U.K. begins to issue biometric ePassports to diplomats

Published 15 November 2005

The first trial ePassports featuring biometric identification stored on a chip have been issued to British diplomats. The new passports will be issued to the public beginning February next year. The first ePassport to be issued was given to the British ambassador to the United States, David Manning. A trial of the passports took place at the Paris consulate in September, and a second trial took place in Washington in late October. The trial passports will be withdrawn in a few months. In anticipation of the February 2006 date for issuing biometric passports to the public, the U.K. Passport service has already started enforcing new photo standards during the quiet season to allow full scale ePassport production and facial recognition. By August 2006 all new passports will be ePassports, thus meeting the U.S. October 2006 visa waiver deadline.

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