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New US Passports Have a Better Look Security Features

Travelers who are waiting for their new or renewed United States passport this year may notice some differences in the appearance of their newly issued travel document, but the State Department’s upgraded Next Generation Passport books contain more than just cosmetic changes to the document.

An electronic chip (henceforth referred to as an ePassport) is embedded in the conventional passport book that is now in circulation, and it holds the same information that is written on the document’s data page, such as the holder’s name, birth date, and other biographic information.

It also has a biometric identification, since the United States mandates that these chips carry a digital image of the person who is holding the chip in question. The current generation of passports already has incorporated security mechanisms that prevent illegal “skimming” of the information recorded on the chip in the passport.

“With an eye on the future, we are steadily working on modernization activities,” says the president. “We are continuing to roll out the National Geographic Passport, which has been revamped to be smarter, safer, and better at our passport agents and centers.”

According to a spokesperson, “While the current U.S. passport book in circulation (known as the ePassport) is already an extremely safe travel document, our Next Generation Passport uses latest systems and has enhanced security features, such as a polycarbonate data page, laser engraved personalized experience, and updated artwork.”

“The most visible modifications to the new passport book are the polycarbonate data page and the position of the endorsement page,” according to the manufacturer (now page 3). “Visa pages have also been updated with new linkwork and ink colors that include images of American architecture, history, culture, landscapes, and customs,” the company said in an announcement.

However, the deployment of the Next Generation Passport, which started last year, is taking place in phases as the technology required to manufacture the new papers is being deployed at passport processing facilities around the nation. It was verified by a representative for the State Department that “the implementation of the Next Generation Passport will be a multi-year process.”

Over two million Next Generation Passports (NGP) have been issued to clients around the nation since March 2021, according to the Department of State.

In addition to the new National Geographic Passports (NGPs), new previous-generation passports are still being created. The State Department has said that all passport printing locations should be prepared to print the NGPs by the end of summer.

In an email, the representative said that “we will continue to issue both the ePassport and the Next Generation Passport until August 2022, when all 29 passport offices and centers will begin producing new Next Generation Passport booklets.” Furthermore, they said that they were “on pace to provide the NGP across the country by the end of 2022.”

Despite this, you shouldn’t expect to get an updated passport document any time soon, since current ePassports currently meet or surpass international security requirements and are valid for the duration of their current validity periods. If you’re waiting for a new or renewed passport, you won’t be able to request a particular edition of the passport book; instead, you’ll have to rely on the luck of the draw.

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