What is a biometric passport and how can I get one?

BIOMETRIC passports were first issued in the UK in 2010.

But what are they and what is the difference between a biometric passport and a traditional passport? Here’s everything you need to know.

A biometric passport can be recognized by the gold camera logo at the bottom front


A biometric passport can be recognized by the gold camera logo at the bottom frontCredit: Alamy

What is a biometric passport?

A biometric passport, also known as an ePassport, looks and feels the same as a traditional passport – but there is a difference.

Unlike a traditional passport, a biometric passport is more technologically advanced.

They are designed to contain an embedded microchip that contains a person’s personal information as well as their photograph.

A biometric passport contains the following information for persons over the age of 18 who are UK or EU citizens:

  • Full name
  • birth date
  • photo
  • Biographical Information
  • Biometric information, which may include fingerprints or iris scans
  • Unique chip identification number
  • Digital signature that protects the stored data from alteration

The chip embedded in the passport is often so small that it cannot be detected by passport holders.

The reason for introducing a more technologically advanced travel document is to ensure improved security.

A biometric passport is much harder to counterfeit, hack or steal – it protects individuals from identity theft.

If you’re unsure if you have a biometric passport, the good news is that there’s an easy way to check.

If there is a small, gold camera logo on the bottom front, you have a biometric passport, otherwise you have a traditional one.

How does a biometric passport work?

As the name suggests, a biometric passport works using biometrics.

“Biometrics are unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, that can be used for automatic identification,” Homeland Security said.

Each microprocessor chip embedded in the passport contains specific information unique to the passport holder.

When a person reaches border control, they are offered the opportunity to use an electronic border gate.

If there is an available seat, the traveler opens their passport on the photo page and places it on the scanner.

The instructions show you how to deposit your passport, but if there are any problems, someone will help you.

While holding the pass, the traveler also looks at the screen in front of them.

This then compares the facial measurements with those stored on the passport chip.

As soon as the reader flashes green, the traveler can go through the gate.

How do I get a biometric passport?

If you have applied for a new passport since 2010, it is already biometric.

If you still hold a traditional passport, the good news is that it won’t affect your travel — unless you’re traveling to the United States.

Your current passport will remain valid for travel to other destinations until its expiry date.

After this period you will have to apply for a new passport – you will then receive a biometric one.

However, if you are planning to visit the States, you will need a digital passport if you do not already have one.

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Since April 2016, Brits traveling to the US on the ESTA visa waiver must hold a biometric passport to enter the country or be turned away at border control.

Keep in mind that applying for a new passport can take up to 10 weeks, so give yourself plenty of time to get a new passport before you travel.

https://www.the-sun.com/travel/7312679/biometric-passport-how-can-i-get-one/ What is a biometric passport and how can I get one?

Emma James

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