tool for verifying the identity of individuals and data extraction. 

Automated Identity Verification  

Keesing AuthentiScan is a cutting-edge identity verification solution that leverages advanced technology to enhance security measures and streamline the verification process. By utilizing state-of-the-art scanning and recognition capabilities, it ensures quick and accurate identification of individuals through the MRZ on ID documents. With its robust encryption and verification algorithms, AuthentiScan provides a secure and reliable method for identity verification in various industries. Experience the convenience and efficiency of AuthentiScan today to safeguard your business and customers from potential risks. Take the first step towards enhanced security and seamless verification by integrating AuthentiScan into your system now!