What is an MRZ Code? The Role of MRZ Technology in Identity Verification

Today, all nations have adopted MRZ code ID document formats as part of their AML-CFT travel-security measures. This blog helps one understand what is an MRZ code, with special highlights on what is MRZ in passport and how this technology accelerates the identity verification process with high-level accuracy and reliability.


What is an MRZ Code?

An MRZ code is the last two-three lines in the ID document that encrypt an individual’s data. The technology mainly relates to immigration security checks and is found in travel documents such as passports and visas. The machine-readable characters in the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ) transmit the value, also called checksum, decoding the personal data for identity validation and security checks.

The machine-readable area in the document decrypts the value or checksum using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) conversion technology to verify the personal data against the government-issued database. Also, this time plus resource-saving technology detects fake digital or physical ID documents by scanning photos and live-stream images in real time.

MRZ - Machine-Readable Zone

MRZ Verification to Combat ML-TF Threats

In the 1980s, growing trade and technology made global countries more interdependent on one another, and the volume of international travelers started rising manifold. At the onset of globalization, an imminent requirement to reshuffle the identity verification process for foreign travelers was sensed worldwide. During this period, machine-readable passports were introduced, and eventually, the MRZ code became a recognized international standard in travel ID formats.

Again, be it for business or leisure, tour & travel is a billion-dollar industry today. So, not only at airports and border security customs, but passport verification is also crucial at hotels, casinos, tourist amusement spots, health centers, shopping, rentals, and tourist checkpoints.

MRZ code passport verification helps the travel industry conform to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations, non-compliance of which may cause the entity to pay off hefty fines or to serve a jail term.

MRZ readable passport authentication helps businesses avert –

  • processing sanctioned transactions
  • booking or arranging travel to restricted places
  • booking flights for sanctioned individuals or alleged terrorists
  • high-risk individuals from booking flights, hotels, etc.
  • prolonged awaiting bookings for genuine travelers

What is MRZ in Passport?

Nowadays, all nations have machine-readable passports, as passport verification is considered the most standard background check method to meet the stringent immigration regulations that the major international governments have adopted.

The passport identity page has two parts; the Visual Inspection Zone (VIZ), with the photo and personal details of the passport owner mentioned in a way comprehensible to a human. At the bottom of the page, the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ) is encoded with personal details readable only to a machine.

Machine-readable passport technology is extremely efficient, and MRZ code passport verifies all vital details like name, age, address, nationality, originality, etc., with high-level precision and reliability.

MRZ OCR Data-Extraction Technology

The MRZ data extraction technology is based on the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system to decrypt the MRZ code. Upon scanning the machine-readable area, the OCR pulls the data in readable form to verify it against government-issued and approved identities.

  • The MRZ OCR engine automatically scans and extracts a person’s data on a machine-readable area.
  • The scanned MRZ image is uploaded to the OCR engine to convert to a TXT file.
  • The OCR Machine Learning algorithms convert the TXT file into structured JSON format.
  • The entire process parses the Machine-Readable Zone (MRZ).
  • Finally, the decrypted information can be verified against government-approved databases.

The Role of MRZ OCR in Identity Verification

MRZ-based ID documents have an added advantage in verifying identities with greater speed and accuracy. Still, to make the most of this technology, financial and regulated businesses must choose a robust MRZ recognition technology for secure and frictionless customer onboarding.

IDMERIT extends the best-in-class bank-grade Identity Verification solutions based on MRZ OCR Machine Learning technologies. IDMscan and IDMkyc are flagship IDMERIT products that exploit Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning inventions to offer AML-CFT solutions with full precision and reliability.

If you are a financial or obligated non-financial entity looking for an effective and steadfast MRZ OCR solution for verifying your customer identities, contact the IDMERIT Identity Verification consultant to get an MRZ OCR engine demo with product consultation.

Jay Raol
Jay Raol

Jay Raol has been a Media Manager, Entrepreneur, Political Analyst and an Environmentalist. He aspires to climb the mighty Himalayas, and learn a new language every year. He lives in the beautiful city of Carlsbad in Southern California and owns a great collection of books. He is on schedule to publish his first book; 'Thou Art, Dope'. Co-founded two companies that provide futuristic solutions to the world while being quite enthusiastic about helping and investing in technology startups.

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