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Encyclopedia > ISO 7816

ISO 7816 is an international standard related to electronic identification cards, especially smart cards, managed jointly by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It is an extension of ISO 7810. Standards are produced by many organizations, some for internal usage only, others for use by a groups of people, groups of companies, or a subsection of an industry. ... Smart card used for health insurance in France. ... The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards bodies. ... The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is an international standards organization dealing with electrical, electronic and related technologies. ... Standards for financial and identity cards are set out by ISO. All credit cards and debit cards, and most ID cards, are the same shape and size ID-1 as specified by the ISO 7810 standard: ID-1 = 85. ...

It is edited by the Joint technical committee (JTC) 1 / Sub-Committee (SC) 17, Cards and personal identification.

The following describes the different parts of this standard.

Note: abstracts and dates, when present, are mere quotations from the ISO website, and are neither guaranteed at the time of edition nor in the future.


7816-1: Physical characteristics

Created in 1987, updated in 1998, amended in 2003 (source).

7816-2: Cards with contacts — Dimensions and location of the contacts

Created in 1988, updated in 1999, amended in 2004 (source).

7816-3: Electrical characteristics and class indication for integrated circuit(s) cards operating at 5V, 3V and 1.8V

Created in 1989, updated in 1997, amended in 2002 and in 2006 (source).

7816-4: Organization, security and commands for interchange

Created in 1995, updated in 2005.

From its abstract, it specifies:

  • contents of command-response pairs exchanged at the interface,
  • means of retrieval of data elements and data objects in the card,
  • structures and contents of historical bytes to describe operating characteristics of the card,
  • structures for applications and data in the card, as seen at the interface when processing commands,
  • access methods to files and data in the card,
  • a security architecture defining access rights to files and data in the card,
  • means and mechanisms for identifying and addressing applications in the card,
  • methods for secure messaging,
  • access methods to the algorithms processed by the card. It does not describe these algorithms.

It does not cover the internal implementation within the card or the outside world.

ISO/IEC 7816-4:2005 is independent from the physical interface technology. It applies to cards accessed by one or more of the following methods: contacts, close coupling, and radio frequency.

7816-5: Registration of application providers

Created in 1995, updated in 2004.

From its abstract, ISO/IEC 7816-4 defines how to use an application identifier to ascertain the presence of and/or perform the retrieval of an application in a card.

ISO/IEC 7816-5:2004 shows how to grant the uniqueness of application identifiers through the international registration of a part of this identifier, and defines

  • the registration procedure,
  • the authorities in charge thereof,
  • the availability of the register which links the registered parts of the identifiers and the relevant application providers.

7816-6: Interindustry data elements for interchange

Created in 1996, updated in 2004.

From its abstract, it specifies the Data Elements (DEs) used for interindustry interchange based on integrated circuit cards (ICCs) both with contacts and without contacts. It gives the identifier, name, description, format, coding and layout of each DE and defines the means of retrieval of DEs from the card.

7816-7: Interindustry commands for Structured Card Query Language (SCQL)

Created (or updated) in 1999 (source).

7816-8: Commands for security operations

Created in 1995, updated in 2004.

From its abstract, it specifies interindustry commands for integrated circuit cards (either with contacts or without contacts) that may be used for cryptographic operations. These commands are complementary to and based on the commands listed in ISO/IEC 7816-4.

Annexes are provided that give examples of operations related to digital signatures, certificates and the import and export of asymmetric keys.

The choice and conditions of use of cryptographic mechanisms may affect card exportability. The evaluation of the suitability of algorithms and protocols is outside the scope of ISO/IEC 7816-8.

7816-9: Commands for card management

Created in 1995, updated in 2004.

From its abstract, it specifies interindustry commands for integrated circuit cards (both with contacts and without contacts) for card and file management, e.g. file creation and deletion. These commands cover the entire life cycle of the card and therefore some commands may be used before the card has been issued to the cardholder or after the card has expired.

An annex is provided that shows how to control the loading of data (secure download) into the card, by means of verifying the access rights of the loading entity and protection of the transmitted data with secure messaging. The loaded data may contain, for example, code, keys and applets.

7816-10: Electronic signals and answer to reset for synchronous cards

Created (or updated) in 1999 (source).

7816-11 Personal verification through biometric methods

Created (or updated) in 2004.

