WorldReach: World’s Most Successful Remote Identity Verification Immigration Programme
OTTAWA, CANADA – May 7, 2020 – According to the Home Office EU Settlement Scheme Statistics March 2020, more than 3.1 million applications were successfully concluded, with the vast majority using the digital route. This marks the world’s largest, most successful digital on-boarding immigration programme using remote identity verification with ePassport chip reading and liveness detection.
To support the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) was established by the Home Office to allow EEA nationals living in the UK to apply for a UK immigration status. Applicants need only to complete three key steps – prove their identity, show that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions. As the Home Office wanted to make the application process as easy as possible for the estimated 3.5 million EEA nationals who would need to apply, they sought out new innovative and effective capabilities to include in an optional end-to-end digital application channel.
Built on WorldReach’s Know Your Traveller™ platform, this innovative service is powered by IdentityReach™, which reads the ePassport chip’s security features to authenticate the legitimacy of the document. Facial matching is achieved by comparing the secure reference image from the ePassport chip to a live selfie captured by smartphone camera. Genuine presence technology is applied to mitigate attempts at identity fraud. This service supports multiple eIDs including ePassports, UK biometric residence cards and EU citizen eID cards, all using ICAO standards.
The full public launch, following a three-month beta phase, commenced on March 30, 2019 and included three optional paths for EEA nationals to prove their identity in applying for status: mail-in; visit a local service provider; or a completely digital route. The vast majority chose the digital channel and completed the process successfully, including during COVID-19 closures.
This compares very favourably with the remote digital on-boarding rate achieved in the banking sector. According to Asia Bank Research, participants in their Excellence 2019 programme reported a dropout rate for on-boarding via digital channels as high as 80%. In a SIGNICAT report, the number one reason why banking customers abandoned an application was that “it took too long to complete”.
More than 3.1 million applications have successfully concluded.
A high percentage completed their application in under 10 minutes, with a high level of identity assurance.
This was the first iOS app in production to read ICAO MRTD compliant chips via Near Field Communication (NFC) at large scale on iPhone 7 and above.
Over 2,300 different makes and models of Android and iOS devices have been used to complete the identity verification process.
IDV System Availability since the start of live production is 99.97%, exceeding SLA commitments.
2019 EUSS feedback survey results: 79% of applicants indicated that proving their identity through the app was either “very easy” or “fairly easy”. A further 7% found it neither difficult nor easy.
The app receives an average 4.1 star satisfaction rating on Google Play Store.
“There has never been a more crucial time for highly trusted, proven-in-use remote identity verification services given the Covid-19 situation, especially for government digital on-boarding and essential services delivery,” said Gordon Wilson, WorldReach CEO. “The EUSS is a very successful, scalable proof-point of what’s possible and achievable with the right end-to-end processes, technology and collaborative team.”
The innovative nature of WorldReach’s application of remote identity verification to immigration challenges has been recognized by the Home Office. (Jan 23 2020 HO News Team)
A more detailed EUSS case study can be found here.
About WorldReach Software
WorldReach Software enables highly trusted digital services through its systems for government immigration, passport, border management, consular and citizen services organizations. We use innovative processes and best of breed technology to verify you are who you say you are.
Government customers include Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Virgin Islands, St. Helena), and UK Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey) & Gibraltar.
In May 2019, Goode Intelligence published an excellent report entitled Digital Identity & Document Verification. The report defines “eIDV” (electronic identity and document verification) as a digital means to establish that a person is who they claim to be. This includes onboarding into a system (for banking purposes, for example), or making an application to a government agency for a benefit of some kind. The report concludes that the use of such technology will grow rapidly in the next few years, but is constrained by a number of barriers, one of which was the inability of iPhone users to access the NFC (near-field communication) capabilities of their device outside the Apple ecosystem. But things are changing.
Before we get onto Apple, let’s take a step back. Why should government agencies care about this technology? Because it’s changing the way in which they interact with the public. And because the public increasingly demands convenient, remote, digital service provision.
At WorldReach, with our background in passports and immigration, we have been working on unlocking the power of the chip embedded in the e-passport. Given all the efforts made by passport agencies to embed a small computer full of secure data into the passport, couldn’t other government agencies make better use of it to help verify the identity of the holder?
This question has taken us into two innovative projects, in Canada and the UK.
For the last couple of years, the two Canadian government agencies with lead borders responsibilities, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) and CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency), have been working on a prototype called the Chain of Trust. The ultimate aim of the project is to achieve zero wait time at the future border for admissible passengers. As the industry leader on the project, WorldReach is pleased to be working with both government and industry partners towards this aim. Using our eIDV service, low-risk travellers will be able to register using only a smart phone, remotely, from wherever they are. Our app allows applicants to register and authenticate their passport information – using their smartphone to read the chip – and uses the latest facial recognition technology to check that the applicant is in fact the owner of the document. Plus, there’s an additional layer of security in the form of genuine presence, to confirm that a real, live person is making the application.
