drivers license, government, ID, Postal Service, UK, US, visa

Post Offices Streamlining Government Services with Biometrics

The UK Post Office is active in the ID management industry, serving as a clearing house between individuals residing in Britain and various government bureaucracies dealing with ID and now Post Office Limited has processed the biometric information of more than one and a half million applicants through its Applicant Enrollment Identification (AEI) service.

The UK Post Office serves as a customer service link between individuals and the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the UK Border Agency, capturing applicant information such as fingerprints, photographs, and digital signatures and charging a fee of £19.20.

The DVLA uses the AEI service to allow drivers to renew their drivers’ licenses. By capturing drivers’ photographs and digital signatures at Post Office branches, the service has automated the renewal process that occurs every ten years. Using AEI, the renewal process takes an average of 3.5 – 5 minutes.

The UK Border Agency uses Post Office branches to record and securely transmit biometric information and other applicant data for those wishing to extend their visas. Once the digital signature, photograph, and fingerprints are received and checked by the UK Border Agency and they are satisfied with all aspects of the immigration application, the UK Border Agency issues the foreign national a Biometric Residence Permit.

Here’s how it works…

National post offices are in a unique position to offer services like these. Some have been better than others at managing through the information revolution. Australia blazed a trail that the UK followed. The template is there for others to follow.

Unfortunately it’ll be difficult to pull off in the United States because most ID is administered at the state, rather than at the national level. The US Postal Service does provide passport services for first-time passport requests and charges $25 for the service, but it’s largely locked out of the more lucrative ID business the state’s have carved out for themselves.

See also: 3M’s press release about its relationship with Post Office Limited

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