From its abstract, it specifies the usage of interindustry commands and data objects related to personal verification through biometric methods in integrated circuit cards. The interindustry commands used are defined in ISO/IEC 7816-4. The data objects are partially defined in this International Standard, partially imported from ISO/IEC 19785-1.

ISO/IEC 7816-11 also presents examples for enrollment and verification and addresses security issues.

7816-12 Cards with contacts -- USB electrical interface and operating procedures

Created in 2005.

From its abstract, it specifies the operating conditions of an integrated circuit card that provides a USB interface. An integrated circuit card with a USB interface is named USB-ICC.

ISO/IEC 7816-12:2005 specifies:

  • the electrical conditions when a USB-ICC is operated by an interface device - for those contact fields that are not used, when the USB interface is applied;
  • the USB standard descriptors and the USB-ICC class specific descriptor;
  • the data transfer between host and USB-ICC using bulk transfers or control transfers;
  • the control transfers which allow two different protocols named version A and version B;
  • the (optional) interrupt transfers to indicate asynchronous events;
  • status and error conditions.

ISO/IEC 7816-12:2005 provides two protocols for control transfers. This is to support the protocol T=0 (version A) or to use the transfer on APDU level (version B). ISO/IEC 7816-12:2005 provides the state diagrams for the USB-ICC for each of the transfers (bulk transfers, control transfers version A and version B). Examples of possible sequences which the USB-ICC must be able to handle are given in an informative annex.

7816-13: Commands for application management in multi-application environment

As of 2006, this document is in development (source) and is supposed to integrate methods from the Global Platform * standard, like its Secure Channel Protocols (see this NIST report (in PDF format) for more information). 2006 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... As a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, the National Institute of Standards (NIST) develops and promotes measurement, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life. ...

7816-15: Cryptographic information application

Created in 2004.

From its abstract, it specifies a card application. This application contains information on cryptographic functionality. Further, ISO/IEC 7816-15:2004 defines a common syntax (in ASN.1) and format for the cryptographic information and mechanisms to share this information whenever appropriate. In telecommunications and computer networking abstract syntax notation one (ASN.1) is a standard, flexible method that describes data structures for representing, encoding, transmitting, and decoding data. ...

ISO/IEC 7816-15:2004 supports the following capabilities:

  • storage of multiple instances of cryptographic information in a card;
  • use of the cryptographic information;
  • retrieval of the cryptographic information;
  • cross-referencing of the cryptographic information with DOs defined in ISO/IEC 7816 when appropriate;
  • different authentication mechanisms; and
  • multiple cryptographic algorithms.

See also

Smart card used for health insurance in France. ... ISO 14443 defines a proximity card used for identification that usually uses the standard credit card form factor defined by ISO 7810 ID-1. ... Proximity card is a generic name for contactless integrated circuit devices used for security access or payment systems. ... This is an incomplete list of ISO standards. ...


  • Overview of ISO 7816 parts 1-4

  Results from FactBites:
Smart Card Basics (1075 words)
ISO 7816 is the international standard for integrated-circuit cards (commonly known as smart cards) that use electrical contacts on the card, as well as cards that communicate with readers and terminals without contacts, as with radio frequency (RF/Contactless) technology.
ISO 7816-9: Commands for Card Management; specifies a description and coding of the life cycle of cards and related objects, a description and coding of security attributes of card related objects, functions and syntax of additional inter-industry commands, data elements associated with these commands, and a mechanism for initiating card-originated messages.
ISO 7816-10: Electrical signals and answer to reset for synchronous cards; this part of ISO 7816 specifies the power, signal structures, and the structure for the answer to reset between an integrated circuit card(s) with synchronous transmission and an interface device such as a terminal.
eastlake-card-map-08.txt (3049 words)
Eastlake 3rd [Page 1] INTERNET-DRAFT ISO 7812/7816 Numbers and the DNS Abstract There are a variety of servers, web pages, and the like, which holders of ISO 7812 financial transaction identification card (i.e., credit/debit card) numbers and ISO 7816 smart card or related numbers may need to locate on the Internet.
1.2.3 ISO 7816 'D' Prefixes The RID consists of the 4 bit D prefix (binary 1101), the country code in 12 bits as 3 BCD digits coded according to the numeric D.
ISO 7812 BIN Ambiguity For the facilities under card.reg.int using ISO 7812 numbers, the BIN is defined as the first six digits of the account number.
  More results at FactBites »



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