Biometrie data have been integrated in all new European passports, since the member states of the European Commission started to implement the EU Council Regulation No 2252/2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports. The additional integration of three- dimensional models promises significant performance enhancements for border controls. By combining the geometry- and texture-channel information of the face, 3D face recognition systems provide an improved robustness while processing variations in poses and problematic lighting conditions when taking the photo. To assess the potential of three-dimensional face recognition, the 3D Face project was initiated. This paper outlines the approach and research objectives of this project: Not only shall the recognition performance be increased but also a new, fake resistant acquisition device is to be developed. In addition, methods for protection of the stored template data in the biometric reference are under development.