International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
Universal Security Audit Programme
The objective of the Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP) is to promote global aviation
security through the auditing of Contracting States on a regular basis. The audits evaluate the
implementation of Annex 17 - Security Standards and provide recommendations to States on
achieving better implementation and global harmonization of aviation security measures.
Operational since 2002, the USAP is on a five-year cycle with the initial audits of all Contracting
States to be completed by December 2007. Audit follow-up visits are also being conducted in the
second year following the date of an initial audit in order to validate the implementation of State
corrective action plans.
Commencing in 2008, a second cycle of security audits will be initiated in accordance with
principles agreed upon by the Council. These include the introduction of a model to help
determine the priority of individual audits and frequency of visits to States, and an increased
emphasis on a State's capability to provide appropriate national oversight of its aviation security
activities. In this regard, a flexible "two-tier approach" for the conduct of future audits will be
introduced, whereby the scope of the audits will be adjusted to the prevailing oversight situation
in each audited State. In addition, future audits under the USAP will be expanded to include the
relevant security-related provisions of Annex 9 - Facilitation.
More information may be found on the ICAO Website: www.icao.int
Machine Readable Travel Document Programme and Assistance Objectives
A Machine Readable Travel Document (MRTD) is an international travel document (e.g. a
passport or visa) containing eye-and machine-readable data.
Each type of MRTD contains, in a standard format, the holder's identification details, including a
photograph or digital image, with mandatory identity elements reflected in a two-line machine
readable zone (MRZ) printed in Optical Character Recognition-B (OCR-B) style.
Standardization of elements in the travel document allows all participating countries.
This "global inter-operability" of MRTDs facilitates inspection of international travelers at
borders and generally enhances security.
MRTDs currently in existence include Machine Readable Passports (MRP), electronic Machine
Readable Passports (eMRP), Machine Readable Visas (MRVs) and Machine Readable Official
Travel Documents (TDs).
MRTDs Stndards and Specifications are developed with the assistance of ICAO's Technical
Advisory Group on Machine Readable Travel Documents (TAG/MRTD) with technical and
engineering input from ISO Working Group 3 (JTC1/SC17/WG3). These specifications are
published in ICAO Doc 9303 and endorsed by ISO as ISO/IEC 7501. The TAG also drafts
guidance material to assist States implement the specifications, and Technical Reports and
Information Papers to guide States and private industry on present and future aspects of its work.
ICAO's mandate to develop MRTDs is provided by Articles 22, 23 and 37 of the Chicago
Convention which oblige Contracting States to develop and adopt international standards for
customs, immigration and other procedures to facilitate the border-crossing processes involved in
international air transport.
ICAO took the initiative in order to address the clearance of increased passengers volumes that
came with the emergence of wide body aircraft, and published the first edition of Doc 9303 in
ICAO’s task is to establish standards and recommended practices so to achieve the promotion of
harmonized procedures, which allow for global interoperability and facilitation at last. However,
ICAO is not a certifier entity for products or processes, and therefore, each State implements
ICAO’s standards in the way that it appears to be most adequate, bearing in mind the State’s own
resources and available technology.
Nevertheless, to assist States on the implementation of the referred standards, especially
regarding passport and other travel documents issuance, ICAO has brought to action a program
which is expected to help States to determine needs and to accommodate resources as well as
required assistance through cooperation agreements with other States and organizations.
The main objectives of the UIMRTD are:
1. establish the present situation of those States that have not implemented MRTDs;
2. propose and recommend mechanisms for increasing security in the MRTD and its
issuance and control processes according to ICAO standards; and
3. Provide Technical Cooperation assistance and implementation in MRTDs and electronic