A major project to modernize public services is an identity card and passport system

Client: Government of Chile Industry: Governance Solution: Chilean Identification, Identity Card and Passport System


Until a few years ago, any Chilean wanting to travel abroad needed a visa for various destinations. A prerequisite was to apply for an identity card or passport and this was a complicated process. In fact, the loss of either of these documents could become a big nightmare.

However, this changed radically after SONDA took responsibility for the Chilean Identification, Identity Card and Passport System. It created huge benefits for the community and was an unprecedented technological project for a public service.

The tremendous impact of this project was felt across a range of public services, such as in Government, in the uniformed police, in the investigatory police and in other services responsible for identifying individuals and for public safety.

Business Need

Seeking profound change

By 1998 the National Directorate of the Chilean Civil Registration and Identification Service (SRCeI in Spanish) believed it imperative to renew the procedures for capturing and managing data that identified individuals. They also sought new identity cards and passports, in order to meet international security standards and to prevent an increase in forgeries.

In mid 1999 international tenders were invited and after an exhaustive evaluation process, the comprehensive outsourcing project “New Civil Identification, Identity Card and Passport System” was awarded to SONDA. We integrated technology from various companies – security document experts De La Rue, and biometric technology suppliers NEC – to ensure the highest possible quality for all outsourced processes and which concluded with a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) for identification.


A technological contribution

SONDA designed the overall solution, which entailed taking responsibility for the entire technological process behind the new identification system. This included producing identity cards and passports, implementing the new biometric identification database, developing an IT system and installing five hundred data capture points. The aim was to successfully complete all the processes relating to the request, manufacture and issue of information and documentation, to prove that the person carrying an identity document is who he claims to be.

A principal project innovation was a central computerized identification system, which contains a biometric identification database where digitized images of each person’s photograph, signature and fingerprints are stored. This centralized system ensures that the identity of any living or dead individual can be immediately and automatically verified from anywhere in the country. It even enables the identity of a person who is not carrying an identity document to be confirmed. Identity card and passport applicants can also collect their documents from a different office than where their application was submitted.

Over 28 million manual records and sets of finger-prints were scanned to build this database, which contains information on all Chilean citizens. All this information was transformed through a mass digitalization process, to generate an important database for the SRCeI of all living and dead Chilean residents, including both Chilean nationals and foreigners.

Another important change took place at the new workstations where data is captured to process the documentation. Before this change, data capture was entirely manual, whereas now it is being done digitally. Thus, each person’s signature, photograph and fingerprints are transmitted directly to the identification database.


The results speak for themselves

The launch of this BPO enabled document production to increase by 60% to meet an increase in demand from citizens. Up to October 2004, 4,861,384 identity cards had been issued and 369,976 passports, without any forgeries being detected.

However, the achievements are not limited to the figures. The tremendous impact of this project was felt across a range of public services, such as in Government, in the police forces and in other services responsible for identifying individuals and for public safety.


  • We created a biometric identification database.
  • We installed new workstations to capture data.
  • This project has a tremendous impact on society.