Q. What is an electronic passport?

A. An electronic passport is the same as a regular passport with the addition of a small contactless integrated circuit (computer chip) embedded in the back cover. The chip securely stores the same data visually displayed on the photo page of the passport, and will additionally include a digital photograph. The inclusion of a digital photograph will enable biometric comparison, through the use of facial recognition technology at international borders.

The U.S. “e-passport†has a new look and incorporates various anti-fraud and security features. It is widely believed that eventually all passports will be electronic passports, containing biometric data that will confirm that the passport holder is the person who was issued the passport.

Return to Frequently Asked Questions about Passports.

July 25, 2005.