Scan the MRZ code of a passport and extract the firstname, lastname, passport number, nationality, date of birth, expiration date and personal numer.
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Latest commit 0e64e0d Oct 10, 2018


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Work on this branch:

In this branch the GPUImage library is upgraded to GPUImage2. The current status is:

  • cleaner code
  • there are 2 versions of the scan method each with it's own disadvantage. (crash or image saved to disk)
  • For some reason tesseract only scans the left part of the image.

What is this

With PassportScanner you can use your camera to scan the MRZ code of a passport. It will extract all data like firstname, lastname, passport number, nationality, date of birth, expiration date and personal numer.


PassportScanner is trying to optimize OCR results by first performing some graphic filters. The exposure filter is dynamic. This means that if the image is dark it tries to light it up and visa versa. As you can see in the demo animation below you will be able to scan a passport about once every 3 seconds.

wait a moment until the .gif below is downloaded...


Building the PassportScanner demo

The current version is tested with Xcode 7 and Xcode 7.1 beta 1.

  1. Clone the repo to a working directory

  2. CocoaPods is used to manage dependencies. Pods are setup easily and are distributed via a ruby gem. Follow the simple instructions on the website to setup. After setup, run the following command from the toplevel directory of PassportScanner to download the dependencies:

pod install
  1. Open the PassportScanner.xcworkspace in Xcode.

  2. Build and Run the app.

External components for the demo

PassportScanner is using the following components which can be installed using CocoaPods.

  • TesseractOCRiOS Tesseract OCR iOS is a Framework for iOS7+.
  • GPUImage An open source iOS framework for GPU-based image and video processing
  • UIImage-Resize Category to add some resizing methods to the UIImage class, to resize it to a given CGSize — or fit in a CGSize keeping aspect ratio

Using PassportScanner in your own App

'PassportScanner' is now available through the dependency manager CocoaPods. At this moment this can be installed by executing:

[sudo] gem install cocoapods

If you have installed cocoapods you can just add PassportScanner to your workspace by making sure the following lines are in your Podfile:

source ''
platform :ios, '8.0'
pod "PassportScanner"

Add an import at the top of your swift file like this:

import PassportScanner

If you want support for older versions than iOS 8.0, then you can also just copy the Pod folder containing the 2 classes MRZ and PassportScannerController to your app. Also add the above mentioned external components to your podfile.

When PassportScanner is added to your project, then copy the PassportScanner view from the Main.storyboard of the demo app to your own storyboard. After that you can customize that view. Also copy the MyScanViewController.sift to your own project. See the ViewConroller.swift to see how you can initiate the view and get the MRZ data

also copy over the tessdata folder to our app. That folder contains the trained data for tesseract (The OCR engine)

Here is sample code for a PassportScannerController:

protocol ProcessMRZ {
    func processMRZ(mrz:MRZ)

class MyScanViewController: PassportScannerController {

    var delegate: ProcessMRZ?

    // the .StartScan and .EndScan are IBOutlets and can be linked to your own buttons

        For now just start scanning the moment this view is loaded
    override func viewDidLoad() {
        self.debug = true  // So that we can see what's going on (scan text and quality indicator)   
        self.accuracy = 1  // 1 = all checksums should pass

    override func succesfullScan(mrz: MRZ) {
        print("mrz: {\(mrz.description)\n}")
        self.dismissViewControllerAnimated(true, completion: nil)

    override func abbortScan() {
        self.dismissViewControllerAnimated(true, completion: nil)

Then in your own code you can access this PassportScannerController and process the MRZ data with something like this:

class ViewController: UIViewController, ProcessMRZ {

    @IBOutlet weak var mrzLabel: UILabel!

    override func supportedInterfaceOrientations() -> UIInterfaceOrientationMask {
        return UIInterfaceOrientationMask.Portrait

    override func prefersStatusBarHidden() -> Bool {
        return true

    @IBAction func StartScan(sender: AnyObject) {
        let storyboard: UIStoryboard = UIStoryboard(name: "Main", bundle: nil)
        let scanVC: MyScanViewController = storyboard.instantiateViewControllerWithIdentifier("PassportScanner") as! MyScanViewController
        scanVC.delegate = self
        self.presentViewController(scanVC, animated: true, completion: nil)

    func processMRZ(mrz:MRZ) {
        self.mrzLabel.text = mrz.description


PassportScanner is available under the MIT 3 license. See the LICENSE file for more info.

My other libraries:

Also see my other open source iOS libraries:

  • EVReflection - Reflection based (Dictionary, CKRecord, JSON and XML) object mapping with extensions for Alamofire and Moya with RxSwift or ReactiveSwift
  • EVCloudKitDao - Simplified access to Apple's CloudKit
  • EVFaceTracker - Calculate the distance and angle of your device with regards to your face in order to simulate a 3D effect
  • EVURLCache - a NSURLCache subclass for handling all web requests that use NSURLReques
  • AlamofireOauth2 - A swift implementation of OAuth2 using Alamofire
  • EVWordPressAPI - Swift Implementation of the WordPress (Jetpack) API using AlamofireOauth2, AlomofireJsonToObjects and EVReflection (work in progress)
  • PassportScanner - Scan the MRZ code of a passport and extract the firstname, lastname, passport number, nationality, date of birth, expiration date and personal numer.
  • AttributedTextView - Easiest way to create an attributed UITextView with support for multiple links (url, hashtags, mentions).