State Department issues RFI for WHTI PASS card system

Published 31 October 2006

Agency provides detail on benefits of RFID cards; 17 November meeting with industry to be followed by request for proposals; fixed price contract desired

More news on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative PASS card. As we reported earlier this month, the card will rely on RFID technology, and now we have learned further detail from a State Department request for information. Interested readers should refer to the RFI for technical detail on DoS demands, but we note that DoS had offered further information on the need for an RFID (as opposed to an RF) system. RFID provides the following benefits, DoS explained:


Traveler-centric rather than vehicle-centric land border entry processing, providing the [Customs and Border Protection] officers with additional real-time data for use in making entry inspection determinations

Additional real-time data for use during vehicle entry inspection will facilitate determining identity, citizenship and admissibility of travelers seeking to enter the U.S.

Additional enforcement tools to the CBP officer, including an automated watch list check upon reading an RFID-enabled Passport Card. Each travel document read will be recorded as a potential entry event to be used in conjunction with other data systems to provide a more complete picture of border crossing activity

Additional information provided to CBP officers to identify travelers who may have assumed identities or citizenship who should be apprehended or detained for law enforcement purposes


DoS plans to conduct an RFI conference for vendors on 17 November and will issue a proposal soon afterwards. The department is seeking a firm, fixed-price contract.

-read more in this State Department RFI ; and Wilson Dizard’s Washington Technology report