In the UK, the EU Settlement Scheme run by the Home Office is using the eIDV concept in perhaps its single largest live deployment. Because of Brexit, the freedom of movement previously enjoyed by other EU nationals living in the UK will soon end. The UK government estimates that there are between 3 and 4 million people in this category, who are required to apply for a new “settled status” before December 2020, in order to continue living and working in the UK.
The above policy presented the Home Office with an operational challenge, since applying for settlement in the UK usually involves filling out a lengthy form, sending personal documents – including passports – by post, and in some cases requires an in-person interview. Given its awareness of emerging eIDV technologies, the Home Office chose to offer an entirely digital application process, and we at WorldReach are pleased to be a significant part of the solution.
Although the EU Settlement Scheme began in public beta only in January of this year, followed by full release in March, the Home Office recently announced that more than 2 million applicants had already applied for settled status. However, because of the lack of access to NFC on Apple devices, all those choosing the eIDV route had to apply on an Android device.
But now that restriction has changed. Writing in The Guardian on 6 September, the Home Office Minister, Brandon Lewis, said of the eIDV service: “More than three-quarters of applicants are choosing to use a specially created app to prove their identity. It’s available on Android and we will roll out an Apple version in October once the technology is available”. Access to the NFC capability of iPhones was provided to app developers in iOS 13.1, which was released in late September. And the iOS version of the Home Office app arrived in the Apple Store in mid October.
So, one of the key barriers to the deployment of eIDV systems, as identified by Goode Intelligence, has been removed. Which means that convenient, secure identity verification services, using the latest in facial recognition and liveness technologies, are now accessible by the large majority of citizens with access to a smartphone.
In other words, thanks in part to Apple, the eIDV approach to managing citizen identity is ripening. Perhaps it’s time for public sector agencies to take a bite.
WorldReach to add iOS NFC Functionality to Mobile Solutions
June 10th, 2019
WorldReach welcomes the recent iOS 13 NFC announcement from Apple and is committed to have compatible versions of our products ready when iOS 13 is launched (expected by Q4 2019). IdentityReach and VisaReach will be able to read and validate passport/identification chips with both Apple/iOS 13 and Android smartphones, which covers almost all smartphone users.
Apple’s new iOS 13 operating system, currently in beta, features enhanced access to functionality for Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC permits devices in close proximity to share information wirelessly. Opening up the NFC to 3rd party developers allows new iOS compatibility to formerly “Android-only” applications. Now, through supported devices, iOS apps are able to use NFC technology to read information from electronic tags associated with tangible objects (e.g. ePassports, chipped eIDs, etc.).
WorldReach’s identity verification products are in production use on Android smartphones for the NFC reading and authentication of passports and other identification documents in a large-scale UK government program.
IdentityReach is WorldReach’s remote identity verification service. Users can scan their ePassports to verify their ID and association to ID remotely through a mobile application. IdentityReach includes a liveness and biometric check, identity document authentication, as well as guidance throughout the verification process.
WorldReach’s VisaReach solution includes the technical and process advantages of IdentityReach, designed specifically for ETA/ESTA/ETIAS or eVisa programs. ETAs and eVisas can be processed by the service, affording applicants a straight-forward, secure way of applying, paying for, and receiving an immigration permission from a relevant immigration authority. VisaReach is a cost-effective and more secure alternative to Visa-On-Arrival (VOA).
WorldReach Software helps ensure traveller facilitation, safety and security worldwide through its systems for government immigration, passport issuance, border management and consular organizations. WorldReach supplies secure eID/Travel Document issuance systems, remote identity and document verification services, and consular software. Know Your Traveller™ (KYT) is a highly secure and user-friendly innovative identity verification platform for: Electronic Travel Authorization; eVisa; Visa; Registered Traveller Programs; online passport renewal; seamless traveller facilitation programs and digital services delivery. VisaReach™, Secure ETA™ and IdentityReach™ can remotely verify that the traveller is who they say they are by combining smartphone reading and comparing the traveller’s ePassport secured facial image with a live selfie, including ePassport validations and liveness detection to help prevent fraud.
WorldReach staff are intimately familiar with the international technical standards for secure travel documents, based on ICAO Document 9303 and are active participants in working groups for seamless borders, identity verification, identity documents and biometrics. Our systems for passport issuance put these standards to practice. We apply this experience and relationships with epassport issuance authorities to our identity verification services.
Government customers include Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and UK Crown Dependencies & Gibraltar.