26 Apr 20247 min readin ID verification & biometrics

Top-Notch ID Document Processing Worldwide: Latvia

Ihar Kliashchou

Chief Technology Officer, Regula

Sometimes, there are no apparent challenges when processing certain IDs, but don't let this simplicity deceive you. 

In this post, we’ll have a closer look at Latvia, the home country of Regula.

Let’s get started.

💡 If you’re new to this series, you may also like these posts about processing other countries’ documents:

The challenges of processing Latvian IDs

Unlike the documents from the countries we have previously covered in this series, Latvian ID documents do not contain any exotic elements. The Latvian alphabet, although it has some nuances, is based on Latin. Dates are represented according to the Gregorian calendar. The challenge of processing Latvian documents has another twist.

Starting in 2021, the country has completely redesigned all key identity documents in circulation. In this regard, it is critical that the provider whose document verification solutions you use has updated its document sample database in a timely manner.

The new Latvian ID cards

comparison of the 2021 version of a Latvian ID with the previous one

Like many other European countries, Latvian IDs now include the EU flag

In 2021, a series of new Latvian IDs was released. In particular, they’ve changed the way how the portrait is applied to Lasink™ Origin technology, which isn’t an easy task. 

In plain language, there’s a series of horizontal 4-color stripes printed right into the inner layers of the polycarbonate page of the document. When the document is personalized, a grayscale portrait is laser-engraved between those stripes. The combination produces a color image of the document's owner. This technique prevents counterfeiters from overprinting the photo. 

Also, both the new and old Latvian ID versions contain texts in metameric inks—that look different under IR light—which significantly strengthens the anti-counterfeiting security complex of these documents.

The new Latvian driver’s license

comparison of the 2023 version of a Latvian driver’s license with the previous one dated 2013

An important change is that the portrait is now in color

In 2023, Latvia also revamped the entire series of driver's licenses. The old ones, dating back to 2013, had a slightly different look with the naked eye. The UV image was updated too: where previously there was a silhouette of the country’s borders, now it’s been replaced with a delicate flower wreath. 

They’ve also become more secure. Just like with the new ID cards, the holder’s portrait is also made using Lasink technology.

The new Latvian passport

comparison of the 2024 version of a Latvian passport with a previous one

Nature and migratory birds are the motif of the new Latvian passport

The release of the new Latvian ePassport in early 2024 marked a significant milestone in document design and security. Having undergone a complete visual transformation, the ePassport now stands as a testament to the breathtaking beauty of Latvia's natural landscapes, earning its well-deserved spot among the world's most beautiful passports.

But that's not all. The new Latvian ePassport doesn't just look good; it's also very secure. Even though there’s a clear move from traditional to electronic passports, which store personal data on a secure chip, the physical passport book is still essential. This is why innovative countries like Latvia are updating their passports with advanced optical and printing security features, designed to be easily spotted during checks, regardless of the control environment.

A Latvian passport boasts an array of innovative security features, carefully crafted to deter counterfeiters and ensure the integrity of the document. These features include:

  • A bright color photo of the passport holder.

  • A photo of the passport holder engraved in a metallic, optically variable window. This window dazzles, changing hues and patterns when viewed from different angles, serving as both a visually captivating feature and a security measure.

  • Personal information is applied over the main holder’s portrait.

  • An optically variable ink feature printed as an oak leaf that appears to change color as the page is tilted.

  • A crane made with lenticular technology which gives the illusion of flight.

  • A horizontal transparent stripe with a fluorescent effect; it also allows you to see the antenna of the RFID chip.

  • Three stars in the transparent area that seem to move when you tilt the document.


Latvian passport pages under uv

Each passport page has a unique, Latvian nature-themed design

How to effectively process Latvian IDs

Let's be clear: stating that Latvian IDs aren’t the most challenging to process doesn't imply they are without their nuances. 

While the Latvian language is not that hard to recognize compared to, for example, the Amharic language, it still has its fine moments. Letters with diacritics should be correctly transliterated, otherwise you get false negatives at the first data cross-check with the MRZ zone and other sources. 

Also, every Latvian citizen has a personal number, which contains personal information: date of birth, gender, and more. This number is present in all documents: driver's licenses, passports, and ID cards. Checking its validity is also important, so Regula Document Reader SDK makes sure that it is written down and calculated correctly.

The professionally selected set of security features in new Latvian ID documents facilitates their effective verification, both in manual mode using technical means of express or in-depth control, as well as automatically with Regula Document Reader SDK. So, if you are looking for a solution to deliver the best performance in this field, don’t hesitate to test-drive Regula.

Regula Document Reader SDK

Automate identity document reading and authentication.

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