Federal Office for Information Security (BSI)

Overview of electronic ID documents

The department "Official Electronic ID Documents“ of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) focuses on piloting and implementation of new technologies and the issue of specifications for electronic ID documents, such as the electronic ID card, the electronic passport and the electronic residence permit.

An electronic ID document distinguishes itself from existing standard identity documents by an integrated electronic chip, on which the personal data of the document holder is additionally stored in electronic form. What data is stored and how it is done and exactly what benefits are gained can be found in the description of each document.

With the support of other areas of the BSI various tasks are processed, which the technical development of a new electronic ID document entails.

Following topics are included:

Concepts, technical guidelines, protection profiles, studies

Concepts, technical guidelines, specifications, safety profiles and studies are created, including:


The results are consistently coordinated with various national and international institutions. These are, for example:

  • Federal Ministry of the Interior
  • The Federal Commissioner for Data Protection
  • Federal Criminal Police Office
  • other public authorities
  • national standardization committees such as DIN/DIF
  • international organizations such as CEN, ISO and ICAO


To enable the use of electronic identity documents, pilot projects had to and also have to be realized in different domains. Therefor, the following was initiated, implemented and / or accompanied:

  • chip card testing
  • development of reading devices for different applications
  • development of reading software
  • development of a middleware between ID document and user software
  • testing of application transactions
  • setting-up of infrastructures for identity control applications of the control authorities
  • development of applications for non-public authority use
  • testing of biometric procedures

Quality assurance

For quality assurance regarding of the soft- and hardware used in context of electronic ID documents:

  • test specifications are issued and
  • interoperability test are performed


These tasks include the support of various institutions, such as

  • authorities (e.g. Federal Police, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs),
  • manufacturers (e.g document manufacturers, manufacturers of reading devices as well as software developers) and
  • service providers (e.g trust centers and computing service centers).