Information About Biometric Passports

Information About Biometric Passports

Recently there has been a lot in the media about travelling with biometric passports, please take a look below to find out more about the biometric passport and how it may affect you and your travels.

Travelling to the US

As part of the anti-terrorism strategy from the 1st April 2016 new passport rules were enforced in the US requiring all travellers to the US to hold a valid biometric e-passport. Ensure you check you have the correct passport before booking your travels or you may be refused entry to the US.

Anyone travelling to the US for business or tourism purposes for 90 days or less will also be required to complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ETSA). You can apply directly with the US GOvernment for an ETSA please be aware of sites that may look like an official site but may charge you more than you beed to pay. Here is a link to the official US Government site.

For more information on US entry requirements and travel advice please visit the Travel Advice section on Gov.UK

What is a Biometric Passport?

First introduced in the UK in 2006 a biometric passport also known as an e-passport, is a combined paper and electronic passport. Using contactless smart technology, the passport can be used to determine the identity of travellers.

When a traveller arrives at border control the typical process will include the traveller’s passport being scanned and the chip being read. The face recognition software can then be used to ensure the document is valid and the traveller is not on any travel blacklists.

How do you know if you have a biometric passport?

All passports issued after March 2006 are biometric, to find out if your passport is biometric look for a gold camera symbol on the front cover. If your passport isn’t biometric you will be issued with one on your next passport renewal, visit the Passport Office Websitefor information on how to renew.

How to use a biometric passport at the gates?

  1. Remove anything which may obscure your face including glasses, sunglasses, hats and scarves
  2. To use your biometric passport, open the passport to the photo page
  3. Keep the passport still to scan the photo page
  4. Look at the screen until it turns green then walk through the gates