A machine-readable passport (MRP) is a machine-readable travel document (MRTD) with the data on the identity page encoded in optical character recognition format. Many countries began to issue machine-readable travel documents in the 1980s.
Most travel passports worldwide are MRPs. They are standardized by the ICAO Document 9303 (endorsed by the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission as ISO/IEC 7501-1) and have a special machine-readable zone (MRZ), which is usually at the bottom of the identity page at the beginning of a passport.
The ICAO Document 9303 describes three types of documents. Usually passport booklets are issued in "Type 3" format, while passport cards typically use the "Type 1" format.
The machine-readable zone of a Type 3 travel document spans two lines, and each line is 44 characters long. The following information has to be provided in the zone: name, passport number, nationality, date of birth, sex, passport expiration date and personal identity number. There is room for optional, often country-dependent, supplementary information. The machine-readable zone of a Type 1 travel document spans three lines, and each line is 30 characters long.