The final award went to Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt, the Federal Criminal Police Office and Bundesdruckerei, the country’s state printer and manufacturer of banknotes, passports and ID cards for the new EU Visa sticker project.

As part of the EU Commission Action Plan to strengthen the EU response to travel document fraud, all EU member states will be introducing the new EU Visa sticker in 2019. The project was a result of the collective work done at EU Article 6 Committee and associated subgroup with regard to the development of an improved uniform format visa.

Following a contest and the presentation from each member state and subsequent voting on points for seven different categories regarding the visa (Substrate, DOVID, Features, Personalisation etc), Germany was chosen as having the best concept and it had also won six of the seven categories outright.

It was decided by the member states not just to write the technical specification but also to improve the quality of the Visa Stickers and limit variation by running a Development Project to produce a Zero Series/Pilot Project – which would then be used as the baseline for the member states and the producers to adhere to. The project, funded by the EU, was awarded to and run by the Bundeskriminalamt and the Bundesdruckerei together.

The development project lasted about 11 months and was finished within time and on budget with a successful outcome and the issuance of a “Best Practice” Visa Kit and Technical Specification for 31 EU member and associate States. The Visa Kit and Technical Specification would then also be used as Best Practice for the basis of the subsequent eResidence Permit Card Project.

The Visa development project involved the integration of some additional ideas of the other member states as well, in order to create a project involving all concerned – which created team spirit. Suggestions came from a number of countries including Italy, Hungary and the UK. The approval at the production stage also involved an invitation for the subgroup to come to Berlin to sign off the progress.

This collaboration increased the level of the security features, the security concept specification, the design and quality of the document. The new sticker integrates improved chemical sensitisers, high level security background design, completely re-designed DOVID with improved features, improved intaglio inks and latent images, rip cuts and advanced UV elements. The sticker also has a “quiet zone” reserved for a 2D barcode in order to upgrade and secure the personalisation of the sticker, which is seen as a good next step to incorporate digital security into the security document world.

The project is a good example of the concept of Europe working together on an issue which concerns all Member States driving through the necessary factors for the good of all whilst taking into account the compromises needed and involved in successful partnerships.
The award was presented to Dr. Anna Wandschneider of Bundeskriminalamt, Duncan Faulkner of Bundesdruckerei and Francis Deschrijvere of the European Commission.