Skip Links
U.S. Department of State
President Bush's Statement on Execution ...  |  Daily Press Briefing | What's NewU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
SEARCHU.S. Department of State
Subject Index
U.S. Department of State
HomeIssues & PressTravel & BusinessYouth & EducationAbout State Department
U.S. Department of StateUnder Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2006 > February 
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 17, 2006

Department of State Begins Issuance of an Electronic Passport

The Department of State is phasing-in the issuance of the new Electronic Passport (e-passport) to better facilitate international travel for U.S. citizens and enhance border security. On December 30, 2005, the Department began limited production of the first-ever U.S. e-passports. As part of a pilot program, we are now issuing diplomatic passports and soon official passports in electronic format. The e-passport integrates the latest concepts in electronic document protection and readability.

The new passport combines face recognition and contactless chip technology. The chip, embedded in the cover of the passport, holds the same information that is printed in the passport: name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, dates of passport issuance and expiration, passport number, and photo image of the bearer. Previously issued passports without electronic chips will remain valid until their expiration dates.

To address privacy concerns, the Department has incorporated an anti-skimming device in the passport’s front cover. The Department also included basic access control (BAC) technology to prevent skimming and eavesdropping. The anti-skimming device and the BAC technology, when taken together, will mitigate unauthorized reading of the e-passport.

The Department plans to issue the first full validity U.S. e-passports to the American public later this year and plans to issue e-passports at all domestic passport agencies by the end of 2006.

For more information about the Electronic Passport, please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website at


Released on February 17, 2006
U.S. Department of State
FirstGovU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |  Frequent Questions  |  Contact Us  |  Email this Page  |  Subject Index  |  Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
FOIA  |  Privacy Notice  |  Copyright Information  |  Other U.S. Government Information