A biometric passport, also known as an ePassport or digital passport, is a regular paper passport with an electronic chip embedded in the front or back cover or central page that holds users’ personal and biometric information, such as face, fingerprint, and iris data. The biometric passport was first used in Malaysia in 1998. While the U.S. launched biometric passports in 2006 which became the national standard the following year
A biometric passport often includes this information:
- Full name
- Date of Birth
- A photograph or a 3D map of the face that can be used in facial recognition software
- Place of birth
- Biometric information, including fingerprints or iris scans
- Unique chip identification number
- Digital signature
Biometric passport advantages and uses
- Store personal and biometric information such as face maps, fingerprints, and iris data.
- Protection from identity theft.
- Identity verification without the need for a manual check
- Protect privacy and reduce contact.
- Speed up passport checks at airports and reduce waiting times.
- Enhance security and counter fraud, tampering, and illegal entry.
How does an electronic passport work?
A biometric passport has a microchip embedded in it that acts like a credit card chip and contains specific information about the passport holder such as full name, place of birth, photo or 3D facial maps as well as fingerprints or iris prints. In an electronic border control system, the traveler looks at a screen that takes a picture of them and compares it to the biometric information stored on the chip – such as the distance between the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. The chip in the passport also uses PKI or Public Key Infrastructure technology, which helps prevent data alteration . n the technical side, biometric sensors and scanners analyze the unique physical characteristics of each individual, and the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip in the digital passport stores a number that indicates the individual’s biometric data. This information is then matched by biometric and computer systems to a digital photograph, allowing passport holders to walk through the gates once matched.
How do I know if my passport is biometric?
A biometric passport is similar to a regular paper passport, but on its cover or on the central page you will find an icon that looks like a camera, indicating that it is a biometric passport. The biometric passport contains an RFID chip that stores more specific information than just your name, date of birth and country.
Using an ePassport at the airport
- When you reach border control, remember to remove your hat, sunglasses, and anything that covers your face. (For those who wear a headscarf, they can request a private room for more privacy.)
- Open the passport on the photo page and hold it down to the reader.
- Look at the screen while holding your passport and wait for the green color to flash.
- Once the green light flashes, you can pass through the gate.
- If the green light does not appear, you will find someone to help you understand the problem
Do I need a biometric passport?
If your country has not issued a biometric passport, you can still travel with your standard passport until its expiration date. If the biometric passport is issued in your country, you should make sure to apply for it in order to speed up the checks and verification processes at airports and borders
How to get a biometric passport?
The applicant for a biometric passport is advised first to carefully read all the instructions for this procedure on the website provided by their country in this regard, and they should follow the required procedures. The applicant should also consider the following tips:
- Review all information before starting to fill out the application.
- Ensure that all required documents are attached to the application.
- Submit your application early before your travel date as the process may take some time.
To sum up, the biometric passport is a great product of facial recognition technology as it achieves important outputs, such as increased security, anti-fraud, faster passport verification, and reduced congestion at the crossing gates.