This paper presents advances of biometrics and their future development as identified during the COST 2101 Action "Biometrics for Identity Documents and Smart Cards". The main objective of the Action was to investigate novel technologies for unsupervised multi-modal biometric authentication systems using a new generation of biometrics-enabled identity documents and smart cards, while exploring the added-value of these technologies for large-scale applications with respect to the European requirements in relation to storage, transmission and protection of personal data. At present, we can observe that identifying people is becoming more challenging and more important because people are moving faster and faster and digital services (local and remote) are becoming the norm for all transactions. From this perspective, biometrics combined with identity documents and smart; cards offer wider deployment opportunities and their application as enabling technology for modern identity management systems will be more important in the near future.