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How to establish the right identity before issuing an identity - or travel document



Ronald Belser
R&D adviser, Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice, Netherlands


To protect existing identities and prevent identity fraud, a minimum security standard is desired for breeder documents (birth certificates) that are issued by Member States of the European Union, the Members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

While the latest ICAO and EU recommendations and specifications have generally made travel, residence and identity documents better protected from counterfeiting, the documents used in most cases to establish the right identity of the applicant are not subject to any global/regional guidelines or specifications. These breeder documents are often unprotected or poorly protected from counterfeiting and falsification and, as such, they are the weakest link in the document/identity chain.

Travel, residence and identity documents play an increasingly important role in our complex society. These documents are used to verify the identity of the bearer. However, a genuine travel, residence and/or identity document does not guarantee the real identity of the holder but can be used in ABC systems.

After finishing High School and the Police Academy, he joined the Dutch National Police Force and started his career as a police officer in the province Overijssel in the eastern part of the Netherlands.

From 1985 till 1987 he was a member of an international police investigation team (France, Germany and the Netherlands) in the fight against identity fraud by asylum seekers. From 1990 he worked for the Immigration and Naturalisation Service as a policy officer and since 1994 he has been sr. Research and Development adviser of the Directorate for Specialist Services and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Security and Justice.

In this function he is responsible for the process of development, production, personalisation and issuing of travel-, identity- and residence permit documents in the Netherlands including the (introduction of) biometrics. He is a specialist in identity and travel documents and in the Netherlands founder of the investigation Unit of Civil Status Documents.

In the field of the prevention of identity and document fraud Ronald Belser participates in several working groups:

- Commission working group on Identity  theft and identity  management
- Council working group Counterfeit Documents
- Council working group Visa
- Commission art. 6 working group
- UN-ICAO-TAG member
- ICAO New Technologies Working Group (NTWG)
- ICAO Implementation and Capacity Building Working Group (ICBWG)
- Interpol. Working group on source/breeder documents



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