Legal Identity Guide "Free Movement Zones"

(Nov 01, 2021): United Nations Development Programm (UNDP) and UN Migration (IOM) issued a new guide on "Free Movement Zones", a guide for Issuance Authorities and Border Management. Stephan D. Hofstetter from SECOIA was one of the authors.


The onset of this work came from a discussion in the UN Legal Identity Agenda Task Force (UNLIA TF), established in 2018 with 15 UN agency members and which has been actively supporting UN Member States to develop comprehensive birth-to-death civil registration and legal identity systems. In addition to traditional civil registration and the issuance of certificates such as birth and marriage certificates, many UN Member States have also rolled out national ID programmes in recent decades. Within some regional groups (such as the EU), these national ID cards can be used as travel documents within the agreed free movement zone. However, contrary to passports, where common technical standards have been developed under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization, national ID documents so far do not have such a common set of internationally-recognised technical standards. The Task Force therefore decided to develop this guide, via the International Organization for Migration, in order to provide best practice guidance to Member States when develop national ID document schemes that can be used for international travel.


Nelson Goncalves/IOM (m), Stephan Hofstetter/SECOIA (l), Rajeshkumar Raja/Auctorizium (r) during the launching workshop at IOM HQ in Geneva on Oktober 18, 2021

The aim of the guide is support the establishment of crossborder identity document systems, both regionally and globally, to facilitate easier international travel and migration. Extensive documentation, manuals, guides and training materials have been developed in the past. Most of them are very ‘issuercentric’, and with a particular (technical) vocabulary and focus. They offer little benefit for the practitioner in border management.


The guide is a reference book. It is not a standard and not a "cook-book", neither is it intended as an assessment of existing initiatives for free movement of people, though it does pick up learning points from current initiatives in this area. The guide is intended to provide an introduction on the subject to all involved, and to raise awareness and knowledge for all stakeholders.

Preview Pages of the guide


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