ISO/IEC 19794-5

ISO/IEC 19794 Information technology — Biometric data interchange formats — Part 5: Face image data, or ISO/IEC 19794-5 for short, is the fifth of 8 parts of the ISO standard ISO/IEC 19794, published in 2005, which describes interchange formats for several types of biometric data. ISO/IEC 19794-5 defines specifically a standard scheme for codifying data describing human faces within a CBEFF-compliant data structure, for use in facial recognition systems. Modern biometric passport photos should comply with this standard.[1] Many organizations and have already started enforcing its directives,[2] and several software applications have been created to automatically test compliance to the specifications.[3]

The standard is intended to allow computer analysis of face images for automated face identification (one-to-many searching) and authentication (one-to-one matching), as well as human identification of distinctive features such as moles and scars that might be used to verify identity, and human verification of computer identification results.

In order to enable applications that run on a variety of devices, including those with limited resources (such as embedded systems), and to improve face recognition accuracy, the specification describes not only the data format, but also additional requirements, namely: scene constraints (lighting, pose, expression, etc.); photographic properties (positioning, camera focus etc.); and digital image attributes (image resolution, image size, etc.).

Four face image types are introduced to define categories that satisfy the needs of different applications, and the requirements above are specified for each image type:

  • Basic: the fundamental Face Image Type that specifies a record format including header and image data. All the remaining Face Image Types inherit the properties of this type. No mandatory scene, photographic and digital requirements are specified for this image type.
  • Frontal: consists of an extension to the Basic Face Image Type to conform to requirements appropriate for frontal face recognition. Two variants of the Frontal Face Image Type are defined:
    • Full Frontal: A Face Image Type that specifies frontal images with sufficient resolution for human examination as well as reliable computer face recognition. This type of Face Image Type includes the full head with all hair in most cases, as well as neck and shoulders. This image type is suitable for permanent storage of the face information, and it is applicable to ID portraits for passport, driver's license, and mug shot images.
    • Token Frontal: specifies frontal images with a specific geometric size and eye positioning based on the width and height of the image. It requires less detail, which makes it suitable for less demanding applications.


  1. ^ ICAO 9303 – Part 1 Machine Readable Passports. Volume 2 - Specifications for Electronically Enabled Passports with Biometric Identification Capability – section II.13.4.2
  2. ^ Photograph SpecificationsVFS Global
  3. ^ ISO/IEC 19794-5 - ICAO Face Examples

External links


CBEFF (Common Biometric Exchange Formats Framework) is a set of ISO standards defining an approach to facilitate serialisation and sharing of biometric data in an implementation agnostic manner. This is achieved through use of a data structure which both describes, and contains, biometric data.

Cédula de Identidad y Electoral

The Dominican national identity card (Cédula de Identidad y Electoral or cédula) is a polycarbonate card which contains the holder's name and surnames, city of birth, nationality, sex, date of birth, civil status, occupation, polling station, residential address, and a photograph that adheres to ISO/IEC 19794-5. The card can also optionally include the holder's blood type. Formerly, it included the holder's race (until 2014).

Each cédula features an 11-digit number that uniquely identifies the holder on a national level. This number is used as a driver's license number as well as a taxpayer identification number. Private companies also use the cédula number to uniquely identify their customers.

The cédula is issued at Central Electoral Board (Spanish: Junta Central Electoral, JCE) offices nationally and at Cedulación en el Exterior offices internationally. They are issued to all Dominican citizens and legal residents in the country.


ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 Biometrics is a standardization subcommittee in the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which develops and facilitates standards within the field of biometrics. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), located in the United States.

List of International Organization for Standardization standards, 18000-19999

This is a list of published International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and other deliverables. For a complete and up-to-date list of all the ISO standards, see the ISO catalogue.The standards are protected by copyright and most of them must be purchased. However, about 300 of the standards produced by ISO and IEC's Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) have been made freely and publicly available.

ISO standards by standard number